04 May How Can the Cannabis Campaign Succeed In Britain?

Prohibition protect the children

How can we create change? What will make a difference?

Why can’t we make the sort of progress that has been seen in Washington and Colorado?

Cannabis prohibition is causing massive harm and waste in Britain.

Most other European countries have less strict policies. We all know about Holland. In Belgium you’re allowed to grow one plant. In Italy you can ‘grow a few plants on your balcony‘. In the Czech Republic you’re permitted to possess – without fear of prosecution – up to five grams of cannabis (and, if you want to, 40 magic mushrooms, five peyote plants, five tabs of LSD, four hits of ecstasy, two grams of speed, one and a half grams of heroin, five coca plants and a gram of coke!)

What holds us back in Britain?

In fact, the campaign has made considerable progress in the last two or three years. The relaunch of the LCA as CLEAR started it all and support has become more widespread and organised ever since. Many cannabis social clubs have been formed and there are new organisations, all working in a professional way to a far higher standard than before. This is all excellent news and although we don’t all see eye to eye, the fact is there is far more good work going on now than there was pre-2011.

Britain is a different and particularly difficult place to achieve reform. Partly it’s our media, particularly our newspapers, and we do tend to follow the US more than the rest of Europe. That’s why, whatever we do here, it will be as nothing compared to the effect of more states legalising in the US. That’s what will ultimately change things here.

Now that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything. What it does mean is we have to be smart and very focused on what has a real effect .

Colorado and Washington have achieved change because of local democracy and that’s why America will lead the way. Britain, the home of modern democracy, has sadly succumbed to the party whip system and to that ever present fear of and subjugation by the Fleet Street mafia. The Daily Mail has run cannabis policy in Britain for the last 20 years.

The natural inclination is to protest but this is not what has worked. Colorado and Washington have not succeeded because of large gatherings or marches. What has achieved change has been the patient, detailed drafting of bills, an organised campaign and lobbying of voters. The people on the marches were always going to vote our way. Such work is merely preaching to the choir.

Success has been achieved through concentrated, diligent and determined work, not through civil disobedience.

Today’s Global Marijuana March, Million Marijuana March or whatever else we call it is a token of our protest. It’s cannabis! The whole world is waking up, once again, to the fact that prohibition is a great, immoral evil.

Save the children. End prohibition.

What we need to do now is the work, the detail, the negotiation, the settlement. We are almost there.