Wednesday, 22 January 2014


In discussing and advocating the repeal of cannabis laws we must go beyond the issues of possession or cultivation for own use: there is clearly no justification for any authority to interfere with Private Life activities that pose no threat to public order, health or the Rights of others.However, when it comes to supply, I think it essential that any future control of cannabis should be based upon consumer protection and taxation (only on profits, to my mind).

Whether the cannabis is gifted or sold, the receiver deserves the protection of law just as everybody does with other goods.So what are the alternative systems of supply that would best suit the customers without putting unnecessary burdens on commercial cultivation or supply.

Presumably there would be a system of license or registrations allowing conditions to be put on businesses to ensure hygiene, freedom from, accuracy of weights, maybe even labelling requirements. There would need to be avenues of recompense for breaches.

“Grow-your-own!” has become a mantra for many within the cannabis law repeal fraternity and “Cannabis Social Clubs” (CSC's)

 ( have been proposed as an extension of that.

A CSC is a non-profit making collective of people that grow communally for their own needs; they are transparent to authority with accounts and details of membership and production and distribution.

Many CSC's now operate in Spain and more are starting up in Belgium, France and Italy. Many are already growing cannabis and distributing to members.

In the UK, many CSC's are newly formed groups of users and campaigners in various counties, cities or towns across the country and it is possible that eventually they may lead to organised growing similar to the Spanish model. Of course that would be no problem after legalisation.

Previous to prohibition though, there were no CSC's. People either grew there own or picked it wild.

Countries such as India had Government shops that sold hashish, and New York once had hashish bars.

Since prohibition and until recently, there has been no country in the world that allows the legal sale of cannabis – even in the Netherlands with all their policy of tolerance for “Coffeeshops”, they have no legal supply routes into the premises. It's a sort of half-way-house (grey area) where adults can go to buy and sometimes smoke small amounts of cannabis but the only control on quality is through reputation. Most are great places to visit and I would love to see them in every city, enabling people to buy and smoke cannabis when away from home, or even in their own towns. It is estimated that 30 to 40% of Dutch smokers buy from Coffeeshops, the rest grow their own or buy from house dealers – there is also some punting of cannabis to tourists on the streets – something likely to increases if the Dutch Government implement their backward-planning for restrictions against tourists and the citing of venues.

Cannabis, grown and irradiated by the Dutch pharmaceutical company under the name Bedrocan, has been available on prescription in The Netherlands and Italy and sold through pharmacies. It is granulated bud. Unfortunately, it is more expensive than the Coffeeshops, and although residents of countries that prescribe Bedrocan can travel freely with it throughout the UK, it remains an offence for residents of the UK to go and buy it and bring it back – the UK Government are still in the stone age when it comes to recognising the true medicinal values of cannabis.

So in the UK the supply of all natural cannabis remains in the hands of “criminals”, whether simply profiteers or people trying to help the sick and injured.

Now, in 2014, changes are afoot in some countries.

In Uruguay the Government has attempted to take control of cannabis and stop the illegal dealing by allowing people to grow a few plants of their own, and otherwise the Government will grow and supply the plant themselves. That said, they still have to work out which strains to grow, packaging and pricing, and how to stop resale.In California and other States in the US, cannabis has been supplied through “clinics” requiring a doctor's prescription for a number of years: unlike

The Netherlands however, prescriptions are much easier to get and the cannabis is not radiated – hash, cookies, foodstuffs and other cannabis products are often sold through the same clinics.. Under federal law, however, it all remains illegal and it remains to be seen what Obama will ultimately do about it – get heavy-handed or turn a blind eye?

After a powerful vote last year, Colorado and has gone one step further in defiance of federal law has allowed cannabis shops to open up and sell the plant in its many forms without the Californian pretence of medicinal prescription for almost anyone – the supply is legal, consumers are protected as are all consumers, profits taxed.  Adults over 21 can buy for “recreational use” and thousands of people in medical need are also heading that way – the revenue raised is already impressive, within days.

Cannabis is subject to the same regulations as all products to which the public is exposed. guess the Colorado legalisation could be called a free-for-all within the law, without the criteria of non-profit making of the Spanish CFC model, beyond the policy of the front room tolerance but back door crime of the Dutch Coffeeshops, side-stepping the question of purpose of use, protecting the consumer, taxing the profits --- it seems just the sort of system many campaigners said we could never have.

We may have to wait a while now to see how it develops in California, Colorado, Uruguay and the Netherlands, and then we need to convince our own Government that such systems are better for everyone except the criminals – just wait and see how they react when we learn just how much revenue is raise through tax on profits and how much is saved on policing! Many people think that in these times of supposed fiscal crisis, money will be the key to change, rather than Rights or health issues – after all, Government raises huge sums from selling cigarettes and alcoholic drinks, why not weed?

Ask which system of distribution I prefer from the above: simple: any and all of them.I would like to see private cultivation, group cultivation,medicinal supply, Coffeeshops for supply and toking and clinics or shops for supply = such systems are not mutually exclusive.


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