The British festival season is already well under way, and this weekend hundreds of cannabis enthusiasts from across the country will descend on Redcar Rugby Club for one of the most potentially controversial dates on the calendar: Canna Camp Fest.
Now in its third year, the event has grown from a relatively typical ‘smoke out’ – gatherings held by cannabis clubs up and down the UK to protest against Britain’s drug policy – into a full scale festival complete with live music, local food vendors, and stalls selling all the smoking paraphernalia you could possibly want.
Unlike most other festivals though, this one has a clear agenda – to provoke debate about, and reform of, cannabis laws. John Holliday, of the Teeside Cannabis Club – the hosts of the event – told The Northern Echo: “It’s an educational event to raise awareness, celebrate the benefits of cannabis and push for a change in UK law to allow for its use, especially on a medicinal level.”
To this end, as well as the usual festival fare, Canna Camp Fest has brought together experts from the world of cannabis activism to give speeches and run workshops throughout the weekend. Among them will be the team from the United Kingdom Cannabis Social Clubs, whose success in forming collectives of activists have allowed events like this to emerge and thrive despite prohibition. They will discuss their latest campaign, #Right2Grow, as well as the social club model in general.
UKCSC Chairman Greg de Hoedt commented, “These events have evolved out of Cannabis Social Clubs hosting casual civil disobedience protests in their local areas. They are pushing the boundaries of what is socially acceptable and showing that cannabis use is abundant in society and is much more accepted than the mainstream media has lead the general public to believe – causing even cannabis consumers to believe their use is irregular.”
The festival is, unusually, completely alcohol-free. But of course it is to be expected at an event focussed around cannabis, there will be plenty of consumption going on, even if it is not yet legal. As with previous years, Teeside Cannabis Club have been liaising with the local police force in the build up to the event, and do not expect any arrests to be made. None were made during either of the precious festivals. However, Redcar Neighbourhood Inspector Guy Hall told gazettelive.co.uk:
“We have been liaising with the organisers and we are aware that a private event is taking place. In line with any event, if offences take place we will respond appropriately.”
In other words, the police are covering their backs, and as long as no-one does anything stupid, or breaks any other laws, there shouldn’t be any trouble. As has been the case in the hundreds of smoke outs up and down the country over the past 4 years, police officers are generally pretty happy to be on duty at a cannabis event. They know they’re unlikely to experience any real trouble, and with the added bonus of an alcohol-free event, their jobs are rarely easier.
Having said all that, it is of course still against the law to possess and/or consume cannabis, so it’s always worth being as careful as you can be. Just remember to enjoy the festival, and stay safe.
Tickets are available online from the CampFest website along with the full line up of music acts and a list of vendors.
Tickets From £8 – Buy Here
5th-7th August 2016
Mackinlay Park, Green Lane, Redcar, TS10 3RW