Now The Cannabis Petition Has Passed 200,000, What Can You Do Next?
It’s a great achievement that together we have doubled the the number of signatures required for a debate on cannabis legalisation to be ‘considered’. But it’s not over yet.
The government and many MPs will fight tooth and nail to stop any debate. You can be sure that the alcohol industry is already lobbying ministers furiously. It is terrified that there could be a much safer, healthier and legal alternative to its poisonous products.
So we can’t even be certain there will be a debate. Many, perhaps most MPs are incapable of dealing with this issue on a rational basis. They are transfixed by fear of what the media will say if they support reform. Most have no understanding about cannabis at all and base their views on the rubbish published in the Daily Telegraph or the Daily Mail. Even worse, they may rely on what the Home Office says. Be in no doubt, in the great history of Britain, never has there been more dishonesty from government than from the Home Office on cannabis. It deceives, misinforms and lies as a matter of course. It is Home Office policy to mislead the public about cannabis.
The next step is to contact your MP and do your bit to educate him or her on the truth. It is vital that you do this. For the first time, enough people have signed a petition to make it mean something. We must build on this effort. Do not let yourself or the rest of the country down. The responsibility rests on your shoulder as much as it does on everyone else’s.
You can also Google your MP’s name which will lead you to their personal website and more contact details.
You can write by letter to your MP at: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Please make the effort to take these steps in contacting your MP. Ideally, make initial contact by email or letter, then a week or so later make an appointment and go and see your MP.
Write To Your MP
Most important is that you must include your full postal address and postcode to show that you are a constituent. Without this your email or letter will be ignored.
Either an email or a letter is fine but you might want to consider doing both!
Write in your own words. MPs are now wise to what they call ‘campaign emails’. The large number of campaigns by groups such as 38 Degrees have really swamped MPs with repetitive correspondence. It doesn’t work to send what is clearly a template or automatically generated email. You will just be ignored. Many MPs actually warn against this now on their website.
So, in your own words, make these points:
1. I support the petition for a debate to be held on legalising cannabis.
2. More than twice as many people as required have signed the petition, so please will you do what you can to ensure that a debate will take place?
3. Legal regulation of cannabis will be much safer for everyone than the present criminal market.
4. £6 billion every year is spent on cannabis and it all goes to criminals.
5. I want to see cannabis available to adults only through licensed outlets with proper labelling and quality control.
6. I want to see cannabis taxed so that, as in Colorado, we can invest millions more in schools and hospitals.
7. Many people need access to medicinal cannabis for which there is now strong scientific evidence.
8. Please will you support and vote for legal regulation of cannabis?
You can link to these four pieces of evidence in your email or letter
Cannabis is 114 times safer than alcohol: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4311234/
No link between adolescent cannabis use and later health problems: http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/adb-adb0000103.pdf
‘Medicinal Cannabis:The Evidence’: http://clear-uk.org/static/media/PDFs/medicinal_cannabis_the_evidence2.pdf
Taxation of cannabis market net annual gain to the UK economy up to £9.5 billion: http://clear-uk.org/media/uploads/2011/09/TaxUKCan.pdf
Meet Your MP
The best way to arrange this is to telephone or email your MP’s constituency office. You will find the email address or phone number on your MP’s website.
Don’t get into a discussion with your MP’s staff about cannabis. Of course, explain why you want a meeting but concentrate on making the appointment. Don’t be brushed off. It is your right to meet your MP. Explain that you want an appointment as soon as possible, certainly within the next month or it will be too late.
When you go to the meeting, be on time, dress as if you were going to a job interview and be polite and respectful at all times. Ideally, print out the evidence above and take it with you. Ask your MP to promise to read it. Tell a personal story about how cannabis has helped you or how you or someone you know has suffered because of the law against it. Remember, your MP works for you so don’t allow yourself to be bullied or dismissed without proper attention.
What Will Happen Next?
If even one-tenth of the people who have signed the petition take the steps set out above we could well have a revolution!
Seriously, If every MP is contacted by at least half a dozen constituents who want a meeting on the subject it is going to make a very big impact.
This is our chance. Do not miss it. Do your bit. Don’t give up. Don’t be cynical.
Even if we don’t win this time we can make tremendous progress. We can weaken the evil forces of prohibition and start to drive it out of our lives and our country.
This is a call to action, as never before. Take this chance! Write to your MP! Meet your MP! Play your part in overturning this wicked, monstrous law!