Following the cancellation of this year's Big Green Gathering thanks to official pressure, another festival is under attack.
On Friday 11th December 2009 Andy Norman, host and organiser of Thimbleberry Music Festival in County Durham, UK appeared in court facing the charge that he "did permit the use of cannabis on his premises". The charge relates to alleged use by the festival-goers of cannabis at the last September festival. He has not entered a plea and is due back in court on the 5th February 2010 to face committal to Crown Court.
The charge is being brought under Section 8 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. An amendment to this Act passed by the Government in 2001 made it a criminal offence for people to knowingly allow premises they own, manage, or have responsibility for, to be used by any other person for the adminstration or use of any controlled drugs.
A conviction would doubtless be used as a pretext not to grant a licence for the festival next year, and would also set a very dubious precedent. People inhale at pretty much all festivals, so presumably the police could charge anybody organising or hosting a festival with this offence.
There is a facebook group in support of the festival.