We’ve all seen the tsunami of news that has flooded the UK over the past 18 months. Many of us have participated in sharing links to mainstream newspapers, excited that cannabis is finally being recognised as medically viable and that this has been acted upon in some way.
But while there’s been a minor policy shift in Britain, in reality patients aren’t getting access to the medicine and the conversation around recreational or spiritual use is being shushed down to make way for people who have never worked in the cannabis community advising how things should progress.
Big cannabis businesses stand to make billions of pounds in the next decade. For the companies out for the biggest slice of the pie, many issues that are most important to consumers are likely to be ignored.
That’s why the UK’s largest cannabis consumer group has taken a more active role in trying to shape the conversation. Not ones to ever sit back and be quiet when something doesn’t look right, the UK Cannabis Social Clubs (UKCSC) have teamed up with the formidable Global Drug Survey, which has been studying consumer drug habits and feedback for around 15 years.
Pf Adam Winstock, founder of the GDS and a consultant psychiatrist, actually has the power to prescribe cannabis now it has been legalised to do so. He wants to understand who is using cannabis, why they use it, and hopes that this information can be used to help shape a fairer, more balanced conversation than the one that is being played out.
“We don’t usually interrupt the flow at GDS with another survey. But such is the speed of change and deluge of investor funding and interest in the UK cannabis market (both legal and medical), that GDS thought it was really important to get some sense of what is going on now, in the UK today, to inform future policy, clinical guidelines and ensure the voice of the everyday consumer is heard,” says Adam. “The narrative to date has not always offered this.”
Greg de Hoedt, who founded UKCSC in 2011, has been working continuously to ensure that the consumers’ voice is at the centre of the conversation.
“We have had a great response from the recent Let Us Grow petition on the Home Office portal. We are aware that we get a blanket response to this – though it doesn’t stop us trying,” says Greg.
“With these surveys and teaming up with medical professionals that you would usually think were against cannabis use, it gives us some good data to work on while making sure the data is respectable and can be used in a way that achieves more than just a petition. We can use it to argue for specific rights for consumers – like the right to grow.”
The survey is pretty simple, with multiple choice answers and will take most people 10-15 minutes. It’s hosted at www.globaldrugsurvey.com/cannabis. It’s anonymous, confidential and hosted on an encrypted survey platform and website. The website stores no IP addresses, stores no personal data and it’s approved by the research ethics committee at University College London.
There’s no one behind the study other than the UKCSC and the Global Drug Survey, who are consultant psychiatrists that want to see better drugs policies based on the evidence, having been the ones to deal with the consequences of prohibition and the impact it has on people from all walks of life.
Greg wrapped up talking to us with a very important point: “We have friends in prison for cannabis right now that have created no victim, yet are paying the ultimate price when it comes to the law. This is impacting their families lives too as some have children to provide for. They are unable to take this survey when behind bars so please use your freedom to help those who have had theirs taken away over what we all love.”
Take the Global Drug Survey today and fight for your rights!
You can read more about their campaign work at www.ukcsc.co.uk