A recent 420 cannabis picnic gathering Credit: Serkan Ozturk

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The ‘Free Cannabis community 420 picnic’ takes place from 2pm – 8pm at Victoria Park, Camperdown on Thursday, 20th April

I could bore you by listing off some statistics about the failure of the Government’s war on drugs.

I could tell you that sniffer dogs, the most visible public arm of their anti-drug apparatus, have a failure rate of more than 70% and are predominantly used to target indigenous, low-income and youth communities. I could also tell you that their presence at music festivals continues to lead to numerous preventable overdoses and warrantless invasive searches.

I could write about the countless health experts, legal practitioners, politicians and law enforcement officials that have admitted drug prohibition has failed – filling courts and prisons with young people busted for small amounts of marijuana and pills.

Lastly, I could remind you that the whole thing is based on a lie. That if you strip back the moralism that now permeates political debate on drug prohibition, you find its origins are entirely political.

“We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black,” a former architect on the American war on drugs, John Erlichman, told Harper’s Magazine last year. “But by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” he said.

I’m not going to do that. Instead I’m going to tell you about a celebratory protest happening this week to challenge this failed prohibition.

This Thursday, Free Cannabis NSW will be holding their famous ‘4.20 Smoke-Off’ at Victoria Park to call for the full legalisation of marijuana in NSW. Attendees will be treated with free live music from God’s Broccoli, Ben 420, Smokin Joe Mekheal, and others, along with a sausage sizzle sponsored by D’Munchies cafe.

“We hope to see everyone who has an interest in cannabis there on the day to celebrate with us,” said Chris Hindi, founder of Free Cannabis NSW.

“Although there is a lot more to do on getting cannabis actually legalised in this country, we want everyone to make this a day of true celebration because we think that people who enjoy cannabis or need it shouldn’t feel ashamed about it” he said.

While the Federal Government has recently made some pro-marijuana pushes, such as introducing a medicinal scheme for those suffering terminal illness, they still seem happy to enforce the most regressive parts of their drug policing. This needs to change.

To Hindi and others, have a Happy 420!