The movement that cannabis saw in 2018 has given activists and consumers a renewed drive with the belief that change really might be possible. Seeing the UK Home Office change its stance from “cannabis has no medical benefit in herbal form” and “is dangerous to children and the developing mind”, to then prescribing cannabis as a medicine for children with neurological disorders such as severe epilepsy, opened up a lot of people’s eyes – people who had been lied to by the mainstream media and even our own family members when growing up.
There are public talks taking place around the UK by academics, cannabis social clubs, and even charities. Parents are taking to the mainstream media to tell their stories about how their children are being denied medicine still. People aren’t willing to stay quiet anymore. Even the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has said that it will be campaigning for greater awareness for patient access after publishing an article by the UKCSC.
Norman Lamb MP for North Norfolk, a former Health Minister, has been persistent in trying to bring about political awareness and change for cannabis laws. He recently introduced a ten minute bill amid the chaos of the Brexit debates. The bill was voted down but by a very narrow margin – another encouraging moment for those supporting reform. It also gave us a nice list of politicians that are in favour of cannabis reform.
While the Home Secretary Sajid Javid made bold moves to bring about changes to medical cannabis laws he has also said that medical legalisation is in no way a step towards recreational legalisation. But when he said medical cannabis would be rescheduled to help people get the access they need it was followed up with a policy that means even the most desperate of children are still being denied, meaning pretty much no one is any better off.
Sadly the public think that the medical cannabis problem is now fixed. Patients tell us everyday that they are being congratulated on having their medicine legalised. This can feel like a kick in the teeth knowing that the cannabis we are using as patients is still illegal and could land us a criminal record. But this is exactly why it’s going to be a big year for cannabis… because you’re going to help make it so!
Finding people with a misunderstanding about cannabis is the perfect chance for activists and consumers to spread the awareness and inform those who believe it’s available to those who need it that this still isn’t true. More people are aware of the benefits of cannabis than ever though, and it’s becoming increasingly hard to find people that are outright against it.
So why is cannabis going to have such a good year in the UK in 2019?
Corporate cannabis is coming
Not that many people are happy about it, but the truth is, a lot of the impetus for change is being driven by those with their eyes on the big money. They have the resources that cannabis activists can only dream of. Highly commercial enterprises from the tobacco and alcohol industries have been making giant moves investing literally billions of dollars into Canadian licensed producers in a bid to become the biggest and the best ahead of a global roll out. Companies like Canopy Growth have already branched out to Chile, Germany and now the UK as of October 2018. That means more legal cannabis jobs in the UK… but not quite the kind the average cannabis consumer may have been dreaming of.
People are angry
The truth is out! Cannabis IS medicine and you can’t put that genie back in the bottle. People have been lied to by the Government while they have been licencing the largest exporter of medical cannabis in the world, with several ministers’ partners embroiled in the political scandal. Children are still being denied access, loved ones lost who could have had their pain eased in their dying days or who are still be with us feel they have been betrayed, and they now want to do something about it. Who wouldn’t?
People want to see something happen
If the Government isn’t going to do it, who will? The people – that’s who. And that’s you. Being a cannabis consumer that is just watching this go on by without making an effort to change it helps keep this destructive antisocial system stay the way it is. If we want to see something other than a full-on corporate cannabis takeover then we need to offer that difference to cannabis consumers ourselves. The idea of only being able to buy cannabis that is grown in North America where no British people are given jobs to grow cannabis here at home, with all the extra air miles and carbon footprint, worries consumers. What about the benefits of cannabis to the UK economy? We need to harness that for ourselves, not hand it over to another continent!
Cannabis Social Clubs are springing up EVERYWHERE!
It’s not just the major towns and cities that are seeing cannabis social clubs being set up. CSCs are perfect for those living in the suburbs and villages. You don’t need to have a permanent venue to have a good thriving cannabis community. Hosting a local gathering once a month is how many of the clubs who do have their own indoor space started off. Providing a way for local cannabis consumers and patients that are just finding out about cannabis is how we play a part in making change a reality. Many patients also don’t get the chance to get out and socialise very often and never in a space that allows cannabis consumption, the benefit our patient members get from just socialising is something the NHS will never be able to offer!
More patients are turning to growing their own
Our communities also encourage and help each other become self sufficient, to grow our own herbs and to do so to a high standard. With the realisation setting in that prescription medical cannabis isn’t as close to us as we thought, many patients have looked online and seen how affordable growing equipment is now. Patients love telling us how empowering it is to take their health back into their own hands, the joy that gardening brings and the benefit of being able to choose their own strains versus the street lottery of the black market. When patients grow their own they can also grow enough to meet their medical needs for symptom relief rather than having their dose ruled by the street price of weed.
CBD flowers are becoming increasingly available
Every week we seem to see another shop somewhere in the UK that is now selling high CBD cannabis flowers. Some are from the US, Switzerland and Italy. Trading Standards and the Home Office have said that CBD products under 0.2% THC are able to be sold whilst Customs have been allowing it to be imported. Some police forces are OK with this, others have been less impressed. In any case, the reality is people are buying cannabis in shops in the UK and this is helping change the perception that it is a dangerous street drug.
Media are keen to report on cannabis stories
So much positive press in 2018 has brought about more awareness to those who previously had no idea or were completely against cannabis. We know from speaking to journalists that these stories get a good readership which means their editors are often happy to publish more stories as they know it helps achieve their targets. We know there are many of you reading now that have incredible stories and would like to get them out there to help others learn about medical cannabis and get the help that you have. So… why not reach out? Either to us here at UKCSC where we could publish your story to our readers, or, to your local newspaper? They will likely be owned by a larger paper company and if the article gets enough traffic it could get republished in a national. We need to, as activists, take advantage of these free opportunities. Activists make things happen, they don’t wait for things to just land in their laps!
There has been legal cannabis in some places for 5 years now
With more and more states legalising in the US and Canada going fully legal in October 2018, the data is starting to come in on just what impact legal cannabis regulation has on the society that implemented it. We get to see the stats on how effective it has been on removing the black market, preventing youths from accessing it and how much money can be put into drug harm prevention programmes. Some statistics have shown decreases in suicide and people finding cannabis as a way to exit from harmful substance misuse.
Cannabis legalisation is NOT inevitable – it’s down to you!
We have to work hard for this. We need to work together. We have seen how long politicians think they can hold out on the medical cannabis lie so we know we are up against a mountainous challenge to gain recreational legalisation. UKCSC have been following another path than just working for political change. Social change shows that this is what the people want and that it can exist in British society without any major changes to laws or forcing anything new on the public. Cannabis is already everywhere and the Home Office knows that – now let’s show them how to do it.
What to do if you want to help be the change?
Join your local cannabis social club if there is one and tell them you how you want to get involved. If it is with local activism, tell them that. If you have a particular skill set you can offer, let them know! Or, just ask how you can help. If there isn’t a club near you do what these clubs have done and start your own. UKCSC are here to help make this happen and if you think you are the one to do that we are happy to hear from you. Just get in touch here.
Already a Cannabis Social Club and want to be more involved?
We are accepting registrations from existing clubs and want to see everyone making something happen local to themselves be part of the voice of cannabis social clubs in the UK. If you want to become a part of the family or learn more you should fill out this form and we will be happy to get in touch.