The Difference Is CLEAR
Campaigners -v- Shampaigners
An Opinion Piece From CLEAR Member Graham Smith
The demise of the rather fanciful and much vaunted “cannabis community” has been long overdue and its death knell has been well and truly sounded with the recent formation of NORML UK.
Cannabis users in the UK have been flocking to the internet for information about the unjust and politically motivated witch hunt against anything and everything cannabis related and their appetite for change has inevitably drawn them to the CLEAR website.
CLEAR has given voice to the huge numbers of medical and recreational cannabis users in the UK who have hitherto remained silent. Newspaper editors who would once upon a time casually throw the word cannabis into any headline about anything and everything are now having to moderate their behaviour or face contradiction, ridicule, complaints to the ineffective Press Complaints Commission (PCC) and have their journalistic integrity called into question. Police forces up and down the country are frantically backpedalling from their ridiculous and misleading stances concerning cannabis.
Even more significantly the voices and views of this hitherto silent mass of cannabis users are being heard in the corridors of power. The current HASC enquiry has been assailed with an enormous mountain of science based and well presented arguments against the present legislation, not only for cannabis related issues but drug, alcohol and tobacco related issues as well. A huge amount of these submissions made use of the CLEAR library and website to make their point and this is a credit to the hard work and diligence which went into the compilation of such a mountain of evidence.
At its inception CLEAR was formed out of a longstanding loosely formed group of people who campaigned under the title of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance which developed into a kind of social club for cannabis users who would meet regularly and operated under a kind of committee structure. When the decision was made to rename itself as Cannabis Law Reform (CLEAR) and become a political party with an informative and regularly updated website the fortunes of the movement improved dramatically.
As progress was made with the PCC and the excellent “Comment Warriors” campaign” differences began to appear amongst some of the original LCA members and supporters and the leader they overwhelmingly elected. In a series of hissy fits and toys out the pram moments many of the original members felt that they could not support the party line or the leader that they themselves had elected. After a series of more hissy fits, ejections and resignations these malcontents, notwithstanding that they had voted for a leader, rounded upon him and attacked him. I strongly suspect jealousy was at the root of these disagreements. That and the undisciplined nature of the people involved led to the CLEAR website, which was by now providing campaigners all over the UK with the tools of protest, being hijacked and coming under cyberattacks which closed it down for weeks. None of the unhappy malcontents claimed any knowledge or responsibility for this so it can only be described as an “act of god”. Having miserably failed to oust the man they had elected as leader and failed to destroy the website they formerly supported these people went on to form NORML UK, leasing the name from the real NORML in Washington.
NORML is a slick, professional lobbying group which has had much success stateside and has been established for years and I think that the NORML UK founders thought that they could gain some credence from using the NORML name here in the UK. Their newly formed website is a shambles. Major news events about cannabis laws largely go unmentioned but if somebody manages to get a couple of ounces of skunk into a joint it makes front page news. The “Welcome to NORML UK” post on the real NORML site had to be taken down within hours of being posted because of childish and abusive comments and complaints.
If you join this organisation for £45 you get a glass jar with a cork top and very little else apart from knowing your money will be sent to America (If anybody remembers to send it). NORML UK is forming itself into a platform for the hurt feelings of its founding members who have given themselves the most pompous sounding titles and believe that they are somehow the “Real Voice” of an imaginary cannabis community which has never in truth existed. They are virtually uncontactable by phone or email. What they say is wholly dependant on who you speak to and how stoned they are at the time. Their website is more or less a dead zone with few relevant links or comments and excuses like “been offline for a while” and endless demands for gullible people to buy their £45 pound stash jars under the guise of membership. There is no transparent accountability and it will be amazing if they last two years. When criticised their only response is to attack the character of the man who they elected and whose abilities they rode on the back of.
So there we have it.
In the green corner fighting out of scientific based fact – CLEAR
In the other green corner NORML UK fighting out of hurt feelings and malice.
You cant knock out what is already unconscious so it’s “no contest”!