Yesterday, marijuana.com reported that Poland is continuing to push forward with its Medical Cannabis Bill. The bill, which was recently voted upon in the Lower House of Parliament in Poland voted overwhelmingly in favour of legalising the herb, with 440 voting in favour and just 2 voting against. Piotr Krzysztof Liroy-Marzec, a member of parliament and author of the Medical Cannabis Bill has stated that whilst there is no set date, legalisation is expected to happen soon.
“Parliament adopted the amendment [today], now we are waiting for the President,” said Marzec. “I’m hoping that is next week. I’m trying to arrange a meeting with the President on Monday or Tuesday to talk about it.”
The bill does not specifically state which ailments or conditions patients can be prescribed medicinal cannabis for, only that those who have seen no positive response to traditional medications or treatments will be illegible to have it prescribed for them.
Poland are not currently set to permit the cultivation of cannabis, allowing for imports only from countries with legal access. However, parliament member Piotr Krzysztof Liroy-Marzec is said to be appealing that decision and is drafting another bill to allow for the national cultivation of cannabis.
This is yet more great news for our EU brothers and sisters, but unfortunately for recreational and medical patients in the UK we can only continue to look on in awe as yet another forward-thinking EU government legalises cannabis, while ours dig around their vintage 1970's sofas trying to find their original copy of Reefer Madness to school the masses.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has stated that cannabis will be made available to medical patients for a number of medical conditions. This makes Greece the sixth European country to legalise cannabis for medical use, putting them in line with Germany, and countries like Czech Republic, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain which already have legal medicinal cannabis.
The Prime Minister also announced that cannabis in the country will see its classification go from Table A - the equivalent of our Schedule 1 - to Table B, which is a class reserved for drugs with proven medicinal value like opium or methadone. This change means that cannabis will be officially recognised to have medicinal value. If someone could have him call May for a chat, that'd be great!.
Greece has a long history with medicinal cannabis, dating back nearly 2,500 years according to historical texts and had been cultivating the plant for its fibres for even longer than that. Despite this rich history Greece took a harsh view on cannabis and its punishments were harsh in comparison to other EU countries. They even went so far as to once arrest a woman for importing hemp powder.
If other countries that have legalised medicinal cannabis are anything to go by the Greece economy is about to get a very big boost. It is yet uncertain as to if Greece will eventually seek full legalisation for cannabis, only time will tell but at least they've popped a shoe in the dispensary door, so to speak.
“From now on, the country is turning its page, as Greece is now included in countries where the delivery of medical cannabis to patients in need is legal.” Mr Tsipras said at a press conference, as reported by the Greek Government Gazette.
If a once strict country like Greece can legalise cannabis for medicinal use, it really does make you wonder what has to happen in the UK for the current government to wake up!
After the success of last years exceptionally rushed 420 on the beach we tried hard to come back a bit stronger this year with a bit more time to play with and a growing team of enthusiastic and skilled volunteers. Each year protests and festivals are held all over the world on the 20th of April in the name of legalising cannabis for all reasons and to celebrate the good this incredible herb can and does bring every day. We aimed to do this by bringing you some music, cannabis information, community, and the chance to win some amazing raffle prizes that were generously donated to us by these amazing companies.
This morning the petition above hit 70k and just two days ago when I added my signature it was only at a reasonable 10k. The petition will receive a government response at just 10,000 signatures and at 100,000 will be put forward for the chance to be discussed in parliament.
It comes at a time when a handful of local police forces have publicly stated that they will no longer be prioritising cannabis crimes and instead will be using discretion amongst complaints and those found to be growing cannabis to differentiate between small medicinal grows and cash crops run by gangs. The one thing that kicked off this small wave of compassion from some local police forces was the very public announcement from Durham's Police Chief that they would no longer be wasting time on targeting small medicinal grows and those they come across will be dealt with using discretion.
All the evidence, both scientific and anecdotal, points to the regulation and legalisation of drugs to better tackle the harms caused when misused. The government's own specialist advisory teams have repeatedly advised that reform is the best option as it would save millions (if not billions), open up brand new industries previously controlled by drug cartels, and heal the damage that has been caused to our societies and countries by prohibition.
If you're for rational drugs policy and think it's high-time the UK took the grown-up and sensible approach to drugs policy, please sign and share this petition.
Following Marc Emery's recent release from a 5 year stint in federal prison in the United States for selling cannabis seeds, Marc and Jodie Emery kicked off with a small European tour that included Spain, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Manchester and, last but not least, London. If you are not aware of the Emerys, especially Marc, then you should really have a Google for the pair's work. In the pro-cannabis movement Marc Emery has made a name for himself and has earned himself the title of "The Prince of Pot" thanks to a documentary made about him and his (some may say) heroic actions to push forward legalisation. Here's a few links for you to check out if you can't be bothered to Google:
I was fortunate enough to be able to nab a ticket for the London event and a sofa at a good friends for the night so hopped on a coach for what might be a once in a lifetime event to see Marc and Jodie Emery talk live in London. The talk was being held at the London Imperial College and all tickets, including reserves, were sold out. I arrived at London Imperial College rather dishevelled and sweaty. It had been a very warm day and I'd travelled 5 hours from Swansea to London via coach, walked an hour from Victoria station to my friends to drop off my things, and stopping for a quick smoke before tubing it from Waterloo to South Kensington. I walked the rest of the way up to the Imperial College, and all in Skinny jeans I might add.
I started walking through the huge glass reception area of the college and asked the security person at the tiny desk in the corner where the talk was being held and he mumbled something about Sherfield building and to keep walking until a gift shop and then something about stairs. Here I met the lovely Beccy from Cannabis Quilt UK (an activist group creating a patchwork protest quilt to be taken to protests in the UK) who was also attending the talk and together we set off down the corridors, to the gift shop, down some stairs and nope wasn't down there. Eventually we found out it was in the next building and after heading downstairs in a lift and walking through a set of double doors that familiar sweet hazy smell hit me and I instantly knew I'd found it and that I was amongst friends. The corridor was filled with cannabis activists and enthusiasts from all over the UK.
The evening kicked off with Stuart Harper of Norml UK who gave the introductions throughout. The first speaker of the night was UKCSC's Greg De Hoedt talking about the Cannabis Social Clubs and the ideas and motivations behind them. There wasn't really anything new here for me as I am a member of a cannabis social club (duh!) and know how they work so I won't be going over the details of Greg's talk in this article (sorry Greg). For those that don't know about the cannabis social clubs you can checkout the UKCSC's website for more information or our own informational pages (coming soon). If you grow for yourself or just a few friends already you may want to check out the "Collectives" sections and see what a cannabis social club can do for you.
The Emerys were up next and they took a ladies first approach with Jodie taking the lead. Jodie looked bright and confident as she took her place at the front of the lecture theatre despite back to back travelling and talking across the UK and Spain. She began the tale of herjourney from naive prohibitionist to iconic cannabis and drug reform activist by starting off reminiscing of school and how she used to be a very straight
laced student that never did drugs and was even teacher's pet. Jodie's mind was pretty closed when it came to drugs. She believed everything the media had told her. When her friends started smoking cannabis she would be the friend that told them how bad it was for them and, wait for it, "it would ruin their lives or kill them". As you can imagine the room chuckled and groaned as the fact of the matter is that nobody has ever died from a cannabis overdose (it's proven to be near impossible) and only a small number of users suffer with addiction if at all (estimated at around 9% of users though physical addiction has never been proven). When you understand that addiction isn't the fault of the drug but of events in the users life that makes them feel they need to escape you also realise drugs do not ruin peoples lives but instead provide an escape for an already fractured life for a very small number of people. Knowing about all of Jodie's activism to date it's hard to picture her as this naive, teacher's pet that rarely questioned anything.
With Jodie spouting this nonsense to her cannabis smoking friends they began to get a little sick of it and started educating her about the truth about cannabis and introduced her to Marc Emery's Cannabis Culture magazine. She also began to notice it was her smarter friends in school that smoked the most and they were still hitting the high grades, unlike everything she had ever been told. The more she found out the more she was compelled to research. The deeper she went the more lies she found until she started questioning everything. This new open minded Jodie slowly became a cannabis activist and ended up meeting and joining Marc on his mission to legalise cannabis in Canada.
She talked more about the political side to her activism , about learning to interact with our oppressors, and to talk and open dialogues with them when possible. She talked of her experiences of when she had to be a part of a drug reform panel with the very Judge that sentenced Marc finally and how nerve-racking it was for both of them but what needs to be understood is that we're all held to these laws and that law enforcement face their own fears and fights too if they don't follow current law. The Judge in question ended up siding with reform in the end and both him and Jodie ended up on the same panel while Marc was still in prison. Everybody is scared and have things they care about they are trying to protect. She told how when he had to greet her he was incredibly awkward and blurted out "I didn't know your husband" as he had to shake her hand and that she told him it was OK and that he had to do what he had to.
Jodie also talked about another thing that is important and that's about tailoring the facts you use to your audience. So far mostly what I've seen from some UK activist groups is non-targeted campaigning. So far it's been just general protests in very public areas with little direction. We should be focusing on educating the public so that they care and to do this we need to tackle certain audiences. A big one in the US that helped win in most states is by targeting mothers. Mothers should be some of the most interested parties in the legalisation of cannabis for a number of reasons and Jodie made some of them very clear in her example. She began talking about cannabis' benefits and some of the amazing things that it's responsible for and one of those things being it showing huge promise when it comes to treating cancer. It sounds crazy but it's true and proven. There are a number of studies showing cannabis successfully treating cancer in cultured cells and in mice as well as a growing number of living cases that have successfully treated their cancer with cannabis. It's also used to help combat nausea, pain and lack of appetite from chemotherapy in the US and Israel which has been showing an improvement in patient success rates. This is a very important point that everybody needs to know and should be asking about but her point was this, if a mother comes to you concerned at a protest or event and says "My son is smoking cannabis, I'm so worried for his health, what should I do?" responding with "Oh it can cure cancer, it's harmless" isn't going to help the mother or help her see your point of view. Instead you may take the opportunity to give her facts that are relevant to her and the situation like "The risk and damage of a criminal record will have more of a negative impact on her sons life and health than cannabis could or that prohibition forces him to interact with hardened criminals which again is far more dangerous than actually smoking weed".
She also said something which I think some people could maybe take heed of in the UK as, to me, it seems to makes sense. It was along the themes of interacting with our oppressors and about when legalisation does come around in whatever rudimentary form it may be, we should take it, always take it, and then push for more. I've seen a lot of articles and people chewing the fat in the comments on a lot of articles and facebook posts saying that we shouldn't be pushing for medicinal first as in the states it's been being pushed for more than 20 years and only 2 states now have legal recreational cannabis and they're still not up to even half of US states having medicinal cannabis yet. I'm not sure of the logic here. People who smoke solely for recreational purposes can choose whether to break the law or not and choose whether to use an illegal substance as their high of choice. Medicinal users, genuine medicinal users, do not have a choice. Often cannabis works better than their prescribed medications and means most patients can replace multiple medications with nasty side effects for a single more efficient medication with nice side effects which isn't toxic for your body either. Sick people don't have a choice so of course medicinal first is the most sensible, especially if it's the most likely to be listened to as well. There is absolutely no sense in standing against any form of legalisation or decriminalisation as any form will mean less ruined lives from the outset and then we continue to push and work with the government and law makers to make legalisation work for us. We made the initial steps happen, we can make the rest too. Regardless of how much we don't like the intricate details of any form of legalisation, as long as people are no longer going to be arrested, it should be taken and then we continue fighting until the laws are reasonable for us all. Stopping as much suffering as possible is always the first port of call.
Jodie's talk was inspiring and it was amazing to be able to hear her talk in person. The whole talk was both interesting and entertaining and I think we could learn from some of the things she talked about and use them to help make our fight in the UK that little bit stronger. She rounded off with saying is it better if we let the government place the stepping stones of prohibition alone or if we talk to them and we help them lay the stones? I'm paraphrasing of course. My note taking that evening left something to be desired but my memory remembered Jodie's points if not everything word for word.
Here a smoke break was much needed and many went off for a 10 minute smoke break before coming back for Marc's talk but looking at the length of this article I'll split the two talks in to two articles. This will be part 1 and Marc's talk can be found here in part 2. So what do you think about some of the things Jodie had to say with regard to drugs policy and politics? Do you think we should be working with the authorities to push for change? Do you think medical first is the right approach? Should we be targeting our campaigns more rather than trying to get the public interested as a whole?
If so, we'll see you there!
So, who's excited for this event? I know we are and hopefully it will be bigger than last years.
For those that don't know about the event, here's a little information for you.
The Cardiff Global Cannabis March is a protest demonstration being held by Cardiff CSC, UKCSC and Norml UK to help stand against prohibition, educate the public on the facts about cannabis and push for change. The march is to start at Cathays Park behind City Hall in Cardiff. From there the march will make it's way to Hamadryad Park for final celebrations and talks which the hosts are hoping will include stalls for you to peruse and, according to the poster, a BBQ and drinks. The confirmed speakers for the day are:
- Clark French Medical Campaign Director - NORML UK
- Pippa Bartolotti - Wales Green Party Leader
- Richard Smith Club manager - Cardiff Cannabis Social Club
Cardiff CSC need your help spreading the word about this event to try and make it the biggest so far!
They are currently running a couple of seed competitions to help promote the event.
Poster Placement Seed Competition
- Print out a copy (or a few copies if you really want to help the movement) of this fabulous poster for the march (A5 minimum size)
- Find somewhere amazingly awesome to put it. Make sure you have permission to do so (a sneaky poster on a police station WILL NOT count unless you were given permission to put it there). We're not trying to cause trouble, just raise awareness and protest peacefully.
- Take a picture of your handy-work and post it here
Simples! Feel free to print out and hand out as many copies of the flyers as you see fit. If you're not interested in the competition, though, the movement needs all the help you're willing to give.
Click the poster on the right then right click the bigger image and save ready for you to print.
Best Sign Seed Competition
The second competition is for the best 3 signs seen at the event.
So, don your markers, card, glue and wood and get making those signs!
Get your best facts and quotes out for these signs. The world needs to see just why we're marching for cannabis. They need to hear the truth. The truths that main stream media is doing their best to hide from the public.
You may have heard of it already but we'd thought we'd fill our Welsh readers in on the details of how they can get there if they are struggling to find travel info.
The London 420 Pro-Cannabis Rally is to be acelebration of the cannabis plant and a place for enthusiasts and patients alike to show their support for the cannabis movement. It has been arranged by the awesome guys at London Cannabis Club, NormlUK, and UKCSC. They have some speakers arranged for the day including Clark French from NormlUK and UKCSC. It's time for us to stand and be counted.
We were planning on going ourselves but finances proved a problem this month so we decided to plan our first SCC social, the Swansea 420 Gathering, at the same time for those that also can't go. So be sure to check that out if you can't make the London 420 event. We'd love to meet you!
Where and When?
The London 420 pro-cannabis rally is being held at Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park on the 20th of April 2014.
[googlemap address="Speakers' Corner, London" width="600" height="340" position="left"]
Last year around 10,000 people attended and they are expecting more to attend this year. Are you going to London 420? If you are and the travel details below aren't enough for you or you want to try and meet some Welsh/Swansea people to go down with check out our forum post to say high to other London 420 goers.
Those stuck for travel, they have actually managed to put on transport for the day from a few locations across the UK. They have fortunately included Cardiff in their efforts. You can find out about the coaches they have on from Cardiff here London 420 Travel. The most relevant for Swansea London 420 goers is detailed below.
For Wales and West they have a handful of luxury coaches set up for a return journey to London. The closest coach to Swansea is going from Cardiff. Here's the details.
Departs from: CARDIFF; Central Station NE2 (rear entrance), Penarth Road, CF10
- Depart 07:30
- Return 22:30
The coach drops you off at Hyde Park and picks you back up again from Hyde Park to bring you home.
Note: If the minimum quota for the coaches are not met by the 18th of April full refunds will be given.