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Pro-cannabis rally ends in arrests

PR dla Zagranicy
John Beauchamp 29.05.2011 13:01
A pro-marijuana rally held in the centre of Warsaw on Saturday ended with police detaining 40 campaigners for drug possession as well as other public offences, including shoplifting.

Demonstrators at the Free Hemp March in Warsaw. Photo: PAP/Jacek Turczyk

The rally, which was organised by the Free Hemp Initiative, was attended by up to 6,000 demonstrators, police estimate.

“40 people were detained during the march, including six minors,” Deputy Inspector Maciej Karczynski from the Warsaw Police told journalists, adding that 28 of those taken in were for possession of drugs, while one person was detained for shoplifting.

The campaigners shouted slogans and waved banners with inscriptions such as “Plant It, Smoke It, Legalise It,” among others.

Saturday’s rally demanded Polish law be relaxed to allow for the possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana for personal use, permission to grow three cannabis plants at home, as well as an amnesty for people who are serving prison sentences for marijuana possession.

The demonstration comes days after President Bronislaw Komorowski signed an amendment to Poland’s anti-narcotics bill, which states that people caught for the possession of small quantities of drugs for personal use may avoid prosecution.

During the rally, which also marched through the streets of Warsaw, some demonstrators started throwing empty beer bottles and eggs at police functionaries. The incident was a one-off, however, after messages from campaign organisers calling for a peaceful protest calmed the crowd down.

Former ruling Civic Platform maverick politician Janusz Palikot was also present at the rally. He handed out flyers to campaigners in an effort to gain popularity ahead of this autumn’s general election, as his new political group wants to legalise cannabis. (jb)

Source: IAR/PAP

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