Open drug dealing has spurred a councillor to call for Green Pride to be banned from the parks of Brighton and Hove.
Conservative councillor Joe Miller said that he was not opposed to a march through the streets but the event had progressed from its origins as a protest – rather like gay pride had.
Councillor Miller said that his family had been shocked to see drug paraphernalia on sale and drug dealing taking police in front of a heavy police presence in Preston Park in 2019.
That’s when members of his family stumbled across the last Green Pride event – it was cancelled last year because of the government’s coronavirus restrictions.
His father and Councillor Miller’s four-year-old niece could smell cannabis as Mr Miller took the girl to a play area.
Councillor Miller said: “It was a Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t advertised or anything and he noticed the police were there and there were stalls selling drug paraphernalia and there was clearly drug dealing going on in front of the police.
“And my Dad said, ‘what the hell is the council doing letting people do that on the park – and why aren’t the police doing something about it?’
“Everyone has the right to protest. In its early years, it was very much about people marching and protesting against cannabis being a class B drug.
“In recent years the event has had sponsorship and paid-for stalls which is not permitted on a council park without a formal agreement with the council.”
On Thursday (25 March) Councillor Miller plans to ask Brighton and Hove City Council to take steps to prohibit the use of Preston Park or any other council land for Green Pride.
He said that he supported the use of medicinal cannabis and CBD oil in line with national legislation.
He hopes to win support at a virtual meeting of the full council, which is due to start at 4.30pm on Thursday and is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.
Green Pride said: “The claim by the councillor that Green Pride wasn’t advertised or known by the local authorities is misleading.
“We had several meetings with the council and Sussex Police before the event and we look forward to working with them in the future.”
The event is currently postponed until 2022 because of the covid-19 pandemic.
NOTE the 4th and 5th paragraph of this story have been corrected to make clear that Councillor Miller was not in Preston Park during Green Pride 2019.
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.