In recent weeks there have been multiple stories that all but a few cannabis enthusiasts/activists have been putting together, but most haven’t! It boggles my mind that with so much going on, most don’t even realise just how serious this debate truly is. A point brought home to me just the other night when I went to see Caroline Lucas give a talk in Durham about the regeneration of the area. Every subject brought up I was easily able to cover, yet when given the opportunity to ask why cannabis wasn’t being considered as part of that regeneration, I was met with giggles and sneers.
So on that note, I’m going to show people why this is such an important subject and why the UK cannabis conversation has to evolve NOW!!
In 1985 Bob Geldof put together Live Aid and changed the world. Most of us who watched it being broadcast live will never forget his outburst about people dying now! Weed has had its watershed moment in recent weeks and been met with absolute silence!!
Where to start.
In the few weeks since California, the world’s sixth biggest economy, or should I say fifth now that it has overtaken the UK, voted for recreational sales of cannabis, along with a multitude of other states, the UK quickly jumped on board with headlines proclaiming the £1 billion in economic benefit to the exchequer.
The fact that our drugs policies are completely nonsensical has been highlighted by MP’s in a cross party report, and a report from the Adam Smith Institute has stated that the only solution to crime and addiction is legalisation!
The Global Commission on Drug Policy’s annual report advocates the removal of both civil and criminal penalties for drug use and possession.
Prohibition of drugs has had “little or no impact” on the rate of drug use, the report says, with the number of drug users increasing by almost 20 per cent between 2006 and 2013 to 246 million people.
Policies that have recently been called draconian in one article, and as pointed out by Ruth Dreifuss, former president of Switzerland and chair of the Global Commission, “Drug prohibition is a problem that is touching all aspects of life and society—not just oppression, not just public health.” However, “It is very important to focus on the fact that the main obstacle to public health is the criminalisation on users.”
The bullshit as usual from Westminster is infuriating as they bury their head in the sand and allow their friends at GW Pharma and British Sugar to grow as much as they like to sell via the NHS at an extortionate mark up thanks to Tory loopholes, while insisting that;
As the Guardian has pointed out, The ‘war on drugs’ doesn’t work. It’s time for a grown-up conversation! Other countries are now jumping on the band wagon of legalisation. Cambodia, Ireland, South Africa, Germany, and now even Mexico are ending the war on drugs! Gibraltor along with India, are now also facing calls for legalisation! Not that the BBC would report either of those.
The real watershed moment though was across every news media outlet! Standing Rock!
Indigenous peoples and veterans coming together to take on a domestic enemy in Dakota Access Pipeline. Now while some may find this a tenuous link, it has never been more relevant in the bigger picture of things!
As anyone knows, the two major protagonists in the fight for legalisation are the two industries that are threatened the most! Big energy and big pharma.
22 veterans per day are said to be committing suicide and are being plied with all kinds of drugs from the big pharma cartel. America’s largest military veterans organisation is pushing President-elect Donald Trump to reschedule marijuana after he takes office early next year.
Top officials from the American Legion, which passed a resolution endorsing the reclassification of cannabis under federal law earlier this year, sat down with Trump’s transition team last week to discuss key priorities for the more than 2 million military veterans the organisation represents.
Medical and recreational strains are selectively bred, usually to increase yield. This is why there is a THC cap on industrial strains. Some years ago a study was done that presented the perspective that with only 6% of land put to use for biomass, America could be energy independent. This was in the days before graphene. This cap means that big energy can artificially hobble the biofuel market.
Whereas hemp is said to be able to produce 300-1000 gallons of oil per acre, with heavy yielding recreational and medical strains being used for industrial applications, the removal of the THC cap means farmers could be producing a lot more oil per acre. 20 to 30 times more!!
With deregulation of hemp farming and removal of testing for THC, Canadian farmers may be the first to benefit from this. Hopefully this will mean hemp and cannabis farmers offset the future headaches that Justin Trudeau is due to face with B.C. Pipelines and Canada’s own veteran suicide epidemic.
This is a cause that unites both veterans and indigenous people to stop these pipelines being built before they leak. Much like DAPL already has done 150 miles north of Standing Rock.
Something people might not know is that the oil being transported through this pipeline is produced from fracking. A process that as anyone paying attention will know, is being forced upon communities across the UK by the Tories. An industry that if you live anywhere near a well, will wipe anywhere from 7% to 70% off the value off your home, while a cannabis dispensary will add at least 6%.
Fracking is a process that has been shown at multiple sites to release vast amounts of methane in to the atmosphere. Just look at Texas where methane leaks are so prominent, they can been seen from space! However the BBC would rather put it down to cattle farming. The Tories don’t like to be caught out in covering things up that are adverse to their economic and political agendas afer all.
Which multimillionaire MP, Jacob Rees Mogg, would welcome as he would like to tear up our environmental regulations, as he sists (no that’s not a typo, you read right!) in his tax payers rescued ancestral home, that I’m sure he won’t be too uncomfortable in despite his displeasure at his seven figure bonus at a time when climate change is escalating so fast it is ‘beyond point of no return‘ according to one expert, which is fuelling an Arctic ice melt off that scientists are warning “could trigger uncontrollable climate change at global level“, driving insurance costs due to climate change to quadruple to $100bn per year since 1980.
The effects of which have been highlighted recently in the biggest ever die off of coral in the great barrier reef, and our oceans are said to be facing mass extinctions, due to them being one big carbon sequestration machine.
As flood measures are called for to be put in place in parts of the south after storm Angus created widespread flooding, some like to blame lack of river management, but a lack of land management is also a contributary factor. The perfect example of this comes from Bangladesh. Independent Bangladesh, (formerly East Bengal, India) which literally means “canna-bis-land-people” (it was formerly called East Bengal province, a name derived from bhang-cannabis, la-land), signed an “anti-drug” agreement with the U.S., promising not to grow hemp in the 1970s. Since that time it has suffered disease, starvation, and decimation, due to unrestrained flooding.
With only 100 harvests left in compacted, over worked farm lands, hemp and cannabis could be a very cheap, very effective and yet very profitable form of flood defences. Something the National Farmers Union and National Trust may want consider as they call on the government to do more to make the countryside “flood-resilient“. The Tories don’t want to pay for it, so may as well let farmers profit from it!
For every ton of hemp/cannabis produced, 325kg is carbon sequestered from the atmosphere, which is a statistic that DEFRA may want to consider in their plans for reducing air pollution that the high court have told them they have to do within the next eight months. Particularly seeing as the UK is now in a state of deforestation due to lack of tree planting. Any plans could go a long way towards creating jobs that would address rural inequality, and the current labour crisis of the sharp fall in seasonal land workers.
With an extra cash crop as part of an emergent global industry that is set to be America’s fastest growing employer in 2017, a movement becoming an industry, could see British farmers become some of our top employers again.
Those extra jobs are going to be bringing extra expenditure and taxation, through high wage, high employment, local economies, benfiting regional councils who are currently struggling to provide social care due to cuts. The Tories have that covered though. They’re going to add the cost to council tax instead and push struggling families even further, in an economy that is currently enduring 13 years of lost wage growth and the worst collapse in living standards since the Second World War, while handing out yet more corporate tax breaks in the autumn budget.
These are figures that farmers should be paying attention to as Colorado, a state of 5 million people, has just cleared $1 billion worth of cannabis in 10 months.
It took them 12 months last year!
I’m sure there are far more people who would like the opportunity to work in the cannabis industry than take the option of working for Amazon where one day, if you work hard enough, you too can own your very own tent next to your place of work, for a job you can be pressured enough at to shit yourself and keep going!
California, our closest comparison, a state with a population of around 40 million, is predicted to add 130,000 jobs to their economy in 2017, of which I’m guessing a lot of are going to be rural in the emerald triangle. They’re going to need to do something to offset the loss of 36 million trees since May. Hemp produces four times the pulp of trees giving Californians an opportunity to work on the affected lands and hopefully begin some sort of recovery. Lost in the furore over the legalisation of recreational cannabis, was an attachment for the cultivation of industrial hemp, which should go a long way to aiding that situation.
For population size alone, this is going to be the economy to watch now for any and all comparisons, not that any are needed after the resounding success that Colorado has been.
The legalisation of cannabis is not just about drugs! It is about sustainable jobs in an environmentally friendly industry that can provide us all with a world we can proudly leave to our children and grandchildren!
The watershed moment is here and now! The fight against the corporate cartels of big energy and big pharma is one and the same!
This is a resource that removes the barriers between disparate communities. The conversation around cannabis in the UK has to progress now and it has to progress rapidly! Or will the UK soon see druids backed up by veterans, facing off against police at fracking sites?
Deforestation, climate change, lack of decent care and drugs for our elederly, rural inequality, lack of decent employment, all of our current economic woes can be resolved with one resource! Is this a debate best left to a government who have made cover ups and fraud part of doing their job?
Cannabis is changing things for communities across the world in 2016! Its time that the UK conversation joined the 21st century in 2017 based on facts, rather than some skewed sense of morality!