By Phil Monk
I’m a 39-year-old Shropshire lad, raised in North Wales, now living in the heart of wonderful Wiltshire. I’m also a non-practicing teacher of Spanish, literacy, ESOL & numeracy, a husband and father of three, and now a cannabis activist disabled by chronic myofascial pain from joint hypermobility syndrome, bilateral ulnar impaction syndrome, and depression. I’d used cannabis in secret, like so many, from the age of 16. I thought I was just another “pothead”.
Now, after four years of extensive reading, I realise this was to manage my PTSD from childhood abuses. 19 years later in 2014, after suffering the life-threatening side effects from prescribed Pharma drugs, including a brain hemorrhage, mini-stroke and two cancer scares, I came smashing out of the “cannabis closet” on a quest for social change, first for “medicinal cannabis”, and now for freedom and equality for all our cannabis community. After a spur-of-the-moment decision in March 2018, I am now the founder and representative of a new community group called We The Undersigned Have a Human Sovereign Right to Cannabis, aka WTU. Please look us up and join.
My WTU Facebook group has grown to 3100+ members in seven months and we are actively seeking the end of cannabis prohibition laws, seeking equality in society and law with the consumers of the poisonous, highly toxic recreational drugs alcohol and nicotine. That would be the right and freedom to grow cannabis at home, to prepare and share with friends, lawful access to licensed cannabis vendors with venues for the enjoyment and appreciation of cannabis in celebration of our diverse community, music, culture and arts.
I live in rural Wiltshire. Swindon is my nearest town. Having moved around, I can say it is much like many, once affluent, British industrial towns. There is extreme wealth and extreme poverty. It is a bustling New Town centre and traditional Old Town, catering for most tastes and desires. Some would say both are blighted by the large homeless community and many vacant commercial properties.
The contrast in wealth and poverty, industry and agriculture is stark at times, being surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres of picturesque rolling hills of arable fields, painted yellow with maize and rapeseed through parts of the year. Considering that one acre of uncapped THC cannabis has a potential value of £6 million, the potential for local wealth to flourish here is phenomenal! Extreme poverty, homelessness and unemployment could be vastly alleviated, if only cannabis were wholeheartedly embraced.
Too many people have been sacked or evicted for using an alternative to the state-sponsored and only lawfully available recreational drug, alcohol. Cannabis is safer than alcohol and pharma drugs, even under prohibition. People should have the freedom to make such health choices as to how they wish to relax or manage their health, well-being and happiness. This recreational drug discrimination must end and consumer equality for all brought to the fore, in order to reduce harms, respect human rights and protect future generations.
So I have a vision of a different future for all such towns as Swindon. The decriminalisation of our beliefs and practises, the end of canna-discrimination with no one arrested, evicted or sacked simply for using cannabis. Employment offered to currently clandestine cannabis cultivators and vendors to legitimise these entrepreneurs. Empty or derelict properties opened up for cafes, community centres and cultivation centres through the vast swathes of land.
Imagine Cannabis Community Culture Cafes, where members of the community could safely come to appreciate cannabis in all its wonderful forms, with areas for creative arts, music, workshops, education, support, compassionate company and the appreciation of the diversity of our oppressed cannabis community. A place where only organic grown cannabis is available, with full strain profiles, so those with particular needs can make better informed decisions about which strain suits their needs.
As I mentioned, cannabis saved me from PTSD at 16 years old. I would not have made it to 18 had I not been introduced to cannabis at 16, such was my suicidal depression from abuses. This leads me to believe a pragmatic response is needed for teenage cannabis use, to better protect them. As my 14 year old son said, “if they are going to get it anyway, better from somewhere it’s grown as safe as possible.”
We know biased MPs refuse to change the law, so this will all remain a dream unless local police adopt a pragmatic approach to cannabis and end the discrimination and persecution of the cannabis community.
Therefore, I believe that community cannabis awareness events are crucial to lift the blindfold of cannabis prohibitionist propaganda and misinformation, so I started speaking at public events. I recently supported the first AGM Cornwall Cannabis Social Club in Falmouth, where I shared my knowledge and experiences with their members and local community.
Unfortunately, my health prevents me from running my own club, but it would be great to support a local club in Swindon… the real question is: would you join?
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Swindon” and we will get you in touch with you regarding the first local meet.