Bournemouth Cannabis Social Club have seen a huge growth this year in both campaigning activity and membership. We spoke to the team behind the BCSC to find out how they have made a big impact down in the South West.
So who are the main people in the team at the club? How many does it take to get things moving?
It’s just myself (John) running the club at the moment. It was started with someone else but they have since moved from the area and have had other stuff going on so I took it on as it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for years. So far everything that’s happened for the club has been my own doing, but as the club moves forward and picks up pace I will be looking towards some of the current active members to help, which they’ve been up for.
What is the objective of Bournemouth Cannabis Social Club?
As a club we want to spread awareness that not all consumers of cannabis are the stereotypical ‘troublemakers’. A large majority of our members are medical users and of an older generation. We want the cannabis stigma removed so people don’t have to hide away and consume something that brings them relief from pain and anxiety or medicinal benefits. The more people who know of its benefits, the better.
Who are the members of BCSC and how many do you currently have?
As previously mentioned we have a large variety of members from older people who consume edibles to the recreational user who smoke joints/dabs. We currently have 64 members that are signed up for the club.
You recently hosted some litter picking events, something that was taken on by a lot of the clubs around the coast. Why did you guys decide to do that and what kind of turn out did you get from the community?
I had seen that a few other clubs had decided to get involved and tidy up their local neighbourhood. We jumped on board with that idea and sought a license from the council to hold this event. They provided us with litter pickers and everything we needed to make a difference. The actual day of the litter pick was one of the windiest days of the year and we still had just under 30 people turn up to help make Bournemouth / Boscombe beaches a tidier place for people to visit.
The club also hosted an end of summer gathering at the start of October and had a great turnout. What sort of things can you expect to see when you come to one of these kinds of events?
The protestival we held last month was amazing for our first public meeting. We had a slight issue with our original choice of venue but we managed to overcome that and move it to redhill common. During the day we had over 500 people there. We had over 15 different vendors for the day providing the community with their favourite goodies as well as a couple of food stalls. There was literally something for everyone.
What are some of the important issues for cannabis consumers in Bournemouth and the wider county of Dorset?
I think the biggest issue is the same as everywhere, really – the stigma attached to consuming cannabis. I’m actively trying to find a venue that we can call a club house and have somewhere for members and non members alike to come and be able to consume cannabis whether it’s smoking a joint, eating a cookie or doing a dab, we want everyone to feel welcome and at ease. We also want to be able to provide a safe place for patients to consume and speak to people who have been through a similar situation as cannabis expertise in the NHS is a bit thin on the ground.
Have you started building any relationships with local organisations that may share the aims of the clubs?
We have built some good relationships with the local CBD shops and head shops in town who all offer discount to members of the club, as well as liaising with the police and council about our events and making sure they are aware of our plans.
What’s coming up for the members of Bournemouth CSC, do you have any upcoming events planned over Autumn and winter?
We are actually holding an intake night where we can sign up new members on the 21st of November in Charminster. I’m also in the middle of planning a medicated curry evening for the members, the venue is sorted it’s just the menu I’m working on with the help of a couple of the members. I think, unless we find a venue, that will be it from us for this year.
We have also just released a new range of merchandise (grinders / ashtrays / lighters / stash pots / rolling trays) and I’m working on getting more added to that list like beanies / caps / mugs and t-shirts, so there is a bit more in the pipeline.
How can people get involved with the club or become a member, do you have a process to join?
We generally like to wait for the intake nights to sign members up, it gives everyone a chance to meet each other in a relaxed setting and potential members can find out a bit of what we’re about, meet a few of the current members and have a bloody good night. We did however sign up new members at the protest we held last month, so we are planning on taking a club stall on the road next year to all of the events on the cannabis calendar and signing new members up that way.
How long do you think it is going to be before cannabis social clubs are legal in the UK?
It’s hard to say. The police are obviously relaxing their laws around cannabis use, we have recently seen news that a new club house will be opening in Durham run by the guys who already run the Teeside venue. It’s exciting times for the UK. However I’m still thinking it’ll be a good few years before social clubs are fully accepted, which is why we all need to stick together and push forward as one big group.
What advice would you give to other clubs out there looking to follow your wave of action and progress in 2019?
Just keep plugging away. Find new ways to engage with your members, and the local community and find out what they want and if they can help with anything or vice-versa. Get in contact with the local police and council, let them know who you are and what you’re about. I think for us as a club it was the litter pick event that kickstarted our relationship with both of those locally. If any clubs want any tips or help then they are welcome to contact the club page and I’ll get back to them ASAP.
Where can people go to make sure they keep up to date with your clubs progress?
FB – www.facebook.com/bmthcannasocialclub
IG – www.instagram.com/bournemouthcannabissocialclub