By Chris Bovey
A look back at the year in which NORML came to Britain.
Cardiff 420 Global Marijuana March
May 5th 2012 the Global Cannabis March hit the streets of Cardiff to protest against prohibition of cannabis and the unjust laws that discriminate and criminalise those who choose to have cannabis a part of their lives. Over 1,000 people attended the event organised by Des Humphrey and the Welsh Cannabis Social Clubs.
NORML UK is launched.
Howard Marks formerly launches NORML UK at the Global Marijuana March in Cardiff. NORML UK was founded by a group of activists concerned there was no credible cannabis campaign in the UK, so they contacted NORML in the USA to ask if it was possible to set up a British branch of NORML. The Americans agreed and NORML UK was born.
NORML is the oldest and largest cannabis campaign group in the world.
NORML UK web site launched
NORML UK contacts all Primary Care Trusts to ask about availability of Sativex, the legal high-strength cannabis tincture that is prescribed to patients in some parts of the country depending on where they live.
NORML UK gets national media attention in the Independent newspaper.
NORML UK announces plans to contact all candidates in the forthcoming elections for the first Police and Crime Commissioners to canvass their views on cannabis law reform.
NORML UK’s Clark French receives national television coverage with a two minute spot on Channel 4’s 4thought.tv talking about how he uses cannabis as a medicine to alleviate the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.
A major independent study called for the decriminalisation of cannabis. The publication of a six-year-study from the UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC) likened cannabis use to “moderately risky” gambling or junk food.
Clark French achieves more publicity for NORML UK with an appearance on BBC1’s Sunday Morning Live show.
Long term cannabis campaigner Des Humphrey is appointed Executive Director of NORML UK, with Clark French as deputy.
Our friends at NORML USA make real progress in cannabis law reform. Voters in Colorado and Washington made history by approving ballot measures allowing for the personal possession and consumption of cannabis by adults. Washington’s law, which removes criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use (as well as the possession of up to 16 ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form, and 72 ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form), took effect on December 6. Colorado’s law, which allows for the legal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and/or the cultivation of up to six cannabis plants in private by those persons age 21 and over, took effect on December 10. Regulators in both states are now in the process of drafting rules to allow for state-licensed proprietors to commercially produce and sell cannabis.
Meanwhile, in 2012, laws are liberalised in Czech Republic, Switzerland and Uruguay proposes to be the first country to formerly “legalise” the sale of cannabis through licensed State outlets.
In the Netherlands the new Dutch government finally ditches the hated “weedpass” scheme that would have banned non-Dutch citizens from purchasing cannabis from the country’s famous coffeeshops. Cannabis hero Nol Van Schaik proclaimed, “we don’t a weed pass, we want to pass weed.”
NORML UK holds its first public meeting attended by former Chief Constable, Tom Lloyd. NORML UK announces it is putting the finishing touches to its planned Bedrocan stunt to bring over Dutch medicinal cannabis patients to legally spark up outside Parliament, as they can under the Schengen Agreement, together with British patients who have similar conditions yet are denied access to the medicine they need by the British Government.
Commons Home Affairs Select Committee calls for a royal commission on Britain’s failing drugs laws.
Des Humphrey, Executive Director of NORML UK said: “I’m very proud of what NORML UK has achieved in such a short time. We have built the foundations for a successful cannabis campaigning organisation and I look forward to our forthcoming campaigns in 2013, as we build the most successful cannabis campaign Britain has ever seen. In the meantime, I should like to take this opportunity to wish all our supporters a Happy New Year.
“My body, my mind, my disability, my pains, our recreational reason, our spiritual belief, our plant, our meds, let’s make 2013 a NORML year!”