09 Dec The UK’s First Licensed Cannabis Dispensary.

Mike Dobson

Mike Dobson

When Mike Dobson first called me a few months ago and told me he had an idea for gaining legal access to cannabis in the UK, I was, of course, sceptical. CLEAR has frequently been approached with hare-brained and convoluted plans for avoiding the law that prohibits cannabis.  Without exception they have all been bonkers.

Within a few minutes though, I could see this one was different.  In the past, most of these ideas have been around sidestepping the law by claiming ‘freeman’ status, the suggestion being that statutes, laws made by Parliament, are only enforceable if you have consented to them in the first place.  Some claim to have succeeded in using this to defeat charges for growing cannabis, even having their harvest returned to them by police.  I can’t verify any of these stories but I’m quite sure the courts are littered with the broken dreams and delusions of those who have tried to go down this path.

The big difference with Mike’s plan, his ‘scheme’ as I like to call it, is that instead of evading, avoiding or dodging the law, it actually uses the law itself to provide legal rights to grow and possess cannabis.

Preston Cannabis Club Website. Click To Enter.

Preston Cannabis Club Website. Click To Enter.

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 empowers the Home Secretary to issue licences in respect of cannabis. These could be for cultivation, production, possession, supply or any other activity such as import or export.

This scheme involves setting up a company to cultivate cannabis and produce cannabis products under licence from the Home Office – the ‘Licensed Supplier’. Providing the various licence conditions are complied with, the Home Office cannot unreasonably refuse such a licence.  If it does then it will be subject to judicial review.  The licence conditions that need to be met are security and the prevention of ‘diversion’ of the cannabis into illicit or unlicensed hands.

The next step is to set up another company where it and its shareholders, guarantors and/or members are licensed to possess cannabis – the ‘Membership Company’.  Again, providing the licence conditions are complied with, the Home Office must issue a licence and if it refuses judicial review proceedings can be brought.  Sensible and responsible rules must be put in place so that members only consume cannabis in private with necessary security precautions.

The genius of Mike’s scheme, now coming to reality with the first Membership Company, the Preston Cannabis Club, is that it uses the law exactly as it is intended, to ensure that the only people cultivating, producing, supplying or possessing cannabis are licensed to do so.

I have consulted informally with several lawyers and there is no doubt that this scheme holds promise. Whether it works out remains to be seen.  CLEAR is putting its weight and support right behind the scheme as a responsible and lawful way to enable legal access to cannabis.  I would expect initial resistance from the authorities but if we are right, it would mean Parliament would have to pass a new law to prevent this happening.  In my judgement that is unlikely and, in fact, the demonstration of such a legitimate route to cannabis would get the government off the hook of its present, unsustainable policy.

Watch this space.  CLEAR is now actively involved in supporting this venture and we will keep you fully informed.

  • Alister

    Interesting! How much were these licenses? What level of security is considered adequate? How long does it take them to award a license and are they planning to trade before its granted? I know the government doesn’t like that much and has bitten radio stations for similar but guess it brings the battle to the courts

  • Martin Threlfall

    They’ll pass a new law faster than lightening once they are onto that plan. Remember, they are after all corrupt as hell

  • Sowel

    This is amazing. Even if this plan fails it’s a success as it brings the topic right into the light.
    How does this work with clear only advocating for medical cannabis, I’m sure attempting to put a medical spin on this plan with crate more red tape.

    • CLEAR has never advocated only for medical cannabis. No idea where you got that from!

      CLEAR’s Aims and Objectives

      1. To end the prohibition of cannabis.
      2. To promote as a matter of urgency and compassion the prescription of medicinal cannabis by doctors.
      3. To introduce a system of regulation for the production and supply of cannabis based on facts and evidence.
      4. To encourage the production and use of industrial hemp.
      5. To educate and inform about the uses and benefits of cannabis.

      See more: https://www.clear-uk.org/aims-and-objectives/

      • Sowel

        My mistake.
        I was sure I read somewhere on this site, perhaps one of the news stories but it may have been elsewhere on the net with reference to clear.

      • Danny Nicholson

        Is one of your aims and objectives to support convicted terrorists as well…..? Google the Man Mike Dobson Folk’s… Then ask yourselves why would the Home Office give this man a licence, when I had pretty much this exact idea and I cannot get a licence…..

  • PooPayTobasco

    What can we presume may happen to the users not eligible for a licence once this dispensary is in place? I far from want to debunk any legislatively advocating cannabis projects especially if they are put in place to help medical patients. The concern is that frequent users and growers may face an increased penalty charge in court or gain less access to quality product from trustworthy sources.
    Laws around the subject (like seed import/ export or purchase of paraphernalia) can and may change almost as easily as applying a loophole in existing law so, the project’s effort could unintentionally put financial and legal pressure on existing users and growers UK wide that don’t have access to the dispensary or licensing.
    Please bear in mind this is just a speculation.

  • Chris Scott Hope

    Hang on this “non-bonkers” idea is to… ask the home office for a license that exempts you from the laws created by said home office?

    That’s a blinder mate, made my day 🙂

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