NORML UK AGM 2014 Weekend line up of speakers from organistions including LEAP UK, FAC in Spain, NORML UK Women´s Alliance and SSDP Ireland. Also information and trailers from upcoming documentaries Bud Buddies: Project Storm, GrassRoots: The Cannabis Revolution, The Culture High and The 41st Shade.
Compiled by Jo Martin-Moss
During the NORML UK AGM, which takes place from 10am on Saturday 31st May at the Malcolm X Centre in Bristol, you will hear from NORML UK board members with reports of the past years activities, and also any proposals for changes, affirming and voting of board officers, and any other business which is raised by our members. Also the opportunity to formally ask questions of the board.
Further details and tickets: NORML UK AGM WEEKEND TICKET LINK
Our line up of guest Speakers starts on Saturday afternoon with
Martin Barriuso Alonso
Martin Barriuso Alonso has a degree in philosophy and presides over the Cannabis Social Club Pannagh in Bilbao. Pannagh is one of the first CSC opened in Spain and actually it’s been preventitively closed by a court decision. Barriuso also represents the Federation of Cannabis Users’ Associations (FAC), the main cannabis users’ organization in Spain. He was a member of the Advisory Board of Drug Addiction of the Basque Country and has participated in numerous international fora on drugs and drug policy, as the United Nations’ Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS), the World, Latin-American and European Social Fora, the Civil Society Forum on Drugs of the European Union, and many others. He took part in different parliamentarian initiatives to regulate cannabis in various countries and advised Uruguayan government on CSCs during the legalization process.
Barriuso has collaborated in various broadcast and print media, and is author or co-author of eight books and over two hundred articles on cannabis and other substances, risk reduction and drug policy. Founder of Ai laket!!, an association of drug users on risk reduction, he was responsible for the implementation of one of the first substance testing services in Spain.
Martin will also be taking part in the UKCSC AGM and Workshop on Sunday morning.
Jason Reed – LEAP UK and The Culture High
Jason Reed is the UK Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – LEAP UK. Jason has also blogged for the Huffington Post UK edition since its launch and has written analysis, interviews and comment pieces for various sites including Politics.co.uk. 2014 sees the release of the long awaited cannabis documentary, The Culture High; Jason Associate Produced this highly anticipated film which features the leading figures in UK and global drug policy.
George Wilkins – Bud Buddie, Project Storm
In June 2002, tucked away in the depths of the University of Madrid’s biochemistry building an inconspicuous event took place that would shape the future of cancer treatment over the coming decades. It wasn’t planned; in fact it was down to the pure chance that 2 separate research teams, focusing their lives on separate challenges were joined by the curiosity of a young professor. He was Manuel Guzman, whose lab researching the medicinal values of cannabis was the taboo neighbour of the much larger cancer research department. As he explains looking back upon that day, what he did was down to nothing more than base curiosity. He took pure THC, one of the active principles within cannabis, and added it to a petri dish containing aggressive cancer cells simply because “I wanted to see what would happen”…
Ten years later, as countries across the world change their laws on cannabis the laws in the United Kingdom remain unchanged. However, in those 10 years Professor Manuel Guzman and his team’s ideas have evolved from his finding on that day and have proved that in animal models cannabis has potent anti cancer properties that result in the death of highly aggressive tumour cells of many cancers.
With cancer on the increase globally we have begun to form a queue where we are told by medical science to wait our turn, and at the end of the line 1 in 3 take the cancer ride. Many people accept this fate and console themselves to live out their days in peace with family; others fight to their last breath arming themselves with everything conventional medicine has to offer. However, some take things into their own hands and start searching for something more, something that can offer a shred of hope when facing such a certain end, something buried beneath nearly a century of mis-education and prohibition. This is the story of six of these people, and what they found.
While the team in Madrid passed the years in the labs an underground movement began to gather both pace and credibility. Films like ‘run from the cure’ inspired hundreds and then thousands of people to do more than just nod curiously as paper after paper were released in scientific journals highlighting the anti-cancer action of cannabiniods. As The Internet enabled the sharing of knowledge, social media created hubs of information and shared stories, and cannabis breeders began to shift their efforts to develop new strains grounded in science. The organisation Bud Buddies, after 15 years of providing cannabis to sick people, switched their attention to cancer. Four years of underground research has passed, they have worked with countless people, endured several court cases, and numerous convictions for supplying cannabis to those who need it.
This film ‘Project Storm’ documents the culmination of this work and reflects the Bud Buddies attitude that ‘actions speak far louder than words’.
George Wilkins will be talking about and showing the Bud Buddies: Project Storm trailer. After a chance meeting with a cancer patient in a friends health shop back in 2012, George, a sociology student turned film maker returned home to research if the patients requests for cannabis oil to fight his cancer had any weight to them. What he found was a vast amount of credible evidence from all over the world that cannabis has potent anti cancer properties that go far beyond simply treating the pain. It was the combination of this evidence and the lack of public knowledge about it that inspired this documentary project. After learning about the work of Bud Buddies UK through online research George approached Jeff Ditchfield to discuss their work and over a weekend at Spannabis 2013 Bud Buddies: Project Storm was born.
The project explores the reasons that led 6 cancer patients and their families to pursue treating themselves with cannabis oil and asks on their behalf “will cannabis kill my cancer”. It follows them on their journey, but also goes into detailed exploration of the science behind their choices by visiting the labs that underpin the research they have read. It explores UK based GW Pharmaceuticals, clinical trials, and through those actively growing their own medical cannabis we delve into the impact that British law can have on its people. Bud Buddies made all the cannabis oil available for free, providing so far over 500g of lab tested oil to those in project storm. Everyone in this film (apart from children and parents) has decided to appear as themselves, to show the world their belief that following the evidence to save your life should not make you a criminal
Until recently Bud Buddies: Project Storm has been entirely self funded, however they now need your financial support to complete the remaining sections of the documentary exploring the science and strain development, and the final edit itself. They also need your voices to spread the word about a film that will help countless people across the world. Please help them by sharing their page. Donate to Bud Buddies Project Storm
Dale Beaumont- Smith will be talking about and showing a trailer for GrassRoots: The Cannabis Revolution.
Dale Beaumont-Smith is an independent filmmaker and the Managing Director of Elixir Media Production based in Norwich, UK. He has been making films professionally for 7 years and has made a career out of human interest and human rights films.
GrassRoots: The Cannabis Revolution is a feature-length documentary that explores the world of medical cannabis consumers and activists. Spanning The USA, The Netherlands, Spain, and the UK; this new, documentary follows the trials and tribulations of a sub-culture trying to reform the current cannabis laws in the United Kingdom. .
Ciarán Maher will be speaking on behalf of SSDP Ireland.
Ciarán is from Dublin and is currently a Bachelor of Arts Student at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He attended the 2014 United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna and has played an integral role in a number of recent Students Union referenda in Galway.
SSDP Ireland is one of several countries of the International Students for Sensible Drug Policy organisation which was founded in the United States over 16 years ago. SSDP is a grassroots network of students who are dedicated to informing students about drug prohibition and training the next generation of drug policy reformers. There are currently three official SSDP Chapters in Ireland with three more currently being applied for.
Michelle X –
Diagnosed with MS in 1989 Michelle, who changed her surname by deed poll in 2005, has been using cannabis to ease her MS symptoms for the past 15 years, after 10 years of prescription pharmaceuticals. Whilst her daughter was young Michelle had no option but to buy her cannabis from street dealers, as she felt that growing her own at home may well put her daughters custody in jeopardy. Things changed as her daughter got older and left home, Michelle started to grow her own. Like many people, Michelle did not get involved with public cannabis activism until she was busted in March 2013 and charged by the police with cannabis cultivation. Her 28 plant grow was referred to as a cannabis farm. Michelle had her application and appeal application for Sativex denied, even though it is approved to treat muscle spasticity in patients with MS, such as Michelle.
Michelle told me that she had kept an eye on certain activists, including Clark French, whom she knew through Action4MS, as MS is a chronic condition with which they both suffer She went on to to tell me “ I didn´t get involved, I just grew my own. Besides the 28 plants I had 60grams of dried buds in jars, all of which was taken. The police also took bags of trimmings but didn’t seem to know what they were or their significance”. Michelle also had thousands of pounds worth of growing equipment confiscated. Ready to see this through to a crown court trial, Michelle was booked in to court room 1 and the next thing she knew the CPS had offered her a simple street caution. Which she accepted. Since then Michelle has had her story published in local and national newspapers, and has joined numerous NORML and CSC protest events across the UK. Recently agreeing to become spokesperson for the newly formed NORML UK Women´s Alliance, Michelle will be speaking at the conference, sharing her experiences of cannabis, MS and prohibition, before delivering the launch speech on behalf the Women´s Alliance.
If you have not already booked your ticket then there are a variety of ticket options available.
Jo Martin-Moss is Deputy Director of NORML UK and founder of the NORML UK Women´s Alliance.