Michael Fisher, founder of Teesside Cannabis Club laughs about the hatchet job the Daily Mail have tried to do on him.
“I’ve never tried to hide anything whilst doing this, I have worked openly with the police for 18 months”
It’s a bit of a joke really, none of this information is hidden” he says, “yet the media are acting like they have done the worlds best piece of investigative journalism.
“I started using cannabis when I was 15 on the recommendation of my doctor. I have a serious stomach condition similar to Crohn’s Disease and have been on some strong medications that weren’t effective.”
The Daily Mail have tried to make light of his illness which at times causes extreme pain and is debilitating without the use of cannabis. They referred to Fisher’s illness as having a ‘stomach condition’ in inverted commas, not the excruciating condition it is.
‘They’re so used to making things up they think everyone else must’.
The article which was published on 23rd of July 2015 in print and online, uses a picture published on the UKCSC article highlighting the main points of this media frenzy which has now been shared over 3,000 times on social media.
Gaining national media attention
Teesside Cannabis Club first drew attention to themselves when they launched their campaign “cover the whole of the North East in cannabis” declaring “from the angel of the north to Middlesbrough police station” cannabis seeds will be planted. The activism was part of the Feed The Birds initiative to reintroduce cannabis into the wild and take advantage of the natural sunlight where cannabis should be grown – not indoors under lamps using vast amounts of electricity.
The story was released by the Northern Echo which gained national media coverage much in the same way this recent story has and it was the first piece of press that Feed The Birds gained – giving it an international limelight.
“We just know how to get things done up here in the North East, but it’s needed and the way the public and police have responded has been a welcome change to how we were treated just 4, 5, 6 years ago.”
Michael also known as John Holliday by club members or Ziggy to his friends isn’t concerned with the Daily Mail’s attempts to make him look like a lout.
“The worrying thing is the reporter was just blatantly obvious about the way he was going to write the story, “you know we are a conservative rag right”, “you know the whole country are going to see this and what they’ll think of you?”
He said to the journalist, “I grew up in Middlesbrough, we’re the definition of what the Tories hate, you think I don’t know what that lot think of me?
Fishing for dirt
“I have 36 convictions for minor cannabis offences, I’m not a violent person, I use it for a medical condition.
“They want a big story and I’ve told them I will give it to them. I will take them to cancer patients who are treating themselves with cannabis oil and they have been given two months to live. But they would rather print more stories about me…”
Clearly Richard Marsden flaunts respectability when it comes to his career and the way he carries out his work. So much so he has called Michael today and informed him they will be releasing yet another article about him.
“Most of the press have been a delight to work with over the last week, we have had interviews with almost every red top tabloid, the Independent, Guardian and the Times.”
BBC have had the Teesside Cannabis activists on multiple stations too, to promote their annual summer Canna Camp Fest taking place on August 1st.
“I’ve had to back Ron up on this in various interviews now, he is not trying to decriminalise cannabis, he hasn’t changed the law or the policy on cannabis he just isn’t going to use up police resources for it. He is going to go after criminal gangs and that’s what we all want to see removed from the community.”
“We need an open debate about this.” – John Holliday, Teesside Cannabis Club
In November Ron Hogg held a drug symposium to discuss local drugs policing that held the tagline “sensible not soft” hoping that people would share it has a hashtag #SensibleNotSoft throughout social media.
“Vietnamese gangs who lock up kids and sell rubbish weed need to be stopped cause they make it a dangerous place to live.
“We can show the rest of the country that cannabis isn’t related to crime, but prohibition is. But people have to be discrete.”
You can meet John Holiday or Ziggy Musthava Spliff at Redcar Rugby Club on August 1st at Teesside Cannabis Clubs CannaCampFest.