How far away are we from not being punished?

By Des Humphrey

TODAY I sit on my sofa at 05:45 and take a look outside. It’s 26/06/2012 but it feels more like 26/11/2012, the rain is lashing down and it’s very windy. Longest day and all that! It seems and feels like winter even though it’s the summertime. My garden flowers have taken a hell of a kicking, but like me they will bounce back to reward the ones that need.

Des Humphrey

Campaigner and medicinal user of cannabis, Des Humphrey, wants to know when he can grow his medicine without fear of arrest or persecution.

I woke up this morning asking myself the same question as millions probably ask themselves every morning in the UK:

“When will we be able to consume and grow cannabis for personal use without fear of being arrested and criminalised?”

Some days I get so down on myself because I can’t find the answer out, sometimes the answer comes flooding to me but soon goes flashing by. I look at people as one. Not as race or where they live, but as humans. Take cars for example. There are thousands of different models that can hit this speed and turn that fast, but every car needs certain things to make them work and move. If a car has no wheels, it’s not going to get very far. If it has no engine, it’s going nowhere. If you don’t fuel it up, it’s staying put. Same sort of thing with a human: our inner bodies and minds all work the same. We all need our organs to work in order to survive, as well as keeping our minds healthy and active.

As a global community, we as humans have been divided, sectioned off, and had boundaries put in place by other humans who gave them the right to do this. In my eyes, I see that governments have been given these powers by me and you; these people in power have been put there by our good selves.

No matter where you go in the world a human is a human, but some are cleverer than others, so schools are set up to try and make us all clever. We are taught about things that are common knowledge, such as the world is round, the shiny things in the night sky are stars and other planets.  We are also taught right from wrong. Now, if a young human growing up wants to learn about science, they are taught basic science and many humans are taught similar things. When he or she passes their exams, earns their degrees, and becomes a scientist, that’s when they really begin to learn.

Or is it?

In America there are 17 states where doctors can recommend cannabis for medical treatment, and these state governments recognise that herbal cannabis has medicinal values. So what is the difference between the USA and the good old UK? Do we breathe a different kind of air in the UK compared to the USA?

How can one government say cannabis has medicinal values and another government say it hasn’t? I just can’t get to grips with that, but let’s sit back a minute and think.

We have GW Pharmaceuticals who have obtained a special license to grow cannabis that was issued for scientific research. Then they start to supply parts of Europe with this cannabis spray, extracted from the same cannabis that we can all grow, and it has medicinal values.

Now I’m really baffled!

After listening to the likes of Sir Richard Branson giving evidence at the HASC (Home Affairs Select Committee) in January 2012, I am more than convinced (if I wasn’t before) that the market for cannabis in Britain should be regulated, and responsibility for drug policy moved from the Home Office to the health department http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/jan/24/cannabis-tax-branson-mps-virgin .

Also at the HASC in April 2012, comedian Russell Brand told MPs that taking drugs should not be seen as a criminal or judicial matter and that drug users should be shown more compassion . Prof. David Nutt testified in June of this year that alcohol consumption would fall by 25% if cannabis cafes were allowed . He also said, “The cost of policing cannabis use was only £500m a year, mainly for issuing possession warning notices, compared with the £6bn a year bill for policing the use of alcohol, including dealing with people who were drunk and disorderly.”

Prof. Les Iversen, chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, argued at the HASC that, “Giving young people a criminal record for cannabis possession could have a major impact on the rest of their lives.” He added, “There must be more creative ways of dealing with personal drug possession than a criminal record.”

So we have both the former and current chairmen of the ACMD both giving advice to the government about cannabis, but Home Secretary Theresa May refuses to listen, saying she is not interested in such an approach.

Theresa May

May refuses to change the record and insists the current policies are working.

“I have a very tough view on drugs. That view is informed by people I speak to who have seen the damage the drugs have done to people in their family,” she said at a lunch for journalists at Westminster. “I think there are far too many people who think drugs are something you can do without it having an impact, but it does have an impact.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/jun/19/theresa-may-drugs-adviser-penalties

Ms. May, your apparent unwillingness to form coherent and beneficial governmental policy has much more of an impact. We find it difficult to believe you care about the well-being of your constituents, because it’s clear from your political record that you refuse to listen to your advisers. Your insistence that you will not entertain alternatives to criminalisation suggests that you are more committed to a failed ideology than to the health and safety of the British public.

Take cover, Prof. Iversen, or you may end up like Prof David Nutt: sacked for telling the truth.

So where do we go from here?

We must hold ourselves accountable for our own complicity. We have voted for politicians time and again who pursue the same failed drug policies, and now we must stand up and demand a new way forward. Politicians will not change their tack on drug policy until we create an environment in which they feel empowered to take bold steps. The most important thing we can do as individuals is to simply engage with the public in a constructive and positive way.  I have been on the streets lately to ask people questions about cannabis:

  1.  What do you know and think about cannabis?
  2.  Do you know of any campaigns to change laws about cannabis?
  3. Do you know of any legal cannabis producing facilities?
  4.  Now what do you know and think about cannabis?

Out of all the people who have the time to stop and chat about these four simple questions, it made me realise that even cannabis consumers could use a more thorough education. When it comes to which strains work best for which ailments, or making medicinal edibles, or even the least risky ways to consume cannabis, we all have a lot of work to do even within our own community. We need to support each other and share our knowledge so that we can provide reliable information to people who are just learning about cannabis.

But most of all, I was surprised to see that just a casual and friendly conversation was able to open people’s minds to the truth about cannabis. NORML UK is determined to provide space and opportunity for more of these conversations by hosting town hall meetings and networking with cannabis social clubs all over Britain. But you don’t need to wait for us to get the ball rolling! It’s got to be done by each of us, singing from the same hymn sheet, preaching the same truth. Get involved by delivering leaflets with a few mates around your local village, town, or city–going door to door if needed. Set up your own little stall with a table and some leaflets featuring facts about cannabis. We have to sing a chorus too loud to ignore!

Remember, for anything to grow and be successful we need to start from the beginning and work up. NORML UK is the seed, its members are the roots, and together we can grow a new way forward! Get involved and get started!

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21 Responses to “How far away are we from not being punished?”

  1. FocusonpeaceJune 27, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

    inspiring

  2. OrsonJune 28, 2012 at 7:15 am #

    Nice one Des :)

  3. Glyn WilliamsJune 28, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    Good stuff Des :)

  4. Happy ChapJune 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    “Out of all the people who stopped to chat…..”…… What? ALL of them? How many? Four? Fourteen? Enough to form a solid opinion? Enough to represent the majority opinion? .. Sorry Norml, but this is just so much hot air. Preaching to the choir songs they know well enough already. It contains nothing new at all. When will things change? Never. Not so long as the same people keep ‘reinventing’ themselves while paddling knee-deep in the same old tripe.

    • trevorJune 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

      Couldnt agree more. This is just plating in the nice safe sandpit. I fear we will have to wait for the yanks to free themselves. No one i have heard talk for normal clear etc have ever done the movement any good and i fear they have done harm. People need to stop making retarded claims like cannabis cures cancer lol and that it poses no harm when it clearly does. I will continue to use the herb and just wish we had some really players pushing the movement forward

      • Jamie MorganJune 28, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

        WHY ARE THE CLAIMS RETARDED,THERE IS EVIDENCE….???
        DES IS A TOP BLOKE AND SPEAKS FOR ME AND 1000S LIKE ME

      • outside_observerJune 28, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

        trials have proved it. some people need to educate before preaching me thinks trevor and look at someones point of view for what it is. if you have something you can dispute with factual evidence then by all means feel free. if you have nothing constructive to add or anything nice to say then maybe reconsider what you are posting. thanks for reading this and hopefully broadening your outlook on life. o_o

      • Pan DimensionalJuly 2, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

        “it poses no harm when it clearly does” The point is not that it poses no harm, it is that it is far far less harmful that the most popular legal drugs, and that is a hypocrisy. Or do you disagree with that too? And by the way, the evidence exists that it can kill cancer cells, just because you call it ‘retarded’ it does not diminish the evidence.

        The link I have posted below is an article from Science Daily (an independent magazine which highlights current scientific research) within about 30 seconds of internet searching. The article is called “Marijuana Cuts Lung Cancer Tumor Growth In Half, Study Shows”. The research was done at Harvard. Please try to open your mind to new ideas.

        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070417193338.htm

      • FocusonpeaceJuly 12, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

        Vast amount of anecdotal evidence suggests cannabis has anti – cancer properties.
        Vast amount of anecdotal evidence suggests cannabis oils destroy skin cancer. Yet in the lab its only been tested on mice, 75% of mice with tumours receiving cannabis oil had a significant reduction in tumour size, and astonishingly 25% ended up completely tumour free. Until fully legal scientists will find it hard for it to go from anecdotal evidence to scientific proof.

    • Glyn WilliamsJuly 1, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

      For a Happy Chap, you dont sound too happy,,.Obviously with your attitude you could not hope to change your pants regularly never mind the law,and it is hardly tripe ,unless the prohibitionists lies and propaganda goes unchallenged,Have you got a whole new idea that will get the law changed,if so …please divulge I would love to hear your “original” ideas to move the cause forward,What exactly did you expect from a newly formed pressure group?,to get the law changed in their first month maybe?

      • Happy ChapJuly 2, 2012 at 11:11 am #


        Obviously with your attitude you could not hope to change your pants regularly never mind the law”… Typical NORML insult. Way to make friends and influence people. LOL. Any what, pray tell, have you achieved?

    • Pan DimensionalJuly 2, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

      I’m sure you could have expressed what you needed to say in a positive way, maybe come up with some ideas of your own, instead of just being patronising.

  5. Iam MongoBongoJune 29, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    I research, read, read and read until my eyes bleed, while I am asking myself the question why dont people see through the propoganda and the political influence… I believe that our movement is gaining traction, as more and more news stories are posted. Because the reality is, some people arent like us. They only believe something or start to realise, once they are spoon fed. For many years now, we have been (as a country) pushing the evils of drugs as a whole. Sadly that will leave an imprint on many a minds, because the media is powerful, and ultimately controls what these people think. Our words can leave a new imprint and shape the future. Well wrote Des.

  6. mackay1980July 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    Hardcore activist groups are a relativity new thing in the u.k, unlike the U.S who have had them for years. I have friends who I have spoken with who have used cannabis for years and there point of view was “It will never change, why bother? this sounds like some of the comments i have read on this page!! The thing is, through proper debate, education, research and motivation I have managed to change opinions and it wasn’t an over night thing. My point is given the time and the chance peoples opinions can change and org’s like norml should be at least given the chance and not slandered at the first hurdle, just look at the issues of porn, gay rights, VOTES FOR WOMEN!!!! all at one time were taboo or not legal and look at those things now, We can make change and we will

    • FocusonpeaceJuly 12, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

      I agree, and dislike the attitude some cannabis users have when they say ”why bother, it will never be legalised” and then list a few simplistic reasons why it wont.

      How can they be comfortable using cannabis without doing anything to support the cause? Either that or they have gave up hope when they say ”it will never be legal.”
      I reply with ”not with that attitude it wont”.

      • weedgieAugust 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

        I don’t think it will be legal any time soon, simply because the evidence is … well, evident! yet ignored.

        It isn’t the mind of the people that needs changed, at least not where I live where smoking is widely done and even more widely accepted among the general populace.

        Governments and big business (well, they are practically one in the same) are against it, and because of this no money is put into decent research or testing, thus they can pan off anything positive as “unsubstantiated”.

        That is not to say I will not educate people to the best of my ability when they only know lies and seem open minded enough. Anyone else and my breath would be wasted.

        In the words of Megadeth – “If there’s a new way, I’ll be the first in line… but it better work this time”

  7. amsterdambirdladyJuly 26, 2012 at 12:11 am #

    Although some states in the US have decriminlaized weed they lock people up for it & charge fines for small amounts. The federal government wants all the dispenseries shut down. They want the monopoly on the industry for the big pharma’s. I suspect that’s what their up to there.

  8. TerryAugust 8, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    Over grow the government these idiots haven’t got a clue stuck in the stonages with tunnel vision and out dated views these people are supposed to be educated obviously not bit two faced if you ask me selling the researched extracted Spray to other Country’s now to me that kind of thing stinks it has a value or it dosent! Do not contradicte what you say by doing the opposite and then profit from it but hey what do you expect from a government that allows its politicians to claim expenses for kit-kats totally out of touch with the modern world

  9. markOctober 3, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    We are a family of all organic medicinal cannabis patients and non profit care providers.
    ~=Our Goal=~
    To help teach the sick, handicapped and elderly to cultivate their own medicine
    To offer advice on what strains are the best for their own personal needs.
    To insure safe access to quality CLEAN ORGANIC cannabis is being obtained with minimal hassle and at a reasonable price from their local care providers, collectives and dispensaries.
    To UNITE like minded farmers and patients to stand as a force to be reckoned with against anyone who would attempt to take advantage of already vulnerable individuals.
    To pull back the curtain on the corruption that surrounds WHY Cannabis and Hemp is illegal.
    To Re-educate the masses on the benefits and multitude of uses of the Hemp/Cannabis plant.

  10. mikeOctober 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    surly u can impeach that idiot or something? if she is unwilling to listen to reason and just want to promote her own views then she is not mentally capable of doing her job

  11. MeeManJanuary 2, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

    Useless information… but interesting.
    1/ There is the Cancer Act 1939 stating it’s an offence to advertise a cure for cancer or make such a claim.
    2/ Bayer had the Copyrighted Trademarks for Aspirin and Heroin until it released these under the Treaty of Versailles. It still makes Aspirin.
    3/ Bayer now has the rights to distribute Sativex being that it’s in bed with GW Pharma.
    4/ The BBC reported some time ago that Aspirin may have anti-Cancer properties.
    5/ Cancer Researchers around the world have noted the anti-cancerous properties of Cannabis; especially CBD.
    6/ Sativex is nigh-on indistinguishable from Rick Simpson’s Hemp Oil
    7/ Rick Simpson used to his Hemp Oil to positively effect cancers of some people
    8/ The Home Office licence to GW Pharma is for “scientific research” only. The selling of concentrated cannabis is not allowed by law. Sativex is two cannabis plants dissolved in an alcohol and thus concentrated.
    9/ UK Government claims cannabis has no medicinal properties.
    10/ The UK Government prevents the BBC, or any other broadcasters, from claiming cannabis has anti-cancerous effects. It’s against the law to claim it’s a cure.
    11/ UK Government, GW Pharma and Bayer illegally make money from the sales of concentrated cannabis resin, sold as medicine.
    12 It is not unlawful to grow or use the cannabis plant. No licence can be given to break a law. It is illegal to grow or sell parts of the cannabis plant, without licence. Know the difference between Lawful and Legal.
    13/ UK Government lies for money.

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