There are over 160 cannabis clubs residing in the UK. Cannabis clubs first started making their presence known about 7 years ago when a group of grassroots activists who used the controlled drug to treat their medical conditions came together. The failure of police to investigate and prosecute cannabis club members has led to its explosion. Despite cannabis being a widely illegal drug and possession of the substance can land you a 5-year sentence, many authorities no longer treat the offence as a priority, with even some police officers calling for a more relaxed legislation to be put forward. At least two police and crime commissioners have visited and endorsed these sorts of clubs. So, is this the start? Will the fear of prosecution soon evaporate, and will our lawmakers make moves to introduce more liberalised laws?
What is a cannabis club?A cannabis club is a ‘club’ where cannabis consumers pay a small fee, as little as £35 a year to gather on a regular basis, to consume and share the substance; recreational and medical users are welcome. There are over 75 registered clubs across the UK. Police Chief, Afron Jones visited a cannabis club earlier this year and also travelled to Switzerland to learn how various drug programmes work.
Police showing supportJones has expressed his sympathy with the Spanish model of cannabis clubs. In Spanish cannabis clubs they cultivate their own cannabis for the regulated consumption by its members. Police Chief, Jones, has called for a changed in the way substance abuse is treated by society as a whole. He has also discussed his support for the legislation and regulation of cannabis. Jones works in Wrexham where there is well documented drug abuse in the area. He formed his opinions from years of working on the ground seeing the futility of locking people up with abusive drug use, only to see them before the courts a couple of weeks later. Criminalising users is not the avenue of treatment users should receive and Afron Jones realises this.
Cannabis Clubs have a built-in ethos and understanding that cannabis helps people. Founder of the Teesside club, Michael Fisher wants to expand the model across the UK. Although cannabis remains illegal, Fisher said the Police tolerate the use of small quantities of the drug. He has described local officers as “supportive”. Chief constables are expected to enforce the law, however choosing to investigate in an operational decision for them, alone.