Dozens of police swarm Hyde Park to break up 4/20 weed smokers
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Dozens of police descended on Hyde Park today - 4/20 - as weed fans gathered to protest laws against the drug.
It's no surprise the Met Police have a large presence in the park today because, every year on 20 April, people gather there to spark up and call for the decriminalisation of cannabis.
Knowing that the problem would be as chronic as ever this year, authorities put up signs in the park to remind people that weed is still illegal - not that that's stopped people in the past - and the police shared plans to patrol the park.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "The Met will be policing the cannabis day event in Hyde Park on Thursday, 20 April.
"There is a proportionate and graduated policing plan in place to prevent, deter and detect criminal offences, including possession and use of drugs, and any associated crime or disorder.
"Using cannabis and other recreational drugs is illegal. Met officers will engage with attendees, and encourage them to deposit their drugs in the amnesty bins provided.
"They will particularly be looking to safeguard any children and young people present, especially if they are using drugs, and will ensure they are referred to the relevant partners."
There have been no updates on arrests at the event at the time of writing, though the spokesperson added that officers may 'enforce legislation under the Misuse of Drugs act 1971' if they spot any 'aggravating factors such as supply or associated social behaviour, disorder or crime.'
Crowds still gathered in the park in spite of the Met's warnings, with the website Hemp Elf describing the gathering as a chance for 'cannabis enthusiasts worldwide show their support for legalisation, responsible use, and ongoing research into the plant's many applications.'
Weed is classed as a Class B drug in the UK, with possession of the drug carrying a penalty of up to five years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both. Anyone caught producing and supplying weed can face up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
However, critics of the criminalisation of weed argue that it is not as dangerous as other illegal drugs, and can be used in medicine for pain relief.
A number of US states have already moved to decriminalise weed.