The Peter Reynolds situation is not CLEAR at all

The Core Team has not voted to consider this an official statement and it should thus be considered an opinion from one of our bloggers.

There’s been a lot of turmoil in the cannabis community recently. Clear, the Cannabis Law Reform Party, has been rocked by resignations, suspensions and persistent accusations that Peter Reynolds has homophobic, racist, sexist, and reactionary beliefs. At the moment there is a stand-off between Peter Reynolds and two remaining stalwarts, and four former members of the Clear Executive who regard themselves as unlawfully expelled and have taken control of the party website to declare that Peter Reynolds has been sacked. This is paralysing the wider cannabis community as much as it is Clear, as they watch riveted as some of the most inventive and bizarre slurs are flung about with abandon.

Peter Reynolds in 2011

We won’t pretend that we at Re:Vision haven’t watched with dismay as one of our own trustees has been insulted and traduced. We haven’t issued our own statement stating an intention to cease working with Clear because we never started in the first place and we didn’t think it would help to weigh in. But we do have something to say about the current situation.

Whether you believe that Peter Reynolds has expressed discriminatory views or not, it is clear that a very, very large number of people believe that he does. This has distracted the entire cause for some time as people have, quite rightly, objected repeatedly to these statements.  When objections were first raised, a proper investigation should have been conducted and and its results made known. The majority of the people who were involved in this decision not to do this has now left and have expressed regret, but even now, there are still people who are arguing that concerns over whether Peter Reynolds has been discriminatory or not are unimportant to the role that he holds. But these are very important issues towards the people who they are affected by: black people, LGBT people, women, and disabled people. Especially disabled and unwell people, who are present in our movement in such disproportionate numbers.

In the cannabis community, and the drug law reform community, we all know there’s a significant number of people who use the drugs that we’re campaigning to have controlled and regulated, some are medicinal users, some recreational. It’s not that surprising. Some are public about it, some aren’t. All rely on the rest of us not calling up the cops to let them know what they’ve got and where they’ve got it. I’ve always thought it something of a no-brainer that if I don’t consider something a crime, then I don’t report it. For someone to break that code, for someone to threaten people who use cannabis for severe and chronic illness with police action, and then to claim they represent three million cannabis users, is not being consistent, politically or morally.

Peter Reynolds in 2012

We don’t know what is going to become of this situation as Mr. Reynolds’ response to a poll showing over three hundred people calling for his resignation was to announce to the entire Clear Facebook base that he would be taking Chris Bovey to court in order to acquire control of the Clear domain name. This is hardly professional. We would thus implore every remaining supporter of Peter Reynolds and his claim to the leadership of Clear that they focus on how this looks to the wider public, thousands of whom are now reading articles and watching videos about this, and to consider proper review of Mr. Reynolds’ actions and how they reflect on the party.

It is important that as the good work of millions of drug law reform activists all over the world began to bear fruit, we all support the effort of each other and Re:Vision looks forward to working with other like-minded drug policy organisations in the future.

Commission on Narcotic Drugs celebrates failure

Currently taking place in Vienna, is the 55th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). This commission, which was established at the very first meeting of the League of Nations in 1920, is the central arena for discussion on drug policy and, more importantly, where many decisions about international drug policy are unofficially made. Whilst this may appear to be a genuine chance to promote, and potentially see, real change in international drug policy, it is not the case. The CND, in actuality, is more of a chance for those attending – summarised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as “Ministers and top counter-narcotics officials from the 53 Member States of the Commission” – to cement old opinions and minimally tweak pre-existing policies to appear harder or softer on specific drugs, as has been the case for many years. Though members may be aware of the nearby Drug Peace Festival, it will likely be ignored with a hard-line attitude pushed throughout proceedings.

A chance for change? We doubt it.

One of the scheduled events, which has already taken place, shows precisely how unmoving the CND’s stance on policy is likely to be. Last Tuesday, the members were treated to the most undeserved, self-appreciative pat on the back as they celebrated the 100th anniversary of the signing of the International Opium Convention, which many see as a precursor to 1961’s Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Both of these can be fairly argued to be the start point of the failing War on Drugs; An unjust war which, more than any of the drugs it tries to eradicate, has cost lives, damaged the environment and wasted money. Whilst the beginning of this war is being touted as a cause for celebration, the CND cannot be said to be an objective or rational forum to discuss the matter of drug policy.

If you would like to see a drug policy which is more concerned with reducing harm than spreading paranoia, check out our website at revisiondrugs.org and join our Facebook.

Ending the drug war: what we’ve done and what we’re doing

In January 2011, I had a dream. A dream of a national organisation for young people focussed on a control and regulation model for drug policy. As it was a quite literal dream, I sat bolt upright in bed and started scribbling down everything I could remember. What did we want to do? How would that work? How on earth were we going to find volunteers, money, advice?

 

One year on, and as the Re:Vision Drug Policy Network’s first birthday passed largely unnoticed last week – we were too busy campaigning – we’re still asking ourselves those questions, but we do so with a base of volunteers stretching from Edinburgh to London, and even abroad. It has been hard work, but rewarding hard work.

 

It’s not all hard work.
The last twelve months have seen a large number of meetings and a great deal of paperwork. We’re very grateful to the drug law reform organisations that took the time to answer really obvious questions that weren’t obvious at the time, and it has paid off. In the last twelve months we have:
  • Established six working groups on areas we determined were essential to our functioning as an organisation.
  • Established social media channels which now have 1300 followers.
  • Developed a range of posters and leaflets to translate the drug war easily.
  • Developed our resources for people wanting to start local groups, including an 8,000 word campaigning guide.
  • Protested at the March for the Alternative on March 26th.
  • Protested on June 30th 2011 against cuts to drug user services.
  • Started a project to ask students about their use of cognitive enhancing drugs.
  • Absorbed dozens of volunteers into our organisation.
  • Marked World AIDS Day with a special briefing on the effect of HIV/AIDS on injecting drug users.
  • Submitted evidence to the Home Affairs Committee inquiry into drug laws.
  • Submitted feedback to the European Commission on their new anti-drugs strategy.
  • Held a stall at the Green Party Spring Conference.
  • Submitted a motion on climate change and the environment to the Campaign Against Climate Change Annual General Meeting.
  • Set up a website to document all of these things and promote our message.
  • Started a blog!
For an organisation run entirely by volunteers in their spare time, I think we have much to be proud of, and we have barely begun to scratch the surface of the ideas and suggestions that have poured into us. As our fundraising strategy kicks in (feel free to donate here), we will have more funds to support the work of our volunteers and the work of our organisation.
We see an exciting year ahead for Re:Vision.
Ultimately, it is the work that is important. I became a drug law reform activist at first because I have very libertarian views on drugs, but I stayed because I was horrified at the injustices being committed against human beings because of the view that drugs are ‘dangerous’. Our work is for the women drug mules who are currently languishing in our prison system, and prisons all over the world for taking an opportunity to earn money to support themselves and their families. Our campaign is for the young men who have their futures ripped away from them for tiny mistakes they’ve made now. Our work is also to reverse the damage done to our budgets, national infrastructure, and the environment, but most of all it is about people. People caught up in a war that was declared on them by some of the most powerful institutions on Earth, whether they take drugs or not, and which has cost tens of thousands of lives. We must do everything we can to stop this.

 

This blog is the latest effort to mobilise young people. We will be updating it regularly with a variety of news commentary, features and updates to educate and inform young people (and everyone else) about the latest developments in the drug war. We hope it will be a useful communication tool, both from us to you, and from you to us. Please send us your ideas, comments and, if you feel productive, guest posts, either in the comments or through our comment form here
If we place a stall beside it, they will come.
Our first year has achieved much. Our second year will hopefully bring even more, as we don’t have to devote so much time and energy to determining the more mundane things like whether our equipment policy is compliant with charity law. We can just get on with what we’re all truly passionate about – the control and regulation of all drugs, the end to the drug war, and the protection and dignity of human beings. Onward to year two!