CANNABIS campaigners plan to roll up in York and hold a picnic with a
difference - a "smokey bears picnic."

Later this month, pro-legalisation activists will gather in the Museum
Gardens for the event, at which cannabis is likely to be smoked openly.

York businessman Steve Clements, who is publicising the event, said he did
not know the identity of the "smokey bears."

Mr Clements, who recently announced his plans to stand in the City of York
seat for the Legalise Cannabis Alliance at the next general election, said:
"I am not involved with the organisation. The first I heard of it was when =
leaflet appeared on my doorstep.

"The smokey bears travel around the country organising these picnics. This
one coincides with the latest Home Office guidelines on cannabis, which are
nothing more than a fudge."

Cannabis is due to be downgraded from a class B to a class C substance in
January. It will still be illegal to possess it, and the maximum sentence
for dealing is set to go up to 14 years.

York police superintendent Alison Higgins said officers would research the
event before deciding on a police response. But she warned picnic-goers the=
are likely to face arrest if they smoke a joint.

York's event is due to start at 1pm on September 27.

Pubdate: Thu, 18 Sep 2003
Source: York Evening Press (UK)
Copyright: 2003=A0Newsquest Media Group - A Gannett Company
Cited: Legalise Cannabis Alliance