Activists were gearing up to be gathering outside Liverpool Crown Court on February 24 to support long standing cannabis club owner, Gary Youds of the Chillin’ Rooms, organised by Gary, his family, Bud Tank and the Court Support Group.
The campaign saw many online stating they had arranged to be able to come and show support, but on February 11th Mr Youds was contacted by his solicitor to say his court date has been brought forward to the 12/02, giving him 24 hours to arrange any support and of course, be able to make arrangements for if he is imprisoned, for allowing people to consume cannabis.
Gary’s sister Paula contacted us to let us know “The solicitor has just this minute called and told Gary his court date has been moved forward to tomorrow and to bring a packed bag – not even 24 hours notice!”
Mr Youds has been running Chillin Rooms for 17 years in Kensington, Liverpool. This area of Liverpool is one of the most deprived and economically neglected areas of the country with high rates of addiction and crime rates surpassing many other areas.
Chillin’ Rooms provided a safer alternative to the surrounding environment and promoted a positive cannabis culture with music, education and importantly community. The businesses surrounding have felt the impact of this venue closing and Gary’s quality of life has been heavily restricted due to the enforcement of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and being kept on an electronic tag.
This February will not be Gary’s first appearance in a court of law for the same charges, this has us wondering where the public interest is, and who’s interest prosecution lies with.
Dylan of Bud Tank, Wrexham who frequently visited the pioneering cannabis social club in the north west said “We want to show support for Gary and support for social clubs, we want to show in numbers that we want Gary to be free and for Chillin’ Rooms to resume open. This goes against what law enforcement thinks about cannabis consumption. We need to bridge the gap between community and authority with education, tactical expression and understanding.”
Dylan continues to stress that “Gary put his freedom at risk 7 days a week for cannabis consumers and we want to show the appreciation for what he has done by supporting him through this process.”
This tactic of moving the court date could be to stop a show of support for someone who ran a business with a professional mindset and provided a safe space for people to consume cannabis. Are the courts fearful of having cannabis consumers there to support?
Dylan at Bud Tank raised the questions?
“Where is the public interest in bringing forward a court case for a cannabis related offence?”
“What is the rush?”
Gary is not a high profile case in terms of droves of victims demanding justice be served – quite the opposite, the public are demanding this man stay free – therefore there is no need to proceed abruptly for any particular persons safety?
Assumingly, this could be a tact to disrupt expression.
Those who are able to make it the case will be heard at Liverpool Crown Court (opposite James Street Station) on Wednesday 12/02. Gary and family will be there from 9.30am and those able to make it will be gathering to show him we appreciate what he did and we support him in challenging the Misuse of Drugs Act