So Where Now? Where Should Our Focus Be Most CLEAR?
The cannabis campaign has been shooting itself in the foot for far too long. Instead of building on the massive public acceptance of cannabis, it has focused on division, on promoting itself as an alternative or sub culture. In fact it has revelled in separation, divisiveness, counterculture and stupid, dullard alienation of the mainstream. It is time we grew up.
So who do we need to focus on?
Certainly not on cannabis users. Most have no wish to be represented. Most simply want to be left alone to enjoy a quiet smoke or to alleviate whatever condition they suffer from in peace, without persecution or harassment.
CLEAR exists to advance an evidence-based argument to free, not “the weed”, but the people who choose, or need, to use it.
According to the most up-to-date, independent, expert research, there are three million regular users of cannabis in Britain. That’s three million people who have used cannabis within the past month. Just over 24,000 of them have the signed the HM Government e-petition calling for the legalisation of cannabis. It’s pathetic, isn’t it?
I believe those 24,000 people account for 80-90% of the “stoner” community, including medicinal and other activists such as you and me. So where are the other 2.8 million? In fact, where are the other 8 million occasional users? Why aren’t these people standing up to be counted or, at least, ticking a box that says “legalise”? Where are they? Are the figures wrong?
Divining the answers to these questions is the key to cannabis law reform. It is the very essence of what CLEAR stands for.
We will make no progress by marches, demos, protests, “smoke outs”, not even by self-sacrificial martyrdom as exemplified by Winston Matthews, a gross injustice but a triumph of stupidity over reason. A complete failure to recognise the way the argument needs to be put.
What we have to do is engage with government and with regulators. We have to overturn the prejudice and misinformation of the media, which is why CLEAR’s work with the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) is so important. Also, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which is crucial for the approval of medicinal products and which CLEAR has been negotiating with for over a year. The Home Office, which is perhaps the most corrupt of British institutions, cannot be dealt with rationally or reasonably but needs to be manipulated or outwitted in the direction of common sense.
The HASC drugs inquiry is the only route worth pursuing at present. It is the only hope for reform. I am delighted to announce that CLEAR has been invited to submit special, additional evidence based on our representations about the way the inquiry is being conducted. We are being heard.
If you are serious about reform of the prohibition of cannabis then CLEAR deserves your support. Obviously, we oppose the “reefer madness” mentality but also the opposite “crazy stoner” extreme which denies any harm or negative consequence of cannabis use and believes that “protest” will achieve something. It won’t. It is a distraction into social events for smokers – a waste of time.
CLEAR speaks for the 2.8 million regular users as well as the 24,000 that have signed the petition. We are your best hope. Please join today.