Cannabis Clubs Are Flourishing in the UK

The Guardian has an interesting
article out today on the growth of so-called “cannabis clubs” that
have sprung up in the U.K.

The Guardian

Over the past few years, local cannabis clubs have blossomed
over Britain. There are now 49 around the UK, which are united by
the UK Cannabis Social Club, an organisation founded in 2011 to
represent cannabis users. Operating primarily through Facebook,
(the LCC’s page has had 39,301 likesthe clubs bring cannabis users
together from all over Britain to discuss topics ranging from
fertiliser to self-medication and campaigning for the
decriminalisation of the drug. They also organise meetings, from a
recent 10,000 person smoke-out in Hyde Park to more intimate
evenings such as tonight’s soiree, allowing pensioners, students,
bricklayers and bankers to talk about one of their favourite

Clubs like the London Cannabis Club (LCC) continue despite the
possession of marijuana being illegal in the U.K. As the head of
the LCC points out, talking about pot is not against the law:

The fact that growing and possessing cannabis is illegal in
Britain does not deter many cannabis clubs across the UK from using
social media to publicise meetings – “It’s not illegal to talk
about cannabis,” says Boon – and the openness is part of the
campaign for normalisation. Members themselves usually keep their
involvement private: “Many of the people I’ve met have families,
high-profile jobs, mortgages and all sorts, and are terrified of
losing everything,” he adds.

LCC’s Facebook page (visit it here), includes not only a
collection of pot-related news from around the world, it also
features pictures of marijuana sent in by members (example

The existence of clubs like the ones mentioned in The
could be used by British drug warriors like Peter
 to back up their claim that the war on drugs
is a myth:

How is it that, in a country where drugs are supposedly illegal
— where ‘evil dealers’ are endlessly denounced — that drugs are so
common and that little or nothing happens to those who are caught
in possession of them? How did the ‘cannabis warning’, a gesture
without force or penalty, unsanctioned by Parliament, become the
preferred response of the police to the crime of possession? How
can Pete Doherty drop illegal drugs on the floor of a courthouse,
be caught by a security guard and yet walk free from the building,
if we are — as we are so often told — running a regime of stern

The answer is that the official version of events is simply
false. Since a momentous Cabinet meeting in February 1970, there
has been no ‘war on drugs’ in this country, only the official
pretence of one.

Of course, the U.K. doesn’t wage anywhere near as aggressive a
war on drugs as the U.S. does. However, the fact remains that
possession of drugs in the U.K. can
in a prison term. Supplying drugs can also result in a
prison term, and the British government considers sharing drugs as
supplying. In June, the British government
that over 10,000 people in England and Wales were in
prison for drug offenses, representing 14 percent of the sentenced
prison population. 

There may be cannabis clubs in the U.K., but the growing and
possession of the product they are dedicated to is, unfortunately,
still illegal. 

Thankfully, it looks like Hitchens holds
a minority view
when it comes to British drug policy, and at
least one British law enforcement official, the
chief constable of Durham Constabulary
, believes that making
drugs legal would be a good policy change. 

from Hit & Run

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