Letter to Kenneth Clarke, MP, June 2010
The following letter was posted to Kenneth Clarke - Minister of Justice
Open letter to Kenneth Clarke – Minister of Justice
9th June 2010
Dear Mr Clarke
The Legalise Cannabis Alliance (LCA) is concerned with the welfare of the millions of victimless cannabis users in Britain.
I am writing to you to ask for a face-to-face meeting, something we never had under Labour apart from an agreement to meet with Charles Clarke whilst he was Home secretary. Unfortunately he was sacked for other reasons before the meeting happened and his successors John Reid and Jacqui Smith refused to honour that agreement.
Previously, the LCA was a registered political party (1999 to 2006). We contested over 80 elections - Parliamentary and local. Our candidates gained up to 8% of the vote in local elections and where there was an all-up election for local councillors in Great Yarmouth some 16% of voters gave one vote to the LCA candidate Mike Skipper.
Under Labour, cannabis was downgraded to class C with positive results. It was then upgraded back to class B (seemingly due to media pressure and vote-winning ambitions) even though the ACMD advised against it.
Literally tens of thousands of people are arrested for cannabis possession or cultivation despite the fact that they have no victims to their so-called crimes. That includes people who use cannabis to alleviate the symptoms of some really dreadful ailments and injuries.
Cannabis prohibition offers no protection for minors. On the black market there are no controls or regulations and no minimum age required for purchase. Cannabis can also be adulterated or contaminated with noxious substances far more harmful than cannabis could ever be.
Cannabis users in the UK feel alienated and stigmatised, although few break any laws other than possession or small scale cultivation at home. We do not feel that we have adequate representation in the political arena. We feel ignored until we are arrested; then we are punished for our choice of natural substance that is beneficial to us. Over one million people in the UK have been to court for cannabis yet so few have been harmed themselves, let alone not having harmed others.
Where is the Justice in that?
In many parts of Europe medical and social use are now recognised. Lately the Czech Republic changed laws to allow the small-scale cultivation and possession of cannabis without prosecution. Other countries with liberal or tolerant views on cannabis include: Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Australia and Canada. In the UK however, we trail behind.
The cannabis law presents a daily problem to millions of people and we feel that a solution to your party's desire to reduce harm from drugs would be best met under a system other than prohibition - we have several proposals to make regarding this problem.
We look forward to hearing from you in the very near future, with a view to a conversation with you so that we can each present our point of view and seek a progressive move and better understanding.
Chris Baldwin (Campaign Coordinator)
PPREAD THE RESPONSE - THEY SAY NO
Second Letter to Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke, Justice Minister, January 2011