The Durham City Cannabis Club, spearheaded by a few extremely committed activists has managed to turn an area left untended by the Durham County Council into a pop-up hub for the cannabis community. Much like similar events organized by other cannabis social clubs in the UK, like Brighton Cannabis Club’s Green Pride event, the event was advertised to the public and the police and local council were aware of the event. Despite the fact the cannabis possession is illegal in the UK, cannabis was consumed openly with no interference from the police; maybe they realise prohibition is a waste of police time. Throughout the day an estimated 250 people attended the event.
Events like this bring the cannabis community together, with companies and individuals from across the UK in attendance. A variety of cannabis related products including clothing, smoking paraphernalia, CBD and even cannabis infused edibles were on offer. Cannabis may illegal but the UK cannabis market is booming! The Durham City Cannabis Club’s plan is to renovate Hemp Gardens and turn it into a true community hub; with community gardens, a kid’s park and regular events for both the cannabis community and the city as a whole. This is also reflected in how they treat Hemp Gardens. After each event the area is left cleaner than it was before, with Durham City Cannabis Club members even joking that they may be cleaning up bottles and rubbish from their youth!
We spoke with Durham City Cannabis Club’s Chair, Simpa Carter, about the event and their plans for the future:
The DCCC Autumn Session was the finale in our first series of “Protestival” events held in Durham City with the mass gathering and social consumption of cannabis serving as an act of civil disobedience to highlight the urgent need for cannabis law reform in the UK.
The event had a slightly lower than average turnout of 200 or so attendees, however given the overcast and poor Autumnal weather on the day this is a great success. There was the usual stalls and vendors from around the country as well as several speakers and musicians lined up to play, however tragically the sound equipment failed and despite the best efforts of many men it was unrecoverable meaning that there was no amplification for the live performers.
Luckily Beat Fox, a multiple time UK Beat box champion stuck around after the crew packed down to relax and hang out with a few of the DCCC team and friends preforming exclusively for DCCC and Smokers Guide.
This was the last event that DCCC will host in this format, we’re working on creating a whole new approach for next series in 2018 including:
• Implementing an ID wristband system using the same “Think 25” approach as is currently used with Alcohol in retail.
• Pitch fees for stalls and vendors to ensure all pitches are filled and not being left empty when they’re cancelled leading up to the event.
• Vendors and stalls will have to apply and sign an agreement which will include capped prices, guarantee to not sell to minors, Provide quality products and services. (If criteria aren’t met vendor/stall will be allowed to attend again)
• Security to ensure guest safety and that event rules are followed. Ensuring the future of these events.
The Autumn session as with all of the clubs’ previous events took place at a disused bowling green in the centre of Durham City that has laid empty and untouched for over a decade is now being referred to by club organisers and many locals as Hemp Gardens. DCCC have been utilising this derelict site for our events for all of 2017 and we have every intention of hosting our second series of protestival events there next year with even more events planned and hopefully working in tandem with the local council and police force resolving this stalemate we currently find ourselves engaged in.
The re-legalisation of cannabis is inevitable now and these services and our elected officials need to adapt or be swept away by the tides of progress.”
We look forward to seeing what the Durham City Cannabis Club can achieve with Hemp Gardens. Events like this not only help normalize and destigmatize cannabis, but are also a great chance to “travel in to the future and experience what it would be like without cannabis prohibition. The United Kingdom has a long way to go to legal cannabis, but events and clubs like this will help form that future. Stay tuned for more from Durham City Cannabis Club and their Hemp Gardens Project.