Who are the UKCSC?
The UK Cannabis Social Clubs (UKCSC) is an organisation campaigning the government to change the law so adults can use cannabis safely without fear of arrest. We lobby politicians in government to support policy that legislates for consumer safety and harm reduction through private membership clubs. UKCSC believe the right to grow cannabis at home, in a shared space or with a small-scale licence is vital to eradicate the problems of prohibition and criminal element of the industry. Cannabis should be sold and purchased through licenced venues with labelled, lab-tested products to adults with age ID.
UKCSC are a not for profit Non-Government Organisation founded in 2011 by concerned citizens and comprised of experienced healthcare professionals, industry experts, horticulturists, clinical researchers, patients, entrepreneurs and activists from across the UK, taking learned advice from campaigners in the United States, Europe and the rest of the world.
The UK Cannabis Social Clubs campaigns for safer policies so adults can legally engage with cannabis without fear of criminalisation. We aim to make the cannabis market safer for consumers at risk of hidden threats when purchasing from the streets.
Cannabis consumers are much safer when they have the right to grow at home or in a shared space and can purchase labelled, lab-tested products through regulated outlets and showing valid proof of ID. We have written a model to provide a solution to this need and run test cases with police forces with success.
UKCSC is the UK cannabis consumer voice, offering practical and legal advice and guidance to Cannabis Social Clubs (CSCs), politicians and police forces to provide a self-regulatory framework to reduce risks.
UK Cannabis Social Clubs are made up of private membership clubs for adult medical and social use acting as a first point of contact for cannabis consumers, patients, advice, general cannabis information, harm reduction, support and education.
Why we are here
The government is failing cannabis consumers in the UK. In most cases, people want less governance in their lives – but here we have an issue where consumers cry out for regulation.
Cannabis has been legal on prescription since November 2018. Medicinal cannabis is still mainly unaffordable to most patients with severe health conditions or who cannot afford to pay for private medicine. As a result of this mismatch between service and need, patients are still relying on the legacy/grey market – home growers or CSC’s. Patients unconnected with a community are left with cheap black market cannabis, potentially hazardous to health due to the risk of mould and pesticides used during production.
Organised crime gangs produce black-market cannabis where profit is the motive. Children are often used to grow cannabis for gangs who have trafficked them into the country and taken their passports away. Victims of modern slavery used to grow cannabis can be locked in houses for years and have threats made against them and their families to provoke fear in them, which prevents them from running away. If consumers knew this was where their cannabis came from, they probably wouldn’t buy it. The government knows this is happening and thinks that rather than regulating cannabis supply chains, raiding as many as possible will solve the problem. It hasn’t been working since 1971.
In 2009 cannabis was reclassified as a Class B by the Labour lead government. The government gave powers to police to issue a three-strike warning and fine system (Penalty Charge Notice) for personal possession.
The UK Cannabis Social Clubs was founded in 2011 when activists came together to look at new ways to campaign locally after previous national campaigns had failed to gain momentum.
UKCSC believes the government has misapplied the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. People and society have been victims of this policy in the form of unfair criminalisation, which disrupts lives and families, and the misspending of public resources in the billions of pounds. Politicians, police and the press are responsible for maintaining this destructive policy.
An evidenced-based policy should replace cannabis prohibition using scientific and social data to help shape it. We would like to see the decriminalisation of personal possession and cultivation of cannabis and the legalisation and regulation of commercial cannabis production and sale to make supply chains safer.
Tax: Cannabis, as a commercial industry, could contribute through tax revenue towards needed services in our society, like the NHS and schools.
Crime: Stop cannabis sale proceeds funding gangs that create real victims. Good people are often needlessly sent to prison for cannabis at great cost to the public. Criminal records can seriously hinder life progress.
Jobs: Britain could generate 10 to 20,000 cannabis industry-related jobs, positively impacting unemployment. It would also open up the UK to innovation across the sector.
Safer Access: Protect consumers from the hidden harms of street cannabis by regulating supply chains and imposing minimum standards.
How we work
Cannabis Social Clubs (CSC’s) are individual entities that exist as private membership community groups and clubs. UKCSC have written a model to help guide and support community groups operate CSC’s responsibly in the UK. As a national body we facilitate the exchange of useful information, ideas and experiences among our members and clubs. We help use our collective experience to make news stories futhering the conversation in the mainstream.
UKCSC’s engage in dialogue with local and national politicians, Police Crime Commissioners and other figures of authority and influence so they can be informed about what the local people want, pressuring the government departments that influence drug policy reform. We promote peaceful activism aimed at the media and shifting public opinion, in order to stimulate public debate around the need to end prohibition and the unjust, unfair criminalisation of cannabis consumers.
How UK cannabis club works
There are three types of UK Cannabis Social Clubs which operate under a shared code of conduct.
Compassion Clubs offer support to patients who cannot afford cannabis medicines through legal prescription clinics. Patients may be unable to access a private prescription due to cost barriers or have not found products through the clinics that work for them. Compassion Club cannabis is grown by home cultivators and distributed for free or at a low fair trade cost.
Social Clubs operate private membership clubs for adults with age ID to provide access to a safe social space. Some clubs offer to share homegrown and craft-cultivated cannabis between members. Clubs may or may not have premises. Clubs take membership fees monthly or annually for members who participate in regular social meetings in hired or leased premises. Adults over 18 can join a Social Club if a friend recommends them. Some clubs allow adults to make contact with them to go through a vetting process before visiting or coming to an event.
Medical Lounges allow prescription patients to access a private area to take their cannabis.
CSC’s do not sell cannabis, but members can bring their own and are encouraged to grow their own using the UKCSC home growing guidelines as a harm reduction measure to avoid interaction with the black market. Many clubs make cannabis oil for patients who cannot do so for themselves. Clubs also offer support to those who have had problematic cannabis use to provide education and understanding about cannabis and mental health.
Campaign costs & funding
The UK Cannabis Social Club is a company limited by guarantee and is reregistering as a CIC in 2023.
UKCSC is a nonprofit organisation run by volunteers. Staff contribute their time freely to achieve the objectives we believe in.
Administration and campaign costs each year reach approximately £20,000. We raise funds through donations, raffles, shop sales, club joining fees, supporter memberships and sponsorship or advertising packages sold to UK cannabis industry businesses.
Campaign costs include: Travelling to campaign meetings across the country, hosting and maintaining the website, PR, legal fees, hiring venues and meeting rooms, organising conferences, protests, the cost of printing promotional materials for awareness days so that Cannabis Social Club can spread a consistent message throughout the UK. We do not currently receive any grants from any organisations or charities but would be happy to talk if you are looking to help take us to take the conversation to the next level.
If you want to advertise your business on our website to support our aims or wish to contribute to our campaign financially or with a skill you have, we will be happy to speak with you at email@example.com.
History of cannabis social clubs
The Cannabis Social Club movement started in Spain. Originally composed of small consumers, growers and patients; they collectively grew cannabis for personal use. Others soon replicated this small model to provide a constant supply of affordable, high-quality, and, most importantly, safe cannabis for those in the Associations.
Some CSCs decided to take their model further and increase their membership by allowing existing members to invite friends to become club members. They do not advertise, accept under 18’s or take new members that haven’t tried cannabis before. When joining, clubs ask members to give a quantity of how much what kind and how much cannabis they require every month. The member’s data tell the club how much cannabis they need to grow each crop, so they are only growing to cater to the membership’s needs. The production cost and club overheads determine the end price to the member. Spanish clubs have to run as non-profits. Smokers’ lounges in Spain are common, where you can socialise with other members, buy cannabis and consume it in a hospitable environment.
In the last ten years, this movement has proved to be a successful and safe model based on a harm reduction approach with community values. European countries such as Belgium, Austria, France, Slovakia, Uruguay, and Germany have adopted cannabis social club models.
Cannabis Social Club were born from activists taking action. CSCs did not have permission from the law to start and, for years, were subject to raids by the police, destroying their grows and arresting those running the clubs. The activists that ran the clubs opened back up within days because they knew they were doing the right thing.
From 2007 onwards, the European Commission started a dialogue with civil society on drug policy. ENCOD – European Coalition for Fair and Effective Drugs Policy, has always played a crucial role in establishing this dialogue. The promise is to do everything to ensure that it will be a sincere dialogue accessible to all citizens.