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Hundreds of marijuana supporters attend picnic rally, 36 arrested at Melbourne park

Police have swarmed on a pro-marijuana rally where hundreds where campaigning for the legalisation of the drug.

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Legalise Cannabis MP Jeremy Buckingham says pill testing centres should be legalised as the “evidence” shows they work. Queensland has become the first state to introduce permanent pill testing clinics in Australia this week. “We believe we should base our decision on the evidence,” Mr Buckingham told Sky News Australia host Danica De Giorgio.

“The evidence is that it saves lives, and actually reduces the amount of drugs people take. “In Canberra they’ve had pill testing in for six months now, and what they’ve found is that 30 per cent of people who have their drugs tested discard them – they don’t take them."

At least 36 people were arrested at an annual pro-cannabis picnic at Melbourne’s Flagstaff Gardens.

The rally in the city’s CBD aims to raise awareness for the legalisation of cannabis, and occurs annually on April 20 or 4/20. Recreational use of which is banned in all Australian states.

About 250 people attended the event, and police dog units and local officers were on the ground searching attendees.

A total of 36 offenders were arrested and processed for drug related offending.

Police search a man attending a 420 picnic at Flagstaff Gardens promoting the legalisation of cannabis. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie

Most were issued with cautions and four will receive a summons to attend court at a later date.

“While we respect the right for lawful and peaceful protests, we will not tolerate any criminal activity,” a police spokesperson said.

“It is our role to enforce the law.”

Cupcakes promoting weed legalisation. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie

This year’s event, featuring the slogan “Who are we hurting?”, included state MPs from the Legalize Cannabis Australia Party.

Western Metro Region MP David Ettershank and South-East Metro MP Rachel Payne indicated they would be attending the rally.

In a post to her Instagram on Saturday, Ms Payne called for an “end to the prohibition” adjoined with a picture of what appeared to be a lit cigarette.

“Looking forward to catching up with the canna (cannabis) community today,” she said.

Victorian MP’s David Limbrick of the Libertarian Party, Georgie Purcell of the Animal Justice Party, Rachel Payne and David Ettershank of Legalise Cannabis Australia and Aiv Puglielli of The Greens. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie

Both MPs appeared at an earlier event on Friday outside of state parliament run by the artist collective, The Craze Co.

Posts by the group show the pair in front of what appeared to be caged plants with signs reading “The war on weed, a royal failure indeed”,Only about 1.7 per cent of Australians residing in the ACT have access to decriminalised, recreational cannabis, according to advocates.

Recreational cannabis is otherwise illegal in every Australian state, though NSW is set to launch a probe into its prohibition.

A number of countries have legalised marijuana for medical and recreational purposes, including Canada, the Netherlands, and Portugal.

NSW police have been contacted



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