CANNABIS campaigners are urging people to help them fund their legal battle with Cleveland Police.

As revealed by The Northern Echo, the organisers of a large scale pro-marijuana festival are currently being investigated by the force in relation to an alleged breach of licensing laws.

Earlier this month, hundreds of people visited Redcar for the annual Canna Camp Fest, organised by Teesside Cannabis Club.

Police officers attending the event were later criticised for focusing on potential breaches of licensing law rather than the open use of cannabis that characterised the festival.

Organisers were told just days before the festival that the existing entertainments licence for the Redcar Rugby Club would not cover its grounds, meaning amplified music was prohibited.

With not enough time to acquire the appropriate temporary events licence, the festival went ahead, with organisers welcoming police officers onto the site to gather evidence against them.

On Monday, August 8, Teesside Cannabis Club founder John Holliday handed himself in to Cleveland Police for a voluntary interview.

Officers are believed to be preparing a file to send to the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to breaches of licensing law at the event.

Teesside man Mr Holliday – a long-term advocate for drugs law reform – has now launched a fundraising appeal to help cover legal costs arising from the case.

He said: “This is the third time we’ve held the festival at the same site and we’ve never been told we needed a temporary events licence.

“If they charge me in relation to this festival, it will be on licensing grounds and not anything to do with drugs.

“It’s absolute nonsense – we’ve always had a good relationship with Cleveland Police and we want them to work with us, it’s a shame this is happening.”

In his appeal, he adds: “We are at the very beginning of our legal battle and for TCC to continue doing the work we do, we need help.

“All funds donated will go towards a legal fund to fight this case if they wish to take it all the way to court.

“We have solicitors waiting ready to fight our case.”

Mr Holliday said they would consider keeping a solicitor on a retainer to help to protect members of the club in their work to push for reform of cannabis laws to allow medicinal use of the class-B drug.

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