Jamie Wilson Monday May 6, 2002 The Guardian Thousands of pro-cannabis demonstrators held peaceful marches and outdoor parties, picnics and festivals in cities across Britain at the weekend to campaign for legalisation of the drug. The marches in London, Manchester and Birmingham, were part of almost 200 similar events planned around the world this weekend billed as the Million Marijuana March. "The march is to protest for legalisation and the festival is a celebration of cannabis," said Shane Collins, licensee for the Cannabis Carnival in Brixton, south London, on Saturday, which had begun with a carnival style march from Kenning ton Park. "Because cannabis has been downgraded to a class C drug, a lot of people think it's now legal. It is not. If we want to get rid of the problems of prohibition we have to get rid of prohibition 100%." Police in Brixton have been experimenting with a "softly softly" approach to cannabis, pioneered by controversial police commander Brian Paddick, who is being investigated by the police complaints authority over allegations he regularly smoked the drug. Johnjo Nally, owner of Dr Herman's Hemp Shop and organiser of the Manchester march, said: "The event was just brilliant. The police were amazing. The day passed off really peacefully."