When you write letters try to keep to the point.
Newspapers seem to like letters which are provocative (to attract further letters), questioning and even humorous. Often a controversial letter against legalisation will provoke positive response from other readers.
Very few people write to the papers so if you keep trying you will eventually get published. You must put your full name and address and write 'FOR PUBLICATION' at the top.
You may need a different tone for MP's, MEP's etc. They are elected people and usually value votes much more close to an election. It is best just to write to your own MP since letters get passed to him or her anyway. You can write to MP's such as Tony Banks, or write to the party leaders. Also write to all your local candidates telling them your feelings and that you are reluctant to vote for a cannabis prohibitionist.
Here are a few points upon which to base letters:-
1. The huge social cost. Over half a billion pounds resulted in 83% drug
arrests being for cannabis only, in 1994. The Department of Health does not
recognise the need for specialised treatment of cannabis users. A gross waste
of public funds.
2. Mass alienation. Over 7 million users. Young people alienated.
3. The law throws cannabis and its supply in with hard drugs.
4. The hypocrisy of laws which prohibit cannabis and allow alcohol and tobacco. 5. The law itself causes more damage than cannabis use. Loss of freedom, family, future plans, added criminal record, alienation, paranoia, social outcast, employment problems.
6. Humiliation of searches. Otherwise law abiding citizens. This is a strong point if you tell how it feels to be searched and questioned.
7. Unjust laws. Misplacement of cannabis in Single Convention etc. Misclassification as a narcotic in the 1920's
8. Waste of police time, court time, prison space at huge cost to taxpayer. It was about 400 miilion pounds in the UK in 1995.
9. Not a gateway drug.
10. Medicinal uses in particular personal stories of medical need. Many politicians now accept that people benefit from using cannabis in certain cases such as MS, Glaucoma, AIDS and cancer. They are beginning to accept that cannabis ought to be available medicinally ie on prescription. However, in the UK doctors are not allowed to prescribe plants and a cannabis pill would most likely be not smokeable, semi or fully synthetic. It would seem better that we advocate that medicinal users be allowed cannabis, ie allowed to grow their own or have somebody grow it for them, or buy it with all the protection of the law on quality and weight.
11. Not just dope; i.e. rope, fabric, fuel, medicine, sacrament paper, bricks, food, plastic, paint etc.
12. Decriminalisation no good because no quality control and left to the whims of the police and Prosecution services, varying from place to place and time to time. This is not justice. Also allowing the use of a substance which cannot be sold legally is illogical. This is a failure of the UK Green Part's stance for decriminalisation
13. Impurities and health hazards of illegal supply.
14. Smoking cannabis is harmless (quote Lancet and Judge Young).
15. Less harmful than tobacco. Not addictive. No non-medicinal dependency. Passive smoking no problem apart from smell?
16. Take the money out of hands of criminals and tax the profits.
17. Legal cannabis could be cheaper cannabis. Less crime. Although cannabis is not addictive some people who have addictive or dependent personalities may go to the extent of committing crimes to get money to buy it; legal cannabis would mean cheaper (home grown) cannabis and would inevitably lead to a drop in crime figures; on top of this is the drop in crime due entirely to legalisation.
18. Legalisation means deglorification.
19. Has been used for thousands of years, no deaths.
20. Cannabis in the Bible in the Holy Ointment and as the New Wine.
21. Prohibition is repressive of religious rights.
22. Prohibition contravenes United Nations Articles.
23. The Dutch situation and coffee shops. After an initial increase in the incidence of cannabis use in Holland after decriminalisation, the rate of increase fell off compared with other European countries. What is more the increase in the number of new drug addicts fell drastically compared with other countries.
24. Environmental uses; the Greenhouse Effect; soil erosion prevention.. When cannabis fuel is used the process only releases back into the atmosphere the same amount of carbon dioxide which was absorbed during the growing process several months earlier; in the case of fossil fuels the carbon dioxide was absorbed millions of years ago (by the growing trees), when the atmosphere was very different to now.
25. History of prohibition. The prohibition of commercially viable commodities has always failed - like alcohol prohibition in the USA; in 1997 India is considering withdrawing the prohibition of dangerous alcohol whereas they are tightening up on harmless cannabis which grows wild and has been used as a sacrament for centuries.
26. No adequate research can be done on illegal cannabis.
27. THC-free hemp cigarettes would be healthier than tobacco.
Keeping an eye on what other politicians do and say can invoke letters. e.g Jack Straw, Keith Hellawell, Charles Kennedy, Clare Short, Tony Banks, George Howarth.
Watch the press - articles about cannabis are appearing more and more. Each article is an opportunity to write, either agreeing or disagreeing and stating facts; your local press is up to you - if you don't write who will?
Ask your MP to support any early day motions (EDM's) about cannabis.
The House of Commons, London SW1A 1AA