Some pieces on drugs – March 2012

March 31, 2012

in Articles, Drug Policy

This blog seems to be getting a bit off-track on other stuff while I tone down my blogging in order to write my dissertation, so I should document some blog posts I posted on the Re:Vision Drug Policy Network recently:

Ending the drug war: what we’ve done and what we’re doing

In January 2011, I had a dream. A dream of a national organisation for young people focussed on a control and regulation model for drug policy. As it was a quite literal dream, I sat bolt upright in bed and started scribbling down everything I could remember. What did we want to do? How would that work? How on earth were we going to find volunteers, money, advice?
One year on, and as the Re:Vision Drug Policy Network’s first birthday passed largely unnoticed last week – we were too busy campaigning – we’re still asking ourselves those questions, but we do so with a base of volunteers stretching from Edinburgh to London, and even abroad. It has been hard work, but rewarding hard work.

Read More.

Please don’t send your stoner teenager to military school!

We were contacted recently by Major Momma, who runs a blog describing how she placed her sixteen year old son in military school last September because, as far as has been implied in her posts, she caught him smoking weed and being a grumpy teenager on his summer break. I have replied to her privately, but it also seemed somewhat important to comment publicly for the benefit of parents who may be considering similar measures.

Re:Vision Drug Policy Network neither condemn nor condone the use of drugs – we recognise that some people do use drugs, and we seek to mitigate the harmful consequences that drugs and the laws which regulate them can have. We fundamentally disagree that imprisoning your children in a military academy is in any way an appropriate solution to any concerns you may have over their drug use.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Educated Chappie April 5, 2012 at 5:48 pm

How on earth can you justify saying you are against Cannabis Prohibition ?

When you attack Clear, you attack the anti-prohibition movement.

If you spent one tenth of one percent of the effort you put into attacking the genuine reform movement at Clear into fighting Prohibition, the fight would have been over long ago.

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sarah April 5, 2012 at 6:07 pm

1. CLEAR does not make up even a majority of the cannabis reform movement, let alone the wider anti-prohibition movement. That you think so is one of the many good reasons that CLEAR must be publicly condemned – no cannabis party can call the police on its own members and claim any credibility.

2. I am flattered that my writing about CLEAR impresses you so much, but I assure you, I do not spend even one tenth of one percent of the time I devote to activism to reporting on CLEAR. If your barometer is Peter Reynolds, however, it is obvious why you would think why writing a few blogposts would somehow take up all my time and be of such earth-shattering significance to the cannabis law reform movement.

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Educated Chappie April 6, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Re:”no cannabis party can call the police on its own members and claim any credibility”

I think you will find it is really the other way round.

No credible political party would condone or allow illegal activities such as the joint acts of consumer terrorism that included stealing information in their membership database that they were in the position of trust of maintaining, and allowing the risk of this information falling into the wrong hands, as well as the and hacking their website.

What would you do if you had a membership base running into the thousands and a member in a position of trust someone stole this info? What would the UK420 Admin Do ? What would Re:Vision do? What would Ukcia do ?

Clear does not condone breaking the law. If it did then it would not have any credibility, and would not have been mentioned in roughly half of the written responses to the Home Affairs Committee Enquiry On Drugs Written evidence.

Clear is about making a change to our existing laws by legitimate means.

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sarah April 7, 2012 at 11:36 am

1. CLEAR doesn’t have membership base of thousands, it has a membership of 700. The 10,000 number that Peter is bandying about includes CLEAR Facebook likes, which is ridiculous.

2. It wasn’t “stolen”. CLEAR have poor data security, it’s not a case of anyone “hacking” the website as Peter claims. Re:Vision’s membership data is held securely and offline, only the Volunteering Coordinators have access to it, and anyone else who wants to see it has to make a special request.

3. For that reason, I would be embarrassed to publicise that fact. If one of Re:Vision members had taken control of our website, I would have done what Peter actually did underneath all the legal huffing and puffing, and that would be to contact the registrar and hosting company to demonstrate ownership. He didn’t get the website back because the police told Chris Bovey to give it back. There’s a reason that Peter has suddenly stopped talking about police investigations and high court action, and that will be because both of them told him that he has no case whatsoever, just like he didn’t have a case against me, and he didn’t have a case against all of the other people that he has threatened. For heaven’s sake, he’s tried to charge three people with conspiracy for nothing more than the fact that he had screenshots of them being in a Facebook conversation! Did you ever think that was going to stick?

4. There is a difference between “condoning breaking the law” and “refusing to turn law-breakers into the police” and also “calling the police on your own membership for absurd and imaginary crimes and then publicising that fact” as if it’s something to be proud of. There’s a reason that Peter’s finally had to call a vote of no confidence, and as far as I can work out from the CLEAR Facebook comments, it was because he started grassing up known medical cannabis users and even his supporters condemned him for it.

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sarah April 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm

A bizarre comment has been left on Peter Reynolds’ blog by Educated Chappie saying that my “true colours” have been shown:

“True colours from Sarah McCulloch ” CLEAR does not make up even a majority of the cannabis reform movement, let alone the wider anti-prohibition movement ” . . . ” CLEAR must be publicly condemned “.

Source: http://www.sarahmcculloch.com/blog/2012/03/31/blog-pieces-written-drugs/

I gues she must have missed reading the published copy of the Home Affairs Committee Drugs Enquiry Written evidence.”

I haven’t read the Written evidence yet because I only finished my dissertation yesterday, so I don’t feel qualified to comment specifically on that point that Educated Chappie has raised in at least three places so far, but I will note that if half of the 300 submissions referenced CLEAR, that’s still only 150 people, and that doesn’t indicate membership. The stated number of members of CLEAR is 700 – the Free Winston Facebook group has 2,419 members, CannabisCureUK has 2,590 followers, the Legalise Cannabis UK Facebook group has 4,456 members, and that doesn’t begin to count all the members of groups like Release, the ISCD, UK members of ENCOD etc. This doesn’t mean that those people are all active campaigners, but it does give you an indication of the kind of numbers of British-based activists (a significant proportion of CLEAR’s Likes are from abroad, which is partly why their 9,000 followers on Facebook doesn’t translate into actual members). And of course, there are three million cannabis users in the Britain, the majority of whom can be assumed to support the repeal of prohibition. And we can see from the Politics UK poll that when stoners are given the chance to endorse CLEAR led by Peter Reynolds, they split by a very large number against (the vote is currently at 462-42, I assume that some will be PoliticsUK followers, but running down the Yes list I can see a very large number of cannabis users/activists).

So I won’t claim that I have concrete evidence for what was a casual statement made in a comment, but political party membership *is* a minority pursuit for any issue, and I think it is a reasonable claim that CLEAR’s market share of the cannabis activists out there is well under 50%. But my point in saying that at all was to point out that CLEAR != the cannabis law reform movement and that it is foolish to claim that the entire movement would collapse if one constituent group vanished. What we as activists are promoting is a set of ideas, and those ideas will continue beyond the structure of any single organisation, whether that’s the LCA, CLEAR, the UKCSC, THC4MS, UKCIA, all the secret movements to supply medical users with cannabis etc.

And as a drug law reform activist, I will condemn any group which frivolously calls the police on its members, knowing that they use cannabis medicinally and that they have past convictions for growing. It is disgraceful that a cannabis party would endorse this position, and that its supporters would defend it. As I’ve said to Educated Chappie before, there’s condoning law-breaking, and there’s politely not calling the police on people who have serious, chronic medical conditions who illegally use cannabis as the only way of treating their pain. I’m very confused that this stance seems incredible to some CLEAR members (to their credit, most seem appalled) – does that not seem obvious?

P.s. I realise that some people have been informed that the people who have been reported to the police have committed serious crimes, but the only evidence Peter Reynolds has given for that is screenshots taken by Mark Palmer of a Facebook conversation that, if you read it, exonerates most of the people reported.

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