Peter Reynolds is the leader of CLEAR – Cannabis Law Reform, a political party which formed from the ashes of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance. He was elected in February 2011, and believes that he is some kind of messianic saviour of the cannabis legalisation movement. To say that others dispute this is something of an understatement.
In January 2012, someone sent me an article on Peter Reynolds’ personal blog in which he had claimed that the trend in size 0 models had come about because the modelling industry is “infected” with gay men who have no “appreciation” for womanly figures. On being called out on this, he amended the article to state that he stood by it 100% and that homosexuality was a “perversion”.
As both an LGBT activist and a drug law reformer, I wrote a blogpost condemning this. As Peter Reynolds, responding to the controversy, was claiming that nobody cared that he was a homophobic racist bigot, I published screenshots I had been sent that showed a dozen MPs deleting him from Facebook after being notified of his comments about gay people.
At that point, the Mail on Sunday got involved and started interviewing people to do an expose on Peter Reynolds in revenge for the dozens of Press Complaints Commission cases he had opened against them. The night before it was due to be published, Peter Reynolds got drunk and decided it would be a good idea to publish an outright and personal attack on me. The next day, he announced plans to sue me for defamation for the previous posts I had written about him. I called the police and started to search for a lawyer. Two weeks later, all references to me were removed from Peter Reynolds’ website.
I continued to blog on the leadership battle within CLEAR that continued to rage for three more months in order to keep people up to date, but after the mass exodus of Executive members to form NORML UK in May 2012, I attempted to lay the matter to rest, writing this overview article and assuming that Peter Reynolds, bereft of colleagues, funds and credibility, would go away and stop abusing and bothering cannabis activists. This has been the only thing about which I have been wrong.
In December 2012, Peter Reynolds began to issue legal threats against myself and three others which we ignored. In February 2013, he filed lawsuits for defamation against all of us in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court. In January 2014, his case against Chris Bovey was struck out and he was ordered to pay Chris’ costs, which, as of August 2016, Peter Reynolds is still evading. In my case, after 18 months of legal battle, Peter Reynolds chose to settle with me just before a date was to be set for trial. Proceedings were concluded in September 2014.
Peter Reynolds continues to make offensive statements about the cannabis community, whom he by now thoroughly despises for not recognising him as the god he considers himself, as well as from time to time trying to undermine NORML UK by making grandiose or contradictory claims. I still blog about the most egregious of these statements, like the time he claimed we were breaking the law for publishing an article from a cancer survivor who believed cannabis had cured him, even though he had claimed cannabis cured cancer numerous times in the last twelve months. Or his effort to undermine NORML UK’s efforts to highlight the unfairness that a UK resident cannot import herbal cannabis but a non-UK resident can, by claiming that UK residents *can* legally import herbal cannabis, a stance he has maintained even when I obtained a formal statement from the Home Office that he was wrong and anyone following his advice could be arrested, and one of his party members was subsequently detained at an airport and given a written warning.
CLEAR was deregistered as a political party in 2015 and registered as a limited company. After the second set of CLEAR Executive members resigned en masse in 2016, Peter Reynolds, finally in absolute control of everything, appears to be embarking on some kind of for-profit cannabis growing scheme in the UK, which he maintains is totally legal and isn’t at all going to get him and everyone he’s working with prosecuted for cultivation. We await the outcome with bated breath.
TL;DR: Peter Reynolds is not just a man of appalling judgement and abysmal sense of politic, but someone who is actively attempting to undermine the British cannabis campaign and threatening the safety of cannabis users, and this must be challenged.
* Can Cannabis Cure Peter Reynolds? – August 2012, published after Peter Reynolds criticised NORML UK for posting an article asserting that cannabis can cure cancer, despite having asserted the same claim himself numerous times in the preceding year.
* Peter Reynolds and the Investigative Journalist Who Never Was – January 2013, published after Peter Reynolds tried to get a group I am associated with into trouble with Manchester Trading Standards. (A special shoutout goes out to the comments of this article, in which Derek Williams, the Webmaster of CLEAR, has a complete meltdown over a repost of a comment he had made elsewhere.)
* Peter Reynolds and His Lawsuits – A Short Statement – April 2013
* About CLEAR and that “Legal Medical Cannabis” claim… – October 2013, an examination of Peter Reynolds and Derek Williams’ efforts to claim that CLEAR had managed to find a way to achieve legal medical cannabis in Britain, to the great disbelief of most medical cannabis users.
* Peter Reynolds took me to court for libel and Peter Reynolds has lost – December 2013. I win my court case on a technicality and have a thing or two to say about it.
* Peter Reynolds loses another lawsuit: an interview with Chris Bovey – January 2014. Chris doesn’t have his own blog, so he used mine to explain what had been happening with him for the last year.
* Peter Reynolds and His Lawsuits – Another Short Statement – April 2014, in which the court case was reinstated on another technicality, I finally met Peter Reynolds face-to-face for the first time, hugely embarrassed him, and he immediately went home and wrote a massive number of lies about it to save face, forcing me to publicly embarrass him some more by explaining what had actually happened.
Shortly after this, we settled out of court and signed a gagging order for twelve months, after which Peter Reynolds largely gave up attacking either me, my friends, my friend’s lawyers, and the organisations we were part of, and I thus have had no reason to blog since.
As I have several hundred pages of documentation and screenshots of evidence, I do intend to eventually write a book about my experiences. Provisionally entitled Cannabis and Conmen, I’ve written 20,000 words to date but I’m waiting for technology to catch up with Facebook so I can access the remaining evidence I need to finish the story.
Articles by others:
* Campaign Demanding the Resignation of Peter Reynolds as Leader of the UK Political Party CLEAR – an exhaustive resource covering every aspect of Peter Reynolds’ leadership of CLEAR.
* UK Cannabis Group Made Unauthorized Withdrawals From Members’ Bank Accounts – an expose of CLEAR’s repeated refusal to refund former party members who had been unknowingly set up with annual direct debits.
* Peter Reynolds rants about “The Obnoxious People of Bovingdon” – An article in the Watford Observer about Peter Reynolds’ repeated public insults to the village of Bovingdon.
* Medical magazine editor has charges dropped – An article from the Watford Observer about how Peter Reynolds was imprisoned on remand for three months in 2002 while awaiting trial for twice assaulting his girlfriend. Peter Reynolds, I should point out in fairness as he was never convicted, maintains that the charges were dropped because the forensic evidence showed she battered him with a baseball bat.
* Peter Reynolds – Denzil White Transcript – a transcript of a phone call between Peter Reynolds and someone calling himself an aspiring journalist.
* Peter Reynolds, Peter Lunk and “Legal Medical Cannabis” – When someone tried to confront Peter with my article about his legal medical cannabis claims, he had them blocked from Facebook and then got Flickr to take down an image of the conversation. So I preserved it.
* Peter Reynolds In His Own Words – a blog which consists solely of screenshots of Peter Reynolds insulting a wide range of public figures and cannabis activists.
* Peter Reynolds: Resign as leader of the UK political party CLEAR – a petition calling on Peter Reynolds to resign with over 300 signatures.
* “Following the recent controversies surrounding CLEAR, do you think Peter Reynolds should stand down and call fresh elections for the leadership of CLEAR?” – a Facebook poll by Politics UK which currently has over 500 votes for Peter Reynolds to resign.
* “Peter Reynolds gets sacked from CLEAR” – a Downfall parody of Peter Reynolds. Oh, and then there’s this:
Also this (NB: Peter Reynolds admits using “evil Jews” in the article below when he denied it in the one above):