Mayday holds a special place in the calendar. For some it means the official start of Spring (and a holiday!), but for others it is a chance to get out and protest for a righteous cause…
With this historic tradition of being a focus for protest, Mayday 2014 has proved to be no exception. Across the globe, many thousands of people have been marching in support of change, and Paradise Seeds was there to help spread the word.
Over the Mayday weekend, The Million Marijuana March (MMM) came to the streets of 160 towns and cities in over 70 countries worldwide. From Berlin to Barcelona, New York to Niteroi, Toronto to Tokyo the cannabis community came out to protest and publicise the movement’s six key demands:
- Stop arresting people for cannabis offences
- Stop spreading lies and mistruths about cannabis
- Make cannabis readily available as a medicine
- Use cannabis to heal the sick
- Bring an end to a policy of prison for offenders
- Follow a path of “Cures, Not Wars”
Paradise Seeds was in Vienna, Austria, where one of the largest of these global cannabis community demonstrations was taking place. The Hanf Wandertag (or Hemp Hike) started seven years ago and gets bigger each year with up to 10,000 people taking part in the 2014 event. Lasting all day, Vienna is transformed by a festival procession through the streets, featuring mobile sound systems, inspirational speakers and many happy people bringing a party atmosphere to the protest.
While the press will inevitably focus on the psychoactive ingredients of these marches, we should not forget that hemp, as a raw material, has a long history of being cultivated for use in more central areas of Europe. Brought to the region by the Goths, migrating from western parts of Russia in the second and third centuries, today it can be found in a variety of everyday products, from shampoo to clothing.
Although most of the MMM demonstrations occurred over the Mayday weekend, there are many more events planned in May, and April also saw a host of marches under the umbrella of the 420 movement. In the coming weeks, we will also be giving our support and attending marches in Berlin and Prague (May 10th) and Warsaw (May 24th).
Cures Not Wars!
As well as demands for legalisation at the MMM protests, there were also demands for more acceptance of the medicinal qualities of the cannabis plant.
Since the 1990s, numerous scientific studies have pointed to the effectiveness of cannabis in treating a whole host of medical conditions, ranging from MS and glaucoma to cancer. This is something that we at Paradise Seeds have been involved with for some time, working to research and develop CBD enhanced strains that accentuate the plant’s healing properties.
In 2014, the cannabis community has much to cheer about. Cannabis users around the world are sensing that history is shifting and times are changing. Events over the past year, particularly in the USA and Uruguay, have accelerated this change. The issue of cannabis and its legalization has emerged from out of the shadows and into the international spotlight. There is a general sense in the world that the war on drugs is not working… and never really has.
Increasingly, opinion polls taken amongst populations worldwide point to a general softening of attitudes towards cannabis consumption. Through the marches taking place this weekend, policymakers will be given another reminder that the cannabis movement has not been eradicated through prohibition.
In fact, the opposite is true. The cannabis community has only grown larger as a result. Just like a cannabis plant growing from a seed planted some time ago - in this case 1999, when the Million Marijuana March began - this movement is starting to sprout!