If you have any interest in the subject of cannabis prohibition in the United Kingdom then there’s no doubt you’ve noticed the buzz surrounding both the cannabis community and the general public this week. Not to mention the BBC.
This controversy arises as the media have suddenly caught wind of the recent and upcoming smoke outs being arranged by the UKCSC all over the country, where hundreds are coming together to smoke cannabis in public and prove it is not harmful to society. Clark French, South Regional Manager for UKCSC, was invited yesterday to attend an interview with Andrew Peach, presenter of BBC Radio Berkshire and was featured again this morning to discuss his recent involvement with cannabis activism and the organisation of local protests.
Unfortunately, this buzz has mostly been created by the opinions of many activists who believe Andrew Peach’s journalistic approach lacked integrity, non-bias and fairness as he baited and encouraged police to arrest Clark based on the conversation he’d had with him seconds earlier. While the interview was expected to focus on campaigning, local protests and the cannabis movement in general as well as Clark’s personal story, it would appear that Andrew seemed to be starting a whole new campaign of his own – the let’s get Clark arrested campaign.
The interview started with Clark explaining the medicinal benefits of cannabis specific to his own condition, Multiple Sclerosis, and why he feels it is important for the plant to become legalised for both medical and recreational use in the UK. All the while, Andrew Peach seemingly reacted with support, compassion and empathy. However, he changed his tune quite drastically seconds later when he showed a huge lack of morality as Chief Inspector James Hahn of Thames Valley Police was invited to have his say on the show.
Despite James Hahn’s diplomatic and fair approach to the interview, stating that he has “a lot of time for debate on the laws and can only encourage people to get involved”, it appeared that he was being taunted and badgered to arrest Clark, with Andrew Peach at one point saying “why are you talking to me instead of going around to arrest him” and “what more evidence do you need?”, implying that he wanted to see Clark arrested based on the interview conducted by himself. A very low and sneaky move from somebody who clearly gained no perspective on the benefits of cannabis from what he was told earlier in the show, and somebody who should be discussing topics surrounding law and politics objectively and impartially, rather than with this blatant lack of ethical principle. Are these the actions of an acceptable and responsible journalist? Absolutely not.
The controversy continued this morning, as Andrew Peach returned to the cannabis issue on his show this time inviting Rob Wilson, MP and Professor David Nutt, former Chief Drug Advisor to our previous Labour government, who were both supportive of the need for legalisation. Rob Wilson said “there is a strong argument for medical legalisation” while Professor David Nutt exclaimed “it should never have been made illegal anyway” and expressed his views on the “idiotic law” describing it as “outrageous” and showed huge support towards Clark, who responded later with “Seems like irresponsible journalism to say you believe and support a medical patient but bait the police and local MP into taking action against them.” All responses from the public agreed with many of the points Clark made in his initial interview.
Whereas there has been some disappointment regarding Andrew Peach’s approach to criminalisation, this mainstream media attention as a whole has received fantastic support, as well as giving non-consumers the opportunity to express their views on the cannabis movement, but most importantly, is creating awareness for Berkshire Cannabis Community’s next peaceful protest picnic on 7th September at Kings Meadow, Reading from 1pm-7pm. Keep up the good work, Clark!
Andrew Peach is inviting listeners to call in throughout the week to air their views on the cannabis debate and what you think the police should do about a group of peaceful people from all walks of life coming together and sitting on some gras smoking cannabis. Leave your comments below – we would love to see what you have to say about this!
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