Why Do I Stand Against Protests, Demonstrations and ‘420’ Events?
I don’t give a damn how people dress, or what they smoke or do, as long as they’re peaceful. In the ’70s, I lived in Vondel Park, Amsterdam, for two years and later I hitch-hiked around Europe and North Africa with a guitar on my back. I’m still a hippy at heart.
When you want to persuade people, when you need to win hearts and minds, when you want to achieve reform, it doesn’t matter what you think, what your ‘rights’ are, or what is ‘just’ or ‘fair’.
All that matters is the perception of the people whose minds you need to change. It’s what they think that you need to consider, instead of getting angry about what you feel you’re being denied.
It’s a question of what works. We know what hasn’t worked, at all, in the last 50 years and what has worked in the last three years – and spectacularly in the last year.
CLEAR is now working with the policymakers in the Tory and LibDem parties.The campaign has never been closer to a breakthrough. The real work is done in meetings and by hard graft, drafting polices, proposals and boring but essential follow-ups.
Civil disobedience and protests produce a dopamine rush in those attending them – and probably serotonin as well, the ‘togetherness’ buzz. That’s all it is. They have never got us anywhere, just emphasised that cannabis users are ‘different’ and ‘separate’ from the rest of society – and that’s no way to achieve reform because it’s not true! So why, on these occasions, does anyone think it’s sensible to dress and behave as if they’re ‘different’ and ‘separate’?
I don’t blame the people who attend. I blame the tactic, the methods and the organisers who pursue these events for self-aggrandisement (and, increasingly, for profit), not for the sake of the cause.
When the cannabis campaign grows up and understands this pretty basic marketing, then we will be unstoppable.
I greatly look forward to the day when ‘420’ can be a celebration of cannabis as a legal pleasure and not a confused, self-defeating embarrassment.