By Edouard-Henri Desforges, UK Cannabis Social Clubs Deputy Vice Chairman
The police have been accused by Conservatives of giving ‘tacit approval’ to collectives like the UKCSC. Our modern constabulary are mostly involved in ‘responsive policing’ – maybe cannabis users simply do not merit citizens reporting the crime? Possession of medical cannabis is a victimless crime anyway!
There is hardly tacit approval, given the police arrest people and stay silent on the subject usually until they are ex-coppers, and then say they don’t have the resources to police something that is a non-issue anyway, given how the paradigm is changing and our understanding of health increasing.
There’s a difference between violent gangs in the international drugs trade and a hod carrier/workman in possession of a few joint or two after a long day. Let alone seriously sick people who just want peace and the opportunity to recover. The police have press relations types who say they back the whole decriminalisation movement or even full regulation of products enabling adults to get on with using it responsibly however they wish. Even organisations comprising ex-police officers are down to change FAILED drug policies.
Then you have the actual reality on the ground, officers arresting people and no blind eye being turned. This is all at tremendous expense to the taxpayer: treating sick families as criminals and those peacefully chilling as violent lunatics. We don’t even have safe drug consumption rooms for vulnerable heroin addicts even though there is an AIDS problem in Glasgow among needle sharers and the rest of the world has had such rooms for years. We make these problems worse for ourselves by not tackling them correctly.
The state’s lack of compassion is a weird historical vestige of Britain’s obsession with law and order. The problem with turning a blind eye as a policy for citizens is it can be selective. In one room an important police officer okays the act and says that it is fine for people to be able to smoke cannabis openly in a space; the next room along police are arresting people with intention to supply as they pass each other a ‘spliff’.
People want to get on with their lives in peace without fear of violent abduction by the police, and I’m sure the police have better people to rugby tackle than grannies with arthritis. Having a ‘spliff’ passed to you is no more dangerous than a glass of wine – if manufactured correctly and the rest of it – so why aren’t the police getting involved in controlling that aspect of society’s behaviour? When was the last publican arrested?
A few drops of cannabis oil and we have a palaver for families akin to as if they had committed serious anti-social behaviour; a few drops of wine in a glass for a child at a wedding party and nobody and bats an eyelid. So they have to do what they are told, which is uphold the law and, quite rightly, society doesn’t let them be too involved in making changes, so they haven’t been very effective in calling for change.
Our hope is that the medical establishment will have our backs and support our desire to cultivate plants as people have been doing globally for millennia. It’s great that we have science to fix all of our problems but being in touch with the land and nature, just through the simple effort of even looking after a single plant, is a tremendously empowering experience for someone who could be struggling to look after themselves due to illness or misfortune. It might only be a small victory in the eyes of a successful member of society but to someone who is down being able to pour their energy into a constructive activity is immensely rewarding.
The UKCSC has been pretty transparent and contacted the police crime commissioners for support from day one of their role being created. Every Police Crime Commissioner received a congratulations letter from us on their appointment to office and we asked for their help in bringing about social change, Ron Hogg was one of seven respondents. We need bold political leadership around drug policy, housing policy, poverty and homelessness and it starts by recognising our relationship to plants, to each other, and to the truth of who we are biologically and socially.