What Does 2012 Hold For The Cannabis Campaign?

    Probably quite a lot.  I expect to see some significant progress both in the UK and abroad.

    The campaign has at last moved away from the hopeless hippy image of the past.  CLEAR has been instrumental in achieving that in the UK and it means that we are now becoming mainstream.  Cannabis is an important issue for everyone, users or non-users,  parents, doctors, politicians and, of course, hippies, whether they wear a suit or a kaftan.  In the US, organisations like NORML, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and Moms for Marijuana have already transformed the image of cannabis and cannabis users.  In Europe, I am confident that the temporary blip in Holland will soon pass while Copenhagen, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and former Eastern bloc countries like the Czech Republic are leading the way with intelligent and progressive policies.  Israel’s medicinal cannabis programme is establishing a model that others will soon follow.

    The Home Affairs select committee inquiry into drugs policy is a huge opportunity and I am immensely proud of the way that CLEAR members and supporters have responded.  No one knows what its outcome will be as far as cannabis is concerned but make no mistake, when reform does finally arrive, this is how it will happen.  The government, ministers and the Home Office have been knowingly telling lies about cannabis for years.  They need an excuse to let them off the hook and perform a U turn.  A select committee report is exactly the mechanism that will allow this to happen.

    Why have our political leaders been so dishonest with us?

    Principally out of fear of the Daily Mail whose mendacious campaign against cannabis we are finally starting to bring under control.  Although the Press Complaints Commission (PCC)  is undoubtedly a corrupt and dishonest organisation (it works in the interests of the press, not the public), CLEAR’s  determined and consistent flow of complaints is having a big impact.  That is why we will continue until the PCC finally bites the dust.  Its replacement will undoubtedly be a lot tougher and I look forward to drafting my first complaint to it.  The days of liars like Amanda Platell being able to get away with falsifying scientific evidence are over.  I should think the PCC’s replacement is probably about a year away yet.

    Lie After Lie After Lie After Lie...

    Another reason is to please their chums in Big Booze and to secure lucrative directorships for themselves once they retire from politics.  One source of much of the improper influence over government is the Portman Group, an incredibly wealthy, shadowy lobbying organisation for the alcohol industry.  These people are the real drug pushers that no caricature can properly describe as evil as they actually are.  They really do push this most poisonous of all substances with no concern at at all for the millions of lingering deaths that it causes across the world every year.  They deliberately promote it to and make it more palatable for children.  They manipulate and distort markets with impunity and deliberately to get people addicted to their product..

    Time To Get Drunk?

    I shall never forget when England won the Ashes a year ago and the BBC News headlines had Andrew Strauss chortling in delight and screaming that his celebrations were going to involve “loads of alcohol”.   This was prime time television, while the kids were watching and it is deeply, deeply shocking when you consider how poisonous, harmful and deadly that particular drug is.  I should make it clear that I am not anti alcohol.  I enjoy strong lager, red wine and, particularly, Irish whiskey but all drugs should be appropriately regulated with accurate information and harm reduction advice.   I say it was as irresponsible for Strauss to say what he did and for the BBC to broadcast it as if he had been advocating heroin use.

    The final reason I advance is Big Pharma, specifically GW Pharmaceuticals.  I have changed my view on this over the past year.  I used to think that Big Pharma in general was preventing access to cannabis as medicine but I think I was wrong.  GW Pharma, Echo Pharma and now Kannalife prove that pharmaceutical companies are perfectly happy to market cannabis medicines.  The problem is that GW has a corrupt and fundamentally dishonest relationship with not just the  British government but also, at least the Dutch and US governments and the DEA.

    The Most Expensive Cannabis In The World

    Inexplicably, except in the context of international corruption, GW obtained a licence from the DEA to import its genetics from Hortapharm in Holland.  It conned the British government into believing that Sativex was somehow not cannabis and now the Home Office has become complicit in the deception that Sativex is an extract of just two cannabinoids and has no psychoactive effect.  Ministers and senior civil servants have got themselves locked into the lie that “cannabis has no medicinal value”.

    This is one reason I do expect change in the availability of medicinal cannabis quite soon.  The ACMD has recommended that Sativex be re-scheduled schedule four of the  Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.  Ministers have bee sitting on this now for nearly a year.  If it is re-scheduled as anything else but cannabis it will be a lie and I expect legal action against the government if it tries to get away with it.  That will certainly be CLEAR’s plan if we can raise the necessary funds. However, the optimistic view would be that a helpful select committee report will enable them to come clean and accept the fact that cannabis does have medicinal value.

    The pressure CLEAR is already applying to the Home Office directly and through the High Court will also help with this.   Litigation from sick people who want access to their medicine as  prescribed by a doctor is, I believe, going to prove to be an irresistible force.

    As for recreational use or the sort of  regulated system that CLEAR has proposed, I believe that depends on the US.  Now more than 50% of Americans think marijuana should be legalised.  77% believe that medical marijuana shoud be available, it is only a matter of time.  2012 will undoubtedly bring more medical marijuana states and it is possible even full legalisation in one or more states.  There is a mass of litigation in the US about the crackdown on medical marijuana and I believe that some it will succeed.  More importantly, I think it is quite likely that Obama will return to his more positive position as the election approaches.  He needs young voters in which the proportion in  favour is even higher.  Some have suggested that he might try to ride in like a white knight to “rescue” the medical marijuana industry and that is the sort of political trick I could see him conjuring up.

    I’m afraid I don’t see much hope from the legalise cannabis e-petition.  I doubt that it will even make the necessary 100,000 signatures.  That level has been set ludicrously high when you consider that the equivalent in the US only needs 5,000 signatures in a country with four or five times the population.  CLEAR will continue to support the petition but even if we were to get a parliamentary debate, after it would need to come something like a select committee inquiry so we’re already there.  The petition has already been overtaken and superseded.

    One very exciting possibility arises in just a couple of weeks.  Week commencing 23rd January, the Sentencing Council will publish its new drug offences guidelines.  I am pretty confident that it will formally recommend medicinal use as substantial mitigation for any cannabis offence .  Even more exciting, I think there is a very good chance that the recommended sentence for growing two or three plants will be either a discharge or a minimum community order.  That will effectively amount to decriminalisation because neither the police nor the Crown Prosecution Service will be interested in pursuing such offences.  Although the guidelines are out this month, I believe they will not come into force until three or six months later. As a minimum they should produce some consistency in sentencing so that anyone growing will know how to avoid a severe sentence.

    So 2012 holds a great deal of promise.  I think the greatest enemy of reform is tribalism.  Both CLEAR and I have been attacked by some cannabis users and growers as the enemy because of our tax and regulate proposals and particularly the idea of licensing for home cultivation.  This attitude is so short sighted and exactly what has stopped us form making progress up to now.   Of course, I would like to see cannabis treated as carrots or tomatoes but it isn’t going to happen.  Sticking to this obstinate, tribal position is delusional and self-defeating.  We need to grow up!  We need these sort of constructive proposals to move the issue along.  There is not going to be a revolution and however unfair it may be, if you have to pay a hundred quid or so for a licence to grow your own, it’s going to be a lot better than the present situation!

    If the cannabis campaign is still seen as the bunch of hopeless hippies that it has been for so long then we will get nowhere.  Making our message mainstream is key. That is why CLEAR needs and deserves your support.

    • Guest

      can only hope the government opens it’s eyes and realises the potential revenue that could be made by just legalizing an innocent plant, probably the most amazing plant discovered, plus it has the most medicinal values(which is kept hidden from us) always false negatives instead of the truthful positives, what’s not to love

    • Joe90

      If any of you want to know where all the attack on the Clear work to
      fight prohibition are coming from then check out alun buffrys’ website
      on blogspot.

      alunbuffry.blogspot.com

      Don’t forget to leave some comments about your thoughts on how aluns efforts are affecting the cause.

    • TheyGotMe

      I’ve got a court case coming early this year. It’ll interesting to see if new, positive recommendations on growing small amounts for personel use, will help me out.

    • Webley566

      Excellent read. Here’s for looking positively at what lies ahead.

    • Andydove84

      Exactly what we need, positivity, we all have a chance to make our voice heard and make this massive change. I hope the government realise that current policy has failed for decades and that making a helpful PLANT illegal Ishtar madness. I submitted my views to the home affairs conmitte about the up coming debate and am hopefull of a response soon. Let’s hope 2012 is the start of a new era, helping out our failing economies and bringing pain relief and happiness to millions without fear of persecution.

    • Anonymous

      The pressure is on and paying a licence is a cop out pure and simple, a home grower can apply for a licence and be refused and then legally targeted just like now or a price set most can’t afford to pay for policing the licence leaving us still open to arrest and prosecution and then you will have no defence.  

      Wake up this is a blind alley and we need to back out of it before we stuff ourselves.  Licences for the big boys just like alcohol; no licence for home growers just like there is no licence for home brewers.  Anything less is a folly at best, at worst a con!

    • http://www.peter-reynolds.co.uk Peter Reynolds

      Phil, you are much, much smarter than that comment would suggest.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Derek-Williams/1072934911 Derek Williams

      Phil, I live in Norwich and there’s an old joke in these parts which is still true; “The roads are so bad in Norfolk, if you want to get anywhere, don’t start from here”. At least Norwich is a nice place to be stuck in, the law means we’re in a bad place right now with cannabis and prohibition and it would be really good if we could start from somewhere else, but of course we can’t. 

      It’s not a folly or a con, what it does is allow us to prepare a costed programme for change and we have to do that. I’m afraid money does talk, it’s really the only language politicians understand. A licence scheme isn’t so bad, it’s a hell of a lot better than you have now for sure. Once there it isn’t the end of the road, change is still possible.

      It’s a starting proposal, no more. There’s a lot of water got to flow through the bong before we get anywhere near seeing any kind of scheme being taken forward.

      The first step, which has never been done before, is to present a costed proposal, and that’s what we’ve done.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with Phil here.

      I think the comparison with home brewing is valid and relevant. Each week or two I brew enough ethanol to kill several people, with no taxes, licences or inspections necessary, as it is for my own domestic consumption.

      Similarly, I should be able to grow as many non-toxic plants as I want for my own consumption without further constraints or penalties. I think CLEAR is aiming too low here.

      As for money talking, do the billions to be saved by ending cannabis prohibition not shout loudly enough?

    • Anonymous

      The truth of this issue is nothing will change for most of us!  The government WILL NOT give me or any of you a licence,Peter may or may not believe they will.  I only know that the community whilst appearing to pull itself together is in fact tearing itself apart! I do not agree with the infighting but I know the cause.  We have and are being pitted against each other whether deliberatively or not I do not know.  I do know the buyers are blaming the dealers , the dealers are blaming the growers the growers are blaming the intermediaries and some one is stirring the ‘pot’.  
      All the well known ‘faces/activists have quit or been expelled yet clear moves on crushing any voice of discontent.  This is not vision I had when I wrote to the PM in support of Peter and Clear, it’s the opposite. I have resigned; so as I can ague my corner, I have removed some very important activist from my ‘friends list’ to underline the point ‘I am in nobodies camp’  the current directing of Clear is misguided and stupid.
       
      The state has stuffed us and manipulated us again and again and we are now doing it to ourselves.  Peter has now closed the blog that has allowed if not encouraged the division to widen and I am glad.  I repeat the last things I said on that blog; possibly the last comments on it that were not Peters.

      Every single person who ever
      handed on a spliff is a dealer in law, you can be arrested for supply they will
      accept it as social supply at court but it will only say intent to. The
      authorities are smashing up grow ops the length and breadth of the nation and
      spending billions to keep the supply restricted and the price high. This breeds
      violence between dealer and resentment in the cannabis community. It makes it
      easer to catch people and ruin lives. They are the real reason for the price!

      If
      people have no wish to pay silly money they can so no or grow their own, The
      cost of 1oz up to £350 the cost of being court growing it up to 14 years,
      supplying it up to 14 years, not to mention a career ruined, family terrorised,
      home smashed up, -property seized or council eviction, Until people accept
      responsibility for their own stupidity and we allow the anti drug crusade to go
      on; cannabis will remain at a stupid price because the career of a grower
      /suppler can be very short and very dangerous. We didn’t consider robbery or
      being battered for your crop.
      I run a hydro-shop and seed company; my home and business has been raided 6
      times since GW got the go ahead currently I am owed 80,000 pound in unpaid
      wages from the last 14 years of business. Some people work in the legal sharp
      end of cannabis, some in the sharp end of the illegal market. some take
      responsibility for their own stupidity and some grow their own! Others they sit
      about and bitch! when it all goes pear shape they grass up the people who take
      the risks and then use their own stupidity to justify doing it.
      As for divide and rule I am beginning to wonder who wants this discussion and
      effort to be sidelined, a couple of pot heads, or bread heads earning a little
      for a while or big business, big pharma and the authorities!!!
      Who’s man are you Peter? at the moment you don’t sound like mine!!

      Philip Walsh

      January
      7, 2012 at 22:11

      I try
      to view you in the same light Peter; however your inability to represent us all
      and respect us all is testing.
      Even dealers, the kids on bikes and the straight taxpayer is a victim of the
      law. the few unscrupulous individuals are just that ‘a few individuals’. I
      consider 99% of the dealers/growers/importers I have known and met as public
      servants; I give them my respect and love for keeping the flow going. fighting
      the good fight and risking all; so as you me and everyone else can sit at home
      and enjoy a spliff/bong/pipe, are they responsible for the plight of the
      medical y needy? No!

      The war is not with them, it’s
      not with the hippies, the radicals the taxpayer or any other ‘victim’ it is
      with those that declared ‘war on some people who use some drugs’.’ war on the
      sick and needy’! Those who seek to monopolize medical cannabis and those
      earning a dishonest living by keeping it illegal! That is not Johnny dipstick
      with a bedroom full of weed, it’s Mr Respectable with a hidden agenda! Its the
      mythical or not so mythical ‘Man’

      Philip Walsh

      January
      8, 2012 at 00:25Peter has closed his blog as he promised to do if it caused a problem,  The problem has lasted months, the blog closed soon after these posts; are these posts the problem that forced the closer or the months of disruption and dissent.  I no longer know I do know the current direction is WRONG!  And yes Peter I am brighter than my last post suggests.

    • Ian – Cardiff

      Unfortunately being a ‘cross party’ party brings with it a raft of issues which are altogether nothing to do with cannabis and more to do with human nature.

      Dissenters and nay-sayers are simply a part of public life any politician automatically agrees to deal with when he or she enters the political arena.

      I believe that even if I don’t particularly like the colour of Peter’s bus, or the music he plays on it, its hopefully going to the same destination I would like to get to so I’m happy to climb aboard.

      Until there’s a viable alternative, he, and CLEAR-UK are well worthy of my support so more power to them I say.

    • Cshaws

      This comment is made purely out of curiosity and no malice is intended to anyone.  I am content with the CLEAR approach because I think it is the most pragmatic in the current climate. However, recently I have seen a lot of criticism of this approach from quite a few contributors.  I am quite open minded on the subject and I’m more than willing to modify or even completely change my views if I see a convincing argument for an alternative approach.  But, from what I have seen, no-one has yet put forward any form of alternative plan of action (sincere apologies if I have missed something). Can anyone who thinks the CLEAR approach is misguided please put forward, at least in outline, what the approach should be, and how it should be implemented?  I repeat, this comment is made purely out of personal curiosity, I’m not trying to wind anyone up, I am genuinely interested to know what the alternatives are because, at the moment, I honestly can’t see any. 

    • http://www.peter-reynolds.co.uk Peter Reynolds

      Phil, I really don’t think you have read or understood what the licence applications are about.  Of course I know the government isn’t going to give out licences,  that is the whole idea.

      Refusal of a licence opens the door to an application for judicial review.

    • http://www.peter-reynolds.co.uk Peter Reynolds

      If anyone comes up with a coherent alternative proposal Cshaws, please make sure I know because I would be very interested as well!

    • Anonymous

      What like Cassey Harrisons attempt over alcohol and tobacco not being included in the MDA.  It saw them declare him a nuisance litigant and threw his application  out.  That is what they will do again leaving licences for the big boys who are probably already in talks with the Home office and set up ready to go.  You must know this Peter  

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=550178909 Spencer West

      If I’m not mistaken, growing up to 8 plants domestically for personal use, without any intent to supply, according to the Drug Offences Guidelines (Published 28 March 2011), is classed as a category 3 offence resulting in a starting point of a Band C fine, ranging from discharge to a low-level community order. I understand these maybe old guidelines, but surely setting the guidelines to state 2 or 3 plants as opposed to 8 would be taking a step back? Sorry, it’s just I’ve just been trying to research my rights and noticed this :) Aside that, some of the points in this article have really made me look forward to 2012! Let’s hope we can make a huge difference! :)

    • jmsncj90

      As a outsider looking in, you need to be replaced quickly. It seems you have been ‘outed’ as a racist homophobe that said things that required you to make an official apology. This isn’t acceptable, the leader of this party MUST stand up to true scrutiny from all the media and politicians and you would be torn apart.

      Also I’ve seen a photo of you on Alan someones blog which makes you look less than respectable, which would also work against this party. The leader of CLEAR needs to be the most upstanding and respectable person of EVERYONE supporting this cause. I’m talking about an Oxford graduate driving a Porche, to show its possible to be educated/successful while casually smoking cannabis….without illustrating that NOTHING will come of this party because parents need proof cannabis isn’t going to mess up their kids.

    • http://www.peter-reynolds.co.uk Peter Reynolds

      I am neither a racist nor a homophobe.  These are dirty tricks which have no basis in fact.  That they have been conjured up is proof of the impact that CLEAR is having under my leadership.

      Yes, I’ve seen the photo that Alun Buffry has published of me.  It’s from about six or seven years ago and is me sitting on a sofa after spending a day working in the garden in the baking sun.

    • jmsncj90

      Thank you for your response. It caused me to find the original articles and I’ve just read what you wrote – don’t see how it is now considered racist to simply make observations on our country’s demographic. I completely agree with you.

      Thanks for everything you’re doing.

    • photographers

      I do agree with your ideas, and am willing to do whatever is in my power to promote the cause, however, I don’t think clear vs Alun Buffry is going to get either of you anywhere.

      A prospective activist/campaigner such as myself is very dissapointed to see such ‘typical’ political propaganda going on within the legalisation community.

      Work together. Don’t lose each other voters and therefore defeat your cause.

      Discussions over how the drug is treated or regulated – once legalised – is an argument saved for another day.

      Please don’t hesitate to contact me back at: Photographers@live.co.uk, I am very interested in hearing your opinion on this matter.

    • http://www.facebook.com/phil.walsh.961 Phil Walsh

      Wow I just found this on the net and I am wondering if this post will get on the clear page as I was banned from posting on Clears page shortly after my last comment on this page.  Ass for suggestions how about full parity with alcohol, a licence and regulation for supply and no licence for home grown.  This has been suggested many times but Clear do not wish to discuss it, they have their own agenda and its got bugger all to do with legalisation or licences for the likes of you and me only for ‘Suitable people’ It there in black and white in the regulate and tax paper which it would seem most Clear members have not read or understood.

    • http://www.peter-reynolds.co.uk Peter Reynolds

      Thank God you know better than anyone else eh Phil? At least there’s one person who knows the truth and is always right.

    • http://www.peter-reynolds.co.uk Peter Reynolds

      Thank God we can rely on you to know better than anyone else, eh Phil? It’s such a relief to have someone who is always right and knows everything.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/SXL5WVLLG6NN6L4V2W2FKUCM6E RedHeron

       Can i just get this straight in my head…..If you are from a foreign
      country and you have a medical cannabis certificate, can you bring
      cannabis into the uk and legally use it as prescribed.?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Derek-Williams/1072934911 Derek Williams

      testing