The Home Office’s official petition site allows any citizen of the UK the right to start a petition to ask the public for support. If it gets 10,000 signatures the Home Office has to give a response. If it gets 100,000 it means MPs have to discuss it in Parliament.
Yesterday we shared the We Demand A Vote On Cannabis petition on Instagram and Facebook and saw an explosion in the number of people signing up. You can sign it here. Make sure you check your email to click confirm – yes, they actually make you double sign it so make sure you don’t only do half the task!
Starting off the day at 8,099 by 4:20pm 400 had already added their name.
“Within just a few hours a couple of hundred people had already signed it,” said Greg de Hoedt, UKCSC chairman. “By the time it got to 7pm and everyone was getting home from work it was climbing higher and higher, quicker than we could keep up with. It was jumping dozens at a time with every refresh, seconds apart.”
By morning it was over the 9,000 mark, ever closer to the 10,000 required for an official response.
This is not the first time this petition has run. Last year the same petition ran for six months and gained over 20,000 signatures. The Daily Star even ran an article on it, but in true stoner fashion the article came out after the deadline had finished… d’oh!
Gareth Lendrum, who runs Let Us Vote UK, has personal reasons for pushing this campaign.
“The reason I created the petition was, in short, because I discovered the pain relief cannabis could give to my partner who has cerebral palsy. Oil is very expensive but having a green thumb I thought why not grow it myself, make the oil & then my partner will no longer need the opiates and prescription killers.
“Long story short, I was busted. Me, my partner and two kids – two and three years of age at the time – made homeless. Police refused to give us keys, landlord threw loads of our stuff out, we stayed homeless for three months sofa surfing and the minute me and my family were back on our feet I thought something has to be done so I started the petition.”
Gareth is proof you don’t need to be a stereotypical stoner to support reform.
“I do not consume cannabis myself, which many find odd because I run a pro-cannabis page on facebook and run this petition. I’m just doing what I think is right.”
Gareth’s partner is still without a legal prescription. This is why he wants cannabis rights reinstated, because they are all of our rights. You just don’t know until you need them.
In the past, cannabis petitions calling to legalise have reached 236,995 signatures but received unacceptable responses from the Home Office back in 2015 when Theresa May was Home Secretary. They even had the cheek to claim that cannabis use in the UK had fallen from 9% to 6% of the population. These figures were cherry-picked from reports that took data from different studies with different demographics. Not like Theresa May to try and scew drug reports…
Whatever your thoughts are on petitions, one thing is apparent. It keeps the topic in the media. Some may say “cannabis is in the paper every day” – but is it talking about the right to grow? Is it talking about rights for people when it comes to cannabis? The answer is a swift and short no. So this is why it is important to take two simple minutes to help support reform efforts, to help restore the rights of cannabis consumers. It’s not like it’s the only thing we are doing to campaign for cannabis reform and people’s rights when it comes to the plant.
While the last referendum is mired in chaos it may not be everyone’s cup of tea and a spliff to hold another controversial referendum without a sensible deal firmly on the table. But if we can get the ball rolling for public support, maybe this is a good first step.
UK Cannabis Social Clubs have been working on a cannabis policy manifesto that supports the right to grow and allows for craft cannabis licences for production and regulated sales and social clubs.
So, we are asking you to do a couple of things. Firstly, sign this petition! You will need to put in your name and address to prove you are a UK citizen – no, it’s not a way for the government to get a list on who smokes weed, you don’t need to be a toker to support sensible reform.
Secondly, make a donation to our fundraiser to help run a serious national media campaign to promote the benefits of legalisation and the reduction of harms our society will see in a future with regulated cannabis, with the right to home grow.
The petition ends on the 3rd of November – let’s get it smashing the necessary 100,000 signatures.