The majority of the cannabis bought and sold on the black market is for social or recreational purposes, mainly for relaxation after a hard day of work and for enjoyment. Today’s cannabis market in the UK sees the majority of consumers buying for social and recreational purposes so they can relax and enjoy their personal time or a special occasion. It may be consumed as a safe alternative to using alcohol or other recreational drug
Many patients currently rely on the commercial, or often referred to as recreational market to obtain the medicine that they have found works best for them: cannabis.
Sadly, this all too often results in vulnerable people paying more than is necessary for their medicine. Or worse getting an inferior product to one that they need to treat their condition.
Because roughly 80% of the market is recreational, the 20% that are looking to purchase cannabis to use as a personal medication or for therapeutic purposes are left in a market-place dominated by cannabis products that, when totaled up to their required weekly or monthly dose, results in quite an inflated total cost in order to maintain a good quality of life. In most cases staying at a maintained level of “healthy” is simply too expensive.
It goes without saying that someone with a physical disability that cannot work will be on low income. When they need as much cannabis in a day as their income support gives them in a week the picture of their struggle starts to become all the more understandable.
Without the recreational market existing, many patients who are unable to grow for themselves (disability can inhibit the physical capabilities of growing for many) would find themselves completely without a source of relief.
Now, as more people are becoming aware of the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of cannabis, there are more people growing medical strains with an increasing strive towards reaching medical standards, specifically for the patient market. Some are doing so with the aim of ending suffering and growing at cost, or as an act of compassion – donating the oil extracted from the plant material to patients with terminal conditions, such as stage 4 cancers, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, MS, Crohns Disease just as examples.
There are, however, a growing number of online distributors selling cannabis and oil packaged up with labels to make them look like tested medical products, and adding on an extra price tag for the privilege. But it is quite easy to print a label, and quite unscrupulous to use this to try and gain an inflated price for you cannabis – if you are marketing to actual medically sick patients.
In Times Of Need
We have something we have never seen before in the UK in the twenty first century. Here is a well established network of Cannabis Social Clubs. Patients who are members of such organisations, should look to team up together and create 9 Plant Collective Gardens which operate on a Fair Trade Grade system. The idea is simply that you grow your cannabis between you and share the cost it takes to grow it, rather than paying someone a commission per gram sold or just at a named price per ounce they feel it is worth from product they have grown for no other reason than to sell it and make money. This is the very principle that lead to the growing evolution of the original Cannabis Social Clubs in Barcelona in the early 2000’s.
Looking after yourself and making sure your friends, family, and other club members’ needs are looked after in a fair way, removes you from a black market which could very well see your money help fund the production and supply of hard drugs, guns, and human trafficking of sex workers and slave gardeners – who grow cannabis in illicit farms, as well as a number of other crimes that create real victims. Ending your alliances with that chain is an act of activism. It could just be a way to put your health back into your own hands.
What is a Collective and how do you form one?
At the UKCSC we have taken a good look at the sentencing guidelines to see what their advice is to Judges who are faced with a cannabis prosecution. It outlines that 9 plants is not considered a commercial scale operation and does not carry a custodial prison sentence. Under the close advice of ENCOD – the European Coalition for Fair and Effective Drug Policies – who have helped further the cause of Cannabis Social Clubs in up to 9 countries, we have taken this 9 plant figure as a limit to advise patients and those gardening for personal use to stick to this number for the lowest impact from the harm of the law – if the worst should happen.
How does it work?
To know how many patients or members you can provide for you must know how much cannabis you are capable of producing from 9 plants. Taking into consideration the time it takes between grows, you need to calculate your own usage for that time (your days use x how many days between calculated harvests). When you have this figure you should be able to calculate how much OverGrow surplus cannabis you have. You can then match this in the same way to other prospective Collective members. It is important not to over subscribe membership to your Collective as this will inevitably result in you or your existing Collective members becoming short of their own medicine – it would end up being counter productive.
To work out the cost of the cannabis you must work out the cost that it took to grow from start to finish. To do this you calculate the collective energy consumption of the electrical appliances used to grow your crop. Lights, fans, extractors, air pumps, and anything else that is plugged in is drawing power and has a power consumption rating on it, so you can total them up in kwH (kilowatt hours). Add the cost of the nutrients, seeds or cuttings, and all consumables like rubber gloves, blades, syringes and foliar feeds or treatments. Once you have your total cost you can divide the final weight of your crop by the cost and work out the cost per gram and then evenly share the cost based on the number of grams each member of the Collective has previously stated they require.
What some Collectives have found is that they are saving much more money than they thought they would and as a result, they have decided to implement a £1 tax of their own on each gram to go towards a fund that could help them eventually purchase their own club house. Small steps lead to big things, and if Spain is any example to go by with its 1000 cannabis associations of this kind, all it is going to take for the UK to be onto a winner is for Cannabis Social Club members to start their own 9 Plant Collective Gardens and take the greed out of weed.
Just for a reference to the time this blog is being published, there are non-official “Cannabis Social Clubs” forming for profit purposes selling UK grown cannabis in “medtainers” with made up strain names on fancy medical looking labels claiming it is Cali import – some of it is, much of it isn’t. Much of it is here because it does not meet the strict regulations that states have imposed such as test for pesticides and Plant Growth Regulators. The prices range from £15 – £50 a gram. This is fine if you want to pay this to get whatever experience it is you are looking for but there is no strain worth £50 a gram that makes it better than another for a dying cancer patient, someone with MS, or Crohn’s, or Epilepsy.
I have personally seen some private UKCSC 9 Plant Collective Garden growing cannabis that was of the highest quality comparable to Colorado MMJ approved bud (where I have fortunately worked) – grown for the purpose of healing oneself and not to build up an online reputation or ego. It also didn’t cost the earth so it must have been all that more satisfying!
The UK Cannabis Social Clubs have launched a Tagged Plant Collective Model for 9 Plant Collectives. In this we offer Tags for gardens that have up to 9 plants in them that are for personal or medical use and are not being grown for profit or dealing. If a UKCSC Tagged Plant Collective was imposed upon by the police, the UKCSC have secured a legal team that would fight this challenge in court with them, trying to challenge the law, not just trying to get you the lowest sentence possible. Rather than one person trying to change the law, we all do it together. Without directly challenging the law we are unable to make a difference – our politicians have shown us how much they care of the will of the people. The purpose of the Tagged Plant Collective is that those growing stand behind each other and a legal aid fund is created to fight the battle that one of us, one day, will potentially face, it is a Union of Personal and Medical Cannabis Growers. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Tagged Plant Collective” if you wish to find out more or become part of the Union.
Patients, simply cannot wait. If you are growing cannabis to make oil you may want to join this group for support and advice on testing.
In each European country that has a Cannabis Social Club model a test case was put before the courts…we have built a GIANT network of support, if many of us play by the same rules, we may have a cause for being taken more seriously.
We don’t just ask for a fairer society, we will act to make it one.
Please read out Cannabis Law page before making any decision to take your health into your own hands. It’s sad we have to remind you of this but we are fighting to change the law for all medical patients and consenting adults that want the right to grow, share and collectively consume cannabis in the British Isles.
If you have a Cannabis Social Club that want to become part of the UKCSC please register your details with us here.