Daze in the park: 420 cannabis festival returns to UK

Reuters / Ueslei Marcelino
A controversial pro-cannabis festival will return to the UK as part of a worldwide series of events campaigning for the legalization of marijuana.

Hundreds of people are expected to attend the ‘420’ event in London’s Hyde Park this weekend. A similar event will be held at Manchester's Platt Fields Park.

Now held annually, around 10,000 people attended the London festival last year, where participants openly smoked cannabis, according to the event’s organizers.

The two-day event’s Facebook page reads: “Get all your friends to come along – lets show the Gov that we WANT LEGAL CANNABIS [sic].”

The term '420' has become universally known as the code word for cannabis. A group of weed-smoking students coined the term while searching for an abandoned crop of marijuana in California in 1971.

More than 60 cannabis social clubs are coming together for the event to encourage members, friends and the curious to join. The event is set to start around noon, with live music and speakers.

The 420 Day event is hosted by NORML UK and the UK Cannabis Social Clubs (UKCSC).

“The cannabis community is crying out for legalization and regulation,” Greg de Hoedt, president of UKCSC, told the Guardian last year. “We encourage growers to register with UKCSC because we want data we can present to authorities and say: this many people grow cannabis, this many people are growing for medicinal purposes; and we can also establish which strains work with which illnesses.”

The cultivation, sale and consumption of cannabis is already legal in some states in the US and in Uruguay.