Smokey Bears picnic - Hyde Park London September 1998

This turned out to be a very significant day for UKCIA, and, for totally unrelated reasons, for me personally.

We'd heard about the plans for a "Turn yourself in" day organised by Mr Free Cannabis (Rob) from Glastonbury. The idea was to openly use cannabis and then go along to the local police station and, well, turn yourself in - "Please arrest me, I'm a cannabis user". Tthere seemed no better place to do this than in central London, speakers corner in Hyde Park.

Rob had actually done this the year before with a spectacular lack of response from the police, so he decided to organise another one. As a gesture of support, the Smokey Bears decided to have another picnic in the same place at the same time.

UKCIA, of course, put the word around and the event turned out to be the first ever meet up for a lot of people who had only known each other on e-mail up to that point.

The CLCIA, also of course based in Norwich, organised a coach to take us all down to London and we piled on in a rather damp Norfolk morning outside the Theatre Royal, getting to London just in time for the advertised start.

The picnic started with speeches at Speakers Corner where a small crowd had gathered. A few uninterested police looked on as people started rolling suspicious looking cigarettes, but after a while the hard tarmac got too much, so we sauntered onto the grass of Hyde Park and began the picnic.

It must have been pretty obvious what was going on, we had Legalise cannabis flags, people toked on huge bongs and the police did nothing, somehow not noticing anything out of the ordinary.

We left around 5.00pm for the coach ride back to Norwich. It was on this journey home that the idea of was born, up to that time the site had existed as just a "user" site on the Foobar server with the sort of URL you'd instantly forget.

Back to past events

Free Cannabis
(His real name) at Speakers Corner


It was a real picnic!

TV news took an interest


Lock up your daughters ...
Easy E

If you've never seen one, this is a bong