2pm Wednesday 21st January. Court 2. Tower Bridge Magistrates Court, 211 Tooley St, London.

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Lambeth Council have summonsed Shane Collins, Cannabis Carnival Licencee and Green Party London Assembly candidate, to Tower Bridge Magistrates Court, 211 Tooley Street, at 2pm Wednesday 21st January 2004..

The charge is over licensing violations at the Cannabis Carnival held on 4th May 2003 at Brockwell Park, Brixton. The Council allege a sound system was turned on 10 minutes after the licence permitting it.

The case has been adjourned from Wednesday 26th November when five Council employees and four festival organisers gave evidence. A charge of selling alcohol after time was dropped.

If the festival is found guilty then Lambeth Council will have succeeded in stopping the march and festival happening in Lambeth. Mr Collins is pleading not guilty.

The free event, which was attended by 10 – 15,000 people, was one of 318 happening on the same day around the world. The organisers will be putting on the 6th annual march next 8th May 2004 and hopefully a free festival as well.

In taking this action the Council are in effect threatening one of the organisers of a free event with imprisonment and stopping the event happening next year in Lambeth whilst attempting to limit the freedoms of a prominent campaigner for the legalisation of cannabis

Shane Collins, Festival Licencee and Green Party London Assembly Candidate said “This was a free event to protest at the continued prohibition of one of natures most useful plants and a call for the huge trade in cannabis to be regulated and legalised. Reclassification will simply ensure the this

trade remains in ‘criminal’ hands where disputes get settled violently and not through the small claims court.. This event is about getting dealers off the streets and into cannabis cafes and separating supply of cannabis from heroin and crack. Scores of people worked, unpaid, for six months to bring this event together. In a sane society we might be applauded, instead the Council is spending taxpayers’ money to prosecute me for our efforts’.

For further information contact Shane Collins 0280 671 5936, 07952 929 710 or shane@gn.apc.org

Notes to the Editor.

1. Maximum sentence for the licensing violations is 6 months prison and £20,000 fine.

2. In 2003 Cannabis Marches took place in 318 cities world wide and are again planned for May 8th 2004.

3. The 1997 UN Drug Report put the trade in illicit drugs as the third largest in the world after oil and arms.

4. We estimate the Court Case is costing Lambeth Council around £30,000.

We are awaiting a more detailed figure from Lambeth Scrutiny Committee.

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