Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘protest

A Cannabis ‘Protest’ That Was Well Judged.

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This was the best ‘protest’ I have seen. The characterisation of it as a ‘cannabis tea party’ was clever and combining it with Paul Flynn’s 10 minute rule bill was a smart move.

It was good that three MPs actually attended and the press coverage was extensive and largely positive. This is a welcome change from the disastrous demos and protests of the past which have undoubtedly hindered progress.

So while I’m not exactly eating it, I take my hat off to the organisers for a good job, well done.

The most promising news is that Andrea Leadsom, Conservative Leader of the House, has personally endorsed Paul Flynn’s bill which is real chink of light. This government, desperate to recover some credibility with younger and progressive voters, if it had any sense, would see this as a big opportunity. If the government was to choose to support the bill it would gain huge credit without having to lose its ‘tough on drugs’ stance.

We can only hope.

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Written by Peter Reynolds

October 16, 2017 at 9:01 am

Why Do I Stand Against Protests, Demonstrations and ‘420’ Events?

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420 2015The protests, public smoking, stereotypical ‘drop-out’ behaviour, cause DAMAGE to the cannabis campaign.

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.

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 22, 2015 at 9:27 pm

Another Pathetic And Embarrassing Display From The Stoners.

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Exactly The Wrong Way To Represent Cannabis Law Reform.

Exactly The Wrong Way To Represent Cannabis Law Reform.

As Demotix, the photojournalism website, captioned their gallery: “A small group of protestors gathered outside the BBC, calling for Ganja or cannabis to be legalised in the UK.”

See the photographs here.

How long will it take these idiots to learn that their behaviour sets back the cause of cannabis law reform?

Gratuitous lawbreaking, scruffy turnout, signs that look like they were made at playschool and an embarrassingly small attendance even on the weekend that The Observer publishes a survey showing that 52% of the UK population supports legalisation in Colorado and Washington.

Such irresponsible events have never had any positive impact and when they are as shabby, poorly attended and badly organised as this all they do is bring the whole cannabis campaign into disrepute.

Is there nobody associated with the organisers of these disastrous demos that can talk some sense into them?  Or is it really just about the same excitement as naughty children feel when they are being deliberately out of line?  That’s how the public sees it.

Written by Peter Reynolds

October 5, 2014 at 8:12 am

The BBC Has Lost Its Right To Be Britain’s National Broadcaster.

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London, 19th July 2014. Ignored by the BBC.

London, 19th July 2014. Ignored by the BBC.

The pro-Israel bias 0f the BBC continues. It has clearly been stung by the massive outcry at its appalling reporting and it has improved some coverage but it is completely blanking the massive protests today in London and other British cities.

The BBC has lost its right to the licence fee.  It can no longer be our national broadcaster  All the good work that it does is extinguished by this disgraceful episode.

While the children of Gaza are murdered by the Nazionist war criminals, the BBC fat cats simper and supplicate to the monstrous pariah state that is Israel. They have betrayed Britain. James Harding and Tony Hall must go.

Written by Peter Reynolds

July 19, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Horrible Pictures From Hyde Park Cause Dreadful Damage To Cannabis Campaign.

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Yesterday, the annual Hyde Park 420 event took place.  420 is an American term for cannabis and these events take place all over the world on 20th April.  Why?  For very obscure and esoteric reasons! They are variously described as celebrations of cannabis or protests for legalisation.  Yesterday in Hyde Park was a disaster.

Violent arrests, open dealing of cannabis, hash cookies decorated to appeal to children – these are terrible images that will cause immense harm to the way that cannabis and cannabis users are seen.  CLEAR will not be publishing any of these pictures.

It matters not that these arrests were fundamentally unjust.  The police officers concerned were only doing their job.  The Daily Telegraph and other media are ramping up hysteria over two deaths in Colorado associated with ‘edibles’; so cannabis cookies in kids style was a spectacular own goal. Close-ups of bags of weed being sold alongside the names of the organisers is not just stupid, it is crazy.

We will never win the support of the public by behaving this way.  Inevitably, of the hundreds there, many seemed barely out of their teens.  The images and messages this sends through the media and to our political leaders are destructive of all the positive work that is being done towards reform. These demos, protests,  ‘smoke ups’ and ‘smoke outs’ have never had any positive effect so what makes anyone think they will now?

I know that many involved with the organisers are sincere but if I wanted to plan how to subvert and undermine the campaign, yesterday in Hyde Park would be a good model.

We have MPs, opinion leaders and powerful people on our side but unsurprisingly they will not be associated with such events.  Let’s move on and put this as far behind us as we can. The key to winning this war is to demonstrate that we can behave responsibily, to win hearts and minds which have been subject to propaganda for nearly a century.  Reform in the US has been achieved despite, not because of such events.

So what can you do? Write to your MP, arrange to meet your MP, ask your MP to arrange a meeting with a minister. This is what works. This is what is actually making progress. Let’s not mess it up.

How To Damage The Cannabis Campaign.

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1. Demand ‘rights’ that are neither reasonable nor necessary:

“We want to prove that cannabis can be consumed safely, peacefully and responsibly in public without causing any harm to society”

2. Choose a venue that:

a. enables police to claim that it :

“is used by children and families”

b. enables the local newspaper to use this photograph:

Eastrop Park

Eastrop Park

3. Fail to apply for permission to hold the event:

“…we have not received an application in regards to this proposed event.”

See this article in ‘This Is Hampshire’:  Pro-cannabis campaigners to hold protest in Eastrop Park

I support the overall aims of the people behind this.  The intention is good but the means are naive, irresponsible and exactly the way NOT to campaign for cannabis law reform.

Written by Peter Reynolds

September 19, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Posted in Politics

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Legal Medicinal Cannabis In Britain

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In The Pink

Last week Jim Starr flew into Bristol Airport from Amsterdam carrying 80 grammes of herbal cannabis as prescribed for him by a Dutch doctor.  That’s just under three ounces of dried flower heads.  He was carrying it in a parcel about the size of a telephone directory.

There was no one at customs, even though Jim went through the red channel and had telephoned ahead to advise the airport that he was bringing the cannabis in.  He waited, even looked around for someone, anyone, but there was no one to be seen at all.  He wanted to declare what he had with him.  He’s never wanted to break the law.  He knew that he was risking confiscation of the cannabis, possibly even arrest but the coast wasn’t just clear, it was deserted.  The authorities had evidently decided that in their “war on drugs”, this time, discretion was definitely the better part of valour.  They were in full scale retreat.

Jim had confirmed to the airport that he had the necessary paperwork to prove it was prescribed medicinal cannabis.  His doctor had told him that he was protected under Article 75 of the Schengen Agreement which states “persons may carry the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances that are necessary for their medical treatment provided that, at any check, they produce a certificate issued or authenticated by a competent authority”

Prescription

Of course, even then, it didn’t stop the journey being a nerve wracking and tense experience.  Now, safely at home in Dorchester with his family, Jim understands from the Home Office that he is entitled to bring in the cannabis as prescribed for him by his Dutch doctor.  He can bring in up to three month’s supply at a time if he carries it on his person. Otherwise he has to apply for an import licence and have it shipped to a UK pharmacist.

Jim is 36 and is married to Emma, with whom he has two children.  Originally from Birmingham, he was a very active man in full time employment until in 1999 he was diagnosed with a degenerative disease of the spine.  In 2003 he was involved in a road accident and suffered terrible spinal injuries. His life seemed hopeless. The cocktail of powerful drugs he was prescribed, including morphine, were debilitating in themselves.  He couldn’t face a future in which he was turned into a zombie, unable to enjoy any sort of decent life with his wife and children. He admits frankly that he was suicidal.

One day in 2004, Jim was upstairs in bed in so much pain and despair that he could barely move.  A friend called round to see him and offered him a joint. Half an hour later Jim made it downstairs for the first time in three weeks.  Suddenly he had hope and the possibility of a future with his family.

Life since then has been a constant game of cat and mouse with the police and drug dealers.  Apart from risking arrest and even prison, Jim has also been in danger of being robbed or ripped off by dealers. He’s never wanted to break the law. He told his doctor the relief that cannabis provided and as soon as Sativex became available, even before it was officially licensed, his doctor prescribed it for him. Unfortunately, the very next day she rang to say that because of licensing and regulation problems she wouldn’t be able to prescribe it again.  In fact, Jim did manage to get another prescription for Sativex but again it was withdrawn, this time because his health authority refused to fund it.

Jim has been an active campaigner for the legalisation of cannabis ever since.  He has organised a series of marches, protests and petitions in Dorchester, Weymouth and even Downing Street. Over the last seven years, three MPs, Oliver Letwin, Jim Knight and Richard Drax, have written various letters in support of him.  He is a distinctive figure in his wheelchair with his dyed beard which has earned him the nickname “Pinky”.  Perhaps he has been a little too high profile for the Dorset police who he accuses of persecuting him.  Unable to obtain Sativex or afford the prices and risks of dealers, Jim enlisted the help of a friend to grow his own medicine. Inevitably, in May 2009 the police arrived and Jim was arrested.

Campaigning

In August this year at Dorchester Crown Court Jim was given a two year conditional discharge for growing cannabis. He is now pursuing a complaint against the police alleging brutal treatment during his arrest.  Other complications, allegedly at the police’s behest, have led to the DVLA revoking his driving licence although he has never been arrested, charged, convicted or even stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Jim has become an avid recorder of everything.  He uses mobile phones, video cameras and audio recorders to retain evidence of every contact with the authorities.  He has a video recording of an officer saying to his wife “Look luvvy, whatever he grows up there from now on is up to him.  We promise it don’t bother us”.  Foolishly, he took the officer at his word.  Three weeks after receiving his conditional discharge the police arrived again.

There was no provision for transporting him to the police station in his wheelchair.  The officers were warned not to lift him by his arms because of his spinal condition.  They wrenched him out of his chair by gripping his shoulders and underpants causing anal bleeding due to an existing condition. He was refused a doctor at the station. There was no provision for disabled people, even for his special toilet needs.  He was refused access to any of his prescribed medication or even his specialist anti pressure sore mattresses.

The following day he attended hospital and was diagnosed with torn shoulder muscles.  In fact, his spinal column is so delicate that any movement could potentially paralyse him. This is the basis of all his high profile campaigning and must be well known to the police.  Jim now faces another charge of cultivating cannabis and a possible prison sentence.

With Mr Nice

The trip to Holland was a last resort, only made possible by the generosity of a friend.  The Dutch doctor was horrified at the range of highly toxic prescription medicines given to Jim and prescribed two grammes per day of medicinal herbal cannabis.  He told Jim that he shouldn’t be using Sativex as the alcohol in its solution was like pouring petrol on a fire, given his medical conditions.

So at last, Jim seems to have the medicine he needs.  He will have to continue to rely on the generosity of friends to pay for it.  He is applying for a Home Office licence for the cannabis to be imported to a local pharmacist who can then dispense it to him.  He will continue to campaign for the right to grow his own for free.  The costs of cultivation at home are minimal compared to the rigmarole of importing from Holland or the massive “Big Pharma” cost of Sativex.

Jim is not the first person to get the medicine they need in this way but he is the first to go public about it.  Many tens of thousands may now wish to follow his example.  Most European countries and 15 US states already regulate the provision of medicinal cannabis. Surely it is time for the government to consider reform of what looks increasingly like an absurd and cruel law.