The UK Cannabis Social Clubs have, over eight years, grown deep roots across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, bringing awareness and drawing public attention to cannabis policy. But it has done more than that. In this short space of time it has built up a network of over 50,000 regular cannabis consumers who have decided that prohibition isn’t the way forward, isn’t acceptable and isn’t going to be tolerated. Not by us, anyway.
We feel like we have made a significant difference to people’s lives, other people’s state of mind, and influenced political thought leaders. PR campaigns have borrowed our ideas and we’ve even had a number of our models stolen for corporate gain rather than being used to help people that helped shape it into something wanted by the general public. We know we are being listened to and noticed by the right people – but we still think we can reach even further outside the cannabis bubble.
The UKCSC, when it comes down to it, is here to stand up for the rights of people. When it comes to shaping cannabis policy, and all drug policy for that matter, it is imperative that this is the number one focus. We believe that legalising personal home cultivation for all adults is the only way to stop the problems associated with cannabis under prohibitive policies. Business should be regulated, not people trying to look after their own needs.
Policy should be shaped around evidence and we have taken great pride in telling the stories of people within our membership and community that will show anyone lucky enough to pick up a copy that giving people the right to grow their own cannabis at home or access through a community-based model such as UKCSC is the right way to do things. This model, which follows in the footsteps of the Spanish innovation, has been winning the hearts and minds of the public and even the police as a suitable alternative to a policy that some high-ranking officials are now calling out for ruining people’s life chances.
Greg de Hoedt, UKCSC Chairman and the Executive Editor of The Quarter Leaf said: “We are really thrilled to launch TQL on 4/20 at what is going to be Europe’s largest ever 4/20 gathering. It’s been an idea that’s sat in my mind since I came back from the US in 2011 so it is literally a dream come true to finally have the physical copy in our hands.
This is a tribute to all the hard work that the cannabis social clubs and people running them around the country have been doing.
I get a lot of support and pats on the back for speaking up for what we all do; The Quarter Leaf is a way to make sure everyone knows that there are many of us out here doing real work to help real people get real access to real medicine – without having to go through media humiliation, waiting death sentence lengths of time or paying ten times the cost of what it should.
People need to realise how important the right to grow is, and without having to *wait* for a medical condition to strike them to be able to take advantage of the health benefits.
When someone finds out their mother or father or god forbid child has cancer, should they have to turn to the black market as their first option? When enough people are growing for their own personal use and they find out someone has a dying need for it there will be no need for anyone to wait.”
We encourage everyone to come and pick up a copy at their local 4/20 event this Easter Saturday and don’t be shy about taking one or two extra copies to give to your friends, family members or work colleagues who might need to have a bit of cannabis truth put in front of their eyes in a nice, welcoming and approachable publication. You can even take a bunch for the waiting rooms you have to sit in if you are a patient with a lot of appointments!
Darren Rigby, The Quarter Leaf and cannabis community photographer said: “I travel around the country to events meeting people who use cannabis to treat some of the worst health conditions you can imagine. Their stories will make you cry. But six months later when you see them again at another event they are doing much better, they are well and have a better quality of life. It gives me goosebumps knowing that cannabis can do this for people. It’s wonderful to be given the chance to share the stories I see through the pictures I take.
“It’s an accomplishment, absolutely an accomplishment. When people see me with the camera and ask me ‘are you published’ and I say ‘no’, well… I can say I am now. The cannabis community is to thank for that.
I was raided for growing my own medicine for the second time in 2018 and without the support of the UK Cannabis Social Clubs I would most definitely have been in prison right now as they were trying to give me four and a half years for around 70 plants. After several months and five court appearances the Judge, who I can call honourable, said he did not want to punish me, and my sentence was to receive the social support I need for living as an adult with autism.
Greg in particular has given me the chance to do the two things in life that get me into society and living normally, through cannabis and photography. Without that I would still be a hermit unable to leave home so I thank him so much for that. I now have something to dedicate my life to.”
TQL#1 gives an introduction to the UKCSC, dives into medical cannabis testimonials, catches readers up on the last 12 months of cannabis politics, interviews Arfon Jones PCC of North Wales about why he supports cannabis reforms, catches up with The Hemp Trading Company – THTC, advocates for Parents of Hope who want THC for their children, explains the Endocannabinoid System, shows off outdoor cultivation with Cardiff Cannabis Cafe, and looks at UK Glass and some of the lowdown from Hive Glass. We also have coverage of Green Pride, Borofest and Product Earth, events that have helped shape the modern cannabis community that we are all using to fire ourselves into wider normalisation.
Our feature article is of Gary Youds, founder and host of The Chillin’ Rooms in Liverpool. We went up to cover the scene, meet the members and discuss with Gary just what inspired him to open what is now the UK’s longest running club. Their members tell us how they are persecuted by local police and how Gary has had a target painted on his back for bringing an oasis of freedom to a deprived part of the city. Disgracefully, Merseyside Police raided The Chillin’ Rooms not even a week after we left, for the sixth time, with reports in the press from a police spokesperson saying: “False information exists about these types of locations, but I want to make it very clear that there is nowhere you are able to smoke cannabis legally in Merseyside.”
Well it may be illegal, but we will be pleased to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth about Gary Youds, a modern day hero, and The Chillin’ Rooms for everyone to know. We need to be a united community and stand up for those who are doing what is right for the people. Prohibition hasn’t been kind to us – we need to stop seeing our community thrown under the bus.