NORML UK – a review of the new campaign and its website

NORML UK logo

NORML UK

It’s always a good thing when a new cannabis law reform launches, the more organisations out there making waves the better. The latest campaign to launch – NORML UK – has its roots in the troubles at CLEAR earlier this year, indeed many of the founder members of NORML UK were very deeply involved in all the nastiness that went down, you can read about it here if you’re really interested.

NORML UK is the result of a group of people getting together to organise what they see as a campaign more in tune with the “cannabis community”, run on what they describe as “democratic” lines, free of what one of them desrcibed as the” tyranny” a leader would impose.

NORML – The National Organisation for the Reform of the Marijuana Laws –  is an American cannabis law reform outfit which has branched out into several countries around the world, so the name is now somewhat wrong, being as it is an international organisation and no longer just (American) “national”. It also uses the word “Marijuana”, meaning cannabis, so it does seem a sightly strange choice of name to adopt for a new UK campaign, but the acronym “NORML” is quite good and it may be that having an association with the long-established American organisation will prove useful, only time will tell on that one.

So what of the new “NORML UK”? It actually launched on Facebook a month or so ago and got off to something of a bad start in my books. It was pretty obvious that anyone involved in the organisation felt free to post whatever they liked under the NORML UK banner. As a result of a couple of posts on their Facebook page, issues which have been resolved, I tried to find out the name of the person authorised to speak on behalf of NORML UK who would be the point of contact for any formal dealings. It turns out there isn’t anyone actually “in charge” and no specific person to act as spokesman. After some time, the situation was explained to me by one of the “board members”

If you send us an email asking us our opinion on something, then whoever is monitoring the inbox that day will either reply in accordance with our principles and precedents, or forward it to someone more competent to reply. If it is outside that, they will consult with either a few or all other members depending on the complexity of your request. The only spokesman will be whoever is reading the email that day. We’ve got people assigned to specific areas, but they’re not all people who want to answer emails.

So getting a quick reaction out of NORML UK is going to be difficult, and holding anyone accountable next to impossible, a bureaucratic  structure like that is going to make policy development pretty difficult, indeed it makes the structure of the old LCA look positively streamlined  in comparison.

The website launched recently and can be seen here NORML UK  and it is distinctly underwhelming to be brutally honest, content is minimal and it was clearly written by committee.

The front page is very neat, a wordpress (?) copy of the American original in basic appearance. Of course it features one of those sliders which are turning up on just about every website these days, with some tidy graphics pointing to sections of the site also linked to by buttons along the top. Below this is are links to “latest news” and “Most popular”, which given the lack of content at the moment are pretty similar.

To the right is a sidebar that appears on every page containing a subscription form and below that, under the heading “We want change”, links to individual parts of the charter, more about that later. Below that links to the Facebook page.

It isn’t being unkind to describe the front page as “minimal” to be honest, but what of the site content?

The buttons along the top link to:

“Home” – the front page,

“About” – the mission statement

NORML UK seeks to gain recognition for the rights of people to peacefully pursue activities relating to cannabis without unwarranted intervention by the authorities

As a brief summary of intent, that’s not bad. As we will see though, they do accept there will be quite a lot of intervention by the authorities and we are not told what sort of interventions NORML UK considers “warranted”. We are told that

Our founding member (sic) are a diverse group of people from all walks of life who have one thing in common: passion for individual freedom, responsibility, and liberty.

Freedom and liberty as two distinct things is an interesting concept. It’s obvious though that the thrust of NORML UK isn’t about controlling the cannabis trade, supporting proper regulation over the supply side or anything like that, in that respect it is very much back to the old LCA and is unlikely to offer much for people who don’t use cannabis but do oppose prohibition.

There is then a section on the medical campaign, which is fair enough and then a section on “The right to choose”, a phrase right out of the old LCA. They do – almost – make the point that prohibition is not drug control

The notion of ‘controlled drugs’ is a misleading if not harmful one to say the least.

By leaving the ‘controlled drugs’ market in the hands of criminal gangs we not only enrich and empower dangerous criminals, we also leave young people vulnerable to misinformation and exploitation.

But that seems to be as far as they go regarding the sort of drug control they would like to see, instead NORML UK seems to regard itself as a general drug law reform group, fighting for the rights of all drug users, stating

 We advocate an evidence-based and liberty-informed approach to the regulation of the use of all such substances, including cannabis.

That opens up a minefield of issues which frankly can only distract from the core aims.

Also within this section is an outline of the founding members and their roles within the organisation, so we can see that while there is no spoke person, there is a “Political director” and an “outreach director”. There is also a page featuring “Honorary members”, which so far only features Jeff Ditchfield and Howard Marks.

“Learning zone” – It’s not really obvious what the focus of this section is

There are just a handful of posts so far, one of which claims “Cannabis Cuts Lung Cancer Tumor Growth In Half, Study Shows”, which is actually a misleading headline as the study the report links to actually shows that THC, not cannabis as such, has this effect. They really should be more careful with their writing to be fair.

Another post on the page about cannabis coffeeshops features two Youtube videos that don’t play.

At time of writing nothing has been added to this section for the past two weeks.

“Forum” – a place for discussion at some time in the future. From experience it takes time to grow a forum, it’s probably a good idea to leave it off the site for a while – the more so seeing as they have an active Facebook page. Indeed, Facebook has all but destroyed many forums around the net over the past couple of years, so it’s questionable if it’s worth having one at all and having a dead forum sort of gives the impression of a dead site.

“Charter” – which is a statement of basic aims, which really should belong in the “About” section

The NORML UK charter is another good example of something written by committee. For example the Freedom charter states

We assert the right to refuse any form of drug testing except where an impairment assessment is necessary to prevent harm to others.

That sounds good but as anyone who’s been involved in this debate for any length of time will know, this is a minefield. They are specifically talking about drug testing here, not impairment testing such as walking a straight line or judging the passing of time. The issue we will be facing soon in relation to driving, for example, will test this statement severely. Also, what do they mean by “prevent harm to others”? Does this include youth workers, teachers and so on? Who defines what “prevent harm to others” actually means?

The “Regulation charter” states

Persons of appropriate age should be entitled to access a range of quality and readily identifiable cannabis products of all types from specific retail outlets and community projects. Commercial enterprises ought to be licensed and pay tax or duties as determined by government.

So what is an “appropriate age” in the view of NORML UK? What do they mean by “readily identifiable cannabis products”? Are they proposing regulation of strength and potency, some form of grading? How would a licencing system work? Are we talking about a similar regime to the one that applies to alcohol, with cannabis “pubs”? These are all issues that have proven to be very divisive in the law reform movement over the years, they are going to have to be more specific than that.

“Blog” – a blog, which seems to be a random collection of personal opinion, reviews and news commentary.

And finally there is

“Join” – a way for you to send them money. You can join for £15 a year, or £45 if you like (and you get a free T shirt, stickers, wrist band and a jar if you pay the extra). Students, OAP, or people on benefits pay £7.50

Nowhere in all this does it tell you how to join the board though, are there to be elections, annual meetings and so on, or is it a closed group of friends unwilling or unable to accept new people?

The website is very thin on detail, which is probably due to the fact that these issues haven’t been properly thought through yet, but any campaign that wants to be taken seriously really does have to flesh its case out a bit better.

How it will respond to press requests for policy statements isn’t at all clear given the collective structure outlined above, inquiries from the press need a rapid response from a named individual and they just don’t seem set up to provide that.

I suspect NORML UK will evolve  fairly rapidly, it’ll have to if it wants to be taken seriously.

So welcome to the world of cannabis law reform campaigning for NORML UK. Let’s see what you can do for the cause.

________________

Edited Friday 29th June to add the NORML UK constitution is on the site, although it’s not easy to find. They have used the American English term “Bylaws” (which means something different over here) and is linked from the bottom of the page. Look carefully and you’ll find it.

Also the comments that follow have been dominated by people attacking CLEAR, rather than discussing the real content of this blog. I’ll leave the comments – some of which have come from NORML UK board members – online as a record, be warned some are extremely offensive. I have deleted several posts which I considered libelous.

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About UKCIA

UKCIA is a cannabis law reform site dedicated to ending the prohibition of cannabis. As an illegal drug, cannabis is not a controlled substance - it varies greatly in strength and purity, it's sold by unaccountable people from unknown venues with no over sight by the authorities. There is no recourse to the law for users and the most vulnerable are therefore placed at the greatest risk. There can be no measures such as age limits on sales and no way to properly monitor or study the trade, let alone introduce proper regulation. Cannabis must be legalised, as an illegal substance it is very dangerous to the users and society at large.

54 comments on “NORML UK – a review of the new campaign and its website

  1. mahargsmith

    When normluk first appeared I accurately predicted that it would very quickly become a platform for yet more hate campaigns against CLEAR.This was born out on the main norml page which had to withdraw its Welcome to normluk page after the same old haters and reformophobes used the site to get stuck into their old criticisms of anything and everybody.
    The men in charge at the genuine norml very soon found themselves faced with the same shortsightedness that peter reynolds found when dealing with the same people at clear.sanj choudray claimed he was made leader in his absence ??? greg the hoot magically became an outreach worker ??? An equally ludicrous medical director appeared and then disappeared ???.
    These ridiculous appointments combined with their “get more facebook likes” manipulations make the whole site look ridiculous and as you point out the failure to draw a distinct line between cannabis use and drug use places them in an awkward position when it comes to reforming the law on cannabis.
    David nutts evidence provoked virtually no comment whatsoever on normluk and they seem to struggle to provoke any meaningful comment or discussion about anything remotely connected to cannabis.
    I was barred from normluk on its first day no discussion just barred and when i posted an article about the launch on politics uk I was barred from there also.
    These ineffectual stoners failed to achieve anything prior to Peter Reynolds attempting to organise them and it is obvious that they will achieve even less without him.

  2. UKCIA Post author

    OK, let me say now I do not want this thread to degenerate into another stoner clan Vs Peter Reynolds shouting match. Please keep any comments to the issues of NORML UK. Thanks.

  3. mahargsmith

    My apologies,However I do feel that important UK cannabis related issues go unnoticed and some rather obscure stateside events are given too much airing on what purports to be a UK site.I have been a member and a supporter of the real NORML for many years and will continue to support them.The issue of membership will be of interest to me and I would like to know how many members are there before I join or buy any malibu stacey “stash jars” lol….

  4. TheCannabisGeek.Com

    I welcome NORML’s appearance on the scene, and think it’s ridiculous to expect them to have populated an entire website and approach within just a couple of months of inception.

    Nothing of note has been achieved in recent years in the UK, so it’s a bit silly to attack them. Which grand achievements have been made by others? I haven’t noticed any, so I don’t expect a brand new chapter to change the world in the space of 8 weeks.

  5. Chris

    We all know the author of this article is a supporter of Peter Reynolds and CLEAR and I’m sure most people will see it for what it is, i.e., sour grapes.

  6. Bertie Griffin

    I’m sure NORML UK will evolve and should certainly be taken more seriously now it is confirmed they do not have the support of Derek Williams, Marhag Smith and Peter Reynolds.

  7. UKCIA Post author

    No sour grapes were intended Chris. Fact is the content of the website is very thin and you do have a very bureaucratic structure.

    @cannabis geek NORML UK hasn’t come to this totally fresh, they have access to a wealth of experience and facts to draw on, both from UK sites and the American NORML Indeed, wasn’t that the whole point of joining up with NORML USA?

    @Bertie I’m sure NORML UK will evolve, it’ll have to if it is to be taken seriously by anyone in the long term. As I said, time will tell and actually I do wish it well.

  8. mahargsmith

    >TheCannabisGeek Dont get me wrong geek I am as passionate about reform as anybody.I have been in touch with other norml chapters and they are as bewildered as me about the number of facebook likes arriving almost instantaneously on norml uk who havent even bothered to sort out a library/database.Swift and accurate rebuttal of press misinformation is the sharpest tool in the box when it comes to effective canpaigning and I see no informative responses coming from norml uk.Perhaps this will change in time as the leadership of normluk will also change no doubt.

  9. Greg de Hoedt

    Derek, did Peter Reynolds the fascist leader of LCEAR that refused to be sacked ask you to write this after Toke f The Town published a blog detailing how CLEAR have been accessing old members bank accounts and stealing money and refusing to pay it back? Why don’t you do a blog about that? Seems like you are a bias cherry picker like Reynolds himself. Oh yeah, I forgot you sided with him when he called the police of medicinal cannabis patients that asked questions on a Facebook page.

    Derek Williams, non toking Nazi supporter.

  10. mahargsmith

    Well that didnt take long did it? What kind of criticism is “non toking” lol…Greg is a source of constant entertainment and he will be a good source of amusement for those he “outreaches” to I hadnt bothered to look at the normluk website but having done so I think there has been a bit of a klondyke style title grab going on so I now wish to be known as….
    Maharg Smith criticism and gentle teasing Director normluk (NON AFFILIATED DIVISION)

  11. Bertie Griffin

    As I already stated…”I’m sure NORML UK will evolve and should certainly be taken more seriously now it is confirmed they do not have the support of Derek Williams, Marhag Smith and Peter Reynolds.”No more needs to be said,Clear is fucked led by a racist bigot and followed by racist bigots eh Maharg…I am so glad that Norml UK formed from the ashes of Clear as there is now credible Cannabis Law Reform group that actually represents the cannabis community at large, and so are 6000 other folks with more joining the ranks everyday, as opposed to a right wing bigot writing begging letters for cash,no doubt to pay his exorbitant bar bills.And Derek it really does read like “sour grapes”.

  12. mahargsmith

    I think that Dereks critique of normluk is accurate and valid.Derek has a good grasp of what is required for effective campaigning.
    Dont start falling back into self destructive hate filled behaviour would be my best advice for normluk.Greg calling Derek “a non toking nazi” is inappropriate and wholly unjustified and personifies what is wrong with him as an individual.I have no alignment whatsoever with Greg he doesnt represent my views and nor would I wish him to.What normluk does or does not do is not of very much importance as I have just heard there are fewer than 20 members

  13. grant higgins

    wow first time i have been on this site.
    just like to say i disagree with everything written on here.

    i hold Normluk in the highest regard.
    those that are running it are doing a grand job and should be commended for their efforts.
    they have my utmost respects for them.

    childish effort to smear Normluk
    well done greg i think your comment is spot on.

  14. UKCIA Post author

    OH dear oh dear

    This is entirely my own work, I was not encouraged to write it by anyone else, it is simply the latest critique of the law reform movement to be added to this blog. Actually, I had intended to write it a week or so back but real life has been getting in the way.

    Greg, you really do need to get a grip mate, you are a high profile committee member of NORML UK and calling people “nazis” can only bring you and your orgnaisation into disrepute.

    How about addressing some of the issues I’ve raised?

  15. antimatter

    Derek W, You really are a festering puss filled boil on the arse of the canna community

  16. grant higgins

    what issues are you refering to Derek?
    i see you TRYING to pick issues in a group that i believe is a little over 2 months old.
    you even go so far as to attack the name.
    very small and rather petty.
    is britain not a nation?

    whats wrong with having the word national in the name please?
    can you tell me what the E and the A stand for in clear please?
    that isnt so clear.

    i see no issues.
    just a man with an axe to grind against the old LCA and those who oppose the new.

    the members of the old LCA have my backing even if i do not have all of theirs.
    this bickering has put me off activism.
    its childish get over yourselves and grow up.

  17. Bertie Griffin

    Well said Antimatter,And as for Maharg,”I think that Dereks critique of normluk is accurate and valid.Derek has a good grasp of what is required for effective campaigning.”…mwahahahaha,now I know you are just a troll and should be on the stage,in fact I think one is leaving at 12, destination Obscurity,Your seat has been reserved alongside Dwereks and PRick,

  18. Peter Reynolds

    The disgusting, abusive, playground bully behaviour of these idiots is so predictable. If only they could see how utterly ridiculous they look to the rest of the world.

    They are best ignored. They have never achieved anything. They never will achieve anything and they are simply a waste of time and attention.

    Give them enough rope and they’ll dsappear back into obscurity with just a bong and their sad, hate filled delusions for comfort.

    Move on. We have work to do.

  19. David Davies

    NORML UK have promised to publish full audited accounts and I can see how Peter Reynolds feels threatened by this

    CLEAR spent £14,000 and Peter has refused to provide details of the expenditure

    £10,000 on ‘activisim’ that’s very vague and having a convicted fraudster in charge of the accounts should mean that the CLEAR accounts are transparent

    NORML UK have got off to a good start, hope they keep it up

  20. Billy Gartside

    I’m sure Peter Reynolds has got more work to do.He’s got Doctors to impersonate,cheap whisky to drink and then he’s got to shave his pubic hair off so that he can post his swollen member on a swinger’s website.I’ve heard that Mr.Reynolds is after more cash so ‘please give generously to this dirty old man’.

  21. Peter Reynolds

    David, it is entirely false that CLEAR has refused to provide details of expenditure, just as all the scurrilous allegations made against CLEAR and me are entirely false.

    Anyone with an ounce of common sense can see straight through the pitiful nonsense that comes from this bunch of idiots. Just try opening your eyes and engaging your brain.

    I wish anyone well who is working towards the end of cannabis prohibition. Those who having failed to hijack CLEAR have now hijacked NORML are not genuine, sincere or well intentioned and time will inevitably reveal the truth about them.

    That really is all I the time I am prepared to waste on them. CLEAR has achieved more in putting the cannabis campaign onto a professional and effective footing than ever before in Britain. We are making real progress. Anyone who puts any faith or trust in Bovey, Chowdhary or de Hoedt will be greatly disappointed.

  22. David Davies

    Some of the new campaigns being planned by NORML UK are very exciting, what has CLEAR/LCA achieved Peter?

  23. Bertie Griffin

    “Anyone with an ounce of common sense can see straight through the pitiful nonsense that comes from this bunch of idiots. Just try opening your eyes and engaging your brain”….Too Right Peter,(or should that be Far right Peter),that is why people have left Clear and flocked to a new credible outfit that actually represents the cannabis community at large and not just those who seek to profit from it. And lets not get disrepute mixed up with “professionalism” huh as that is what you have brought to the table by the bucketful.

  24. Stuart Wyatt

    Peter, you have hardly produced ‘clear and concise’ accounts of where you spent the money. What was it, £12,500 in ‘campaign expenses’? Anybody asking for a breakdown of this figure on the CLEAR wall is quickly banned and their posts removed.

    You were convicted of fraud before Peter, weren’t you? You were sentenced to 18 months in prison for fraud weren’t you Mr Reynolds? In other words, you are a convicted fraudster. You can see why people have questions and concerns as to where the CLEAR money went.

    As for you Derek, are you seriously trying to say that this article and Mr Reynolds’ begging article just happened to come out on the same day by coincidence? lol.

    The disgusting, abusive, playground bully behaviour of Peter Reynolds is so predictable. If only he could see how utterly ridiculous he looks to the rest of the world.

    He is best ignored. He has never achieved anything. He never will achieve anything and he is simply a waste of time and attention.

    Give him enough rope and he’ll disappear back into obscurity with just a bottle of whisky and his sad, hate filled delusions for comfort.

    Move on. We have work to do.

  25. mahargsmith

    So let me get this straight….Normluk does not or refuses to take on board any of the helpful criticism offered by Derek Williams ??? The reasons for ignoring these helpful pointers are………??? Somebody on another campaign site is fond of a drop of scotch ???
    Silly Gartside?? wtf is wrong is wrong with swinging??? are you mad? me and mrs Maharg had so much fun on the swingers scene and you can shave or not shave your pubes without incurring any criticism from me.Whether you do or dont shave your pubes you have my blessing but it wont affect the laws on cannabis…
    stuart wyatt plagarising other folks comments and retyping them is not a constructive way of persuading anybody about anything and detracts from the substance of what has been said…
    whilst we are on the subject of good character lets examine the normluk founding members and prominent supporters
    greg the hoot criminal record (but still allowed the title of outreach worker without CRB checks)
    sanjy chowdray also has a recent criminal record and is a sexist cocaine abuser
    howard marks convicted drug importer no better than the vietnamese gangs we are fighting to get rid of at the moment
    Buffry another convicted drug importer who has hypocritically tried to justify his highly profitable drug importation business with some sort of cloak of human rights morality.
    So on the face of it we have a cabal of sexist plagarist swingerist cocaine fuelled criminals who want to sell jam jars for 45 quid a time but are above criticism.

  26. ggmb

    Derek, how can we fail to mention CLEAR when it is the behaviour and actions of Reynolds that galvanised his opponents into forming NORML UK,
    it is the only good thing to come out of his idiotic leadership of CLEAR the fact that he disgusted everybody that had any contact with him except the trolls and sycophants with their own petty agendas,

    “CLEAR has achieved more in putting the cannabis campaign onto a professional and effective footing than ever before in Britain. We are making real progress.”

    If you Peter are an example of such an effective and professional campaigner it is no wonder that you are now begging for funds, you should receive adequate funding on the merits and quality of your achievements and your level of professionalism, your begging speaks volumes,

    care to list any progress Pete as we still have prohibition and you like a faecal King Midas have turned everything you touch to shit,

    all I can see is failure across the board Pete,
    you have comprehensively alienated the majority of the cannabis community, users, groups and sites, you couldn’t have done a better job if you were actively trying to, is this an example of your “professionalism”?
    or you being “effective”? you better rattle that charity tin a bit more vigorously,

    how either of you imagine that you have any credibility left is as delusional and farcical as Peters claims of progress,

    Birds of a feather flock together and what a foul little pair you and Pete make, I’m sure you both will provide us with more evidence of your childish rhetoric and narcissistic delusions while we await your impending obscurity, not so much has been as never was.

  27. Bertie Griffin

    Well,I think ggmb has just about covered everything,though to that pair I would raise a troll maharg to make it a trio of “deluded professionals”.

  28. UKCIA Post author

    Oh dear oh dear. I said at the start of these comments that I wanted to keep the issue focused on NORML UK and not to degenerate into a slanging match over CLEAR. Sadly the usual crew – and it is the usual crew – just couldn’t resist.

    @ggmb – you have quoted something I never wrote and your comments aren’t even directed at me. Please do not abuse this forum with your own agenda.

    @ Stuart Wyatt, the same goes for your comments, they are totally irrelevant.

    @David Davis – again, there is no-one here by the name of “Peter”. However, you wrote “Some of the new campaigns being planned by NORML UK are very exciting”. Are they? What are they? Why don’t they tell us about them on their website?

    @Billy Gartside – your on moderation, offensive posts like that one from you above will not be tolerated.

    @ grant higgins – I think I made the nature of my comments pretty clear to be honest. As regards the name – which I said is a good acronym – it’s not a “national organisation”, it’s an “International” one. I don’t think the name matters too much to be honest, it’s only a name.

    The LCA was a joke, a very bad joke. I had hoped we’d moved on.

    As always, I pay by results. If NORML UK becomes a functioning campaign I’ll cover developments with interest and give praise where praise is due.

  29. UKCIA Post author

    @Stuart Wyatt – you have now posted two comments which my spam filter has caught. Although I can’t see any reason for it to have done this, your posts are off subject, highly offensive and I judge libelous.

    Again, I will repeat that you are not free to use this forum for your own petty agenda.

    I will also just say again – and whether or not you choose to believe it is not really my concern – but this blog was all my own work, prompted by nothing more than my interest in developments. Your constant accusations of some kind of plot is simply paranoia on your part.

    If you want to comment on the substantive points of my blog you may do so, otherwise please stop wasting my time.

  30. Bertie Griffin

    I don’t believe folks give a hoot what you write tbh Derek,this isn’t exactly a busy site now eh.But when it is obviously done in conjunction with Reynolds begging letter,then it is bound to cause ill feeling as sour grapes has a way of doing that,and it was your pet troll maharg, that couldn’t help himself,ye reap what ye sow eh,I guess

  31. David Davies

    Sorry I can’t give you any more information on any of the upcoming campaigns from NORML UK Derek as I was told about them in confidence by a founding member

    Very impressive though and I believe they’ll be very effective, could be the most effective thing the UK has ever seen

  32. UKCIA Post author

    @ David Davies – well, like I say I await with interest. Generally though it’s a good idea to let people know what’s planned and the way to do that is via the website, there’s not much point in having one otherwise.

    @Bertie Griffin – yeah, whatever.

  33. Stuart Wyatt

    OK Derek, I’ll keep my comments with discussing NORML-UK, and I’ll take you for your word that the timing of this article was just all a miraculous coincidence, while also ignoring the fact that you have been an avid supporter of Mr Reynolds and CLEAR.

    Moving on, NORML-UK has the backing of many real activists. When I say real, I mean people who have stuck their neck out on the line, stood up, and many have taken great risks to do so. You might dismiss me as a troll or a liar, but you can’t dismiss everyone. How many well known activists/organisations/charities support CLEAR?

    NORML-UK is run democratically, and it’s constitution from what I understand of it means that it will always stay that way. NORML-UK does not want the same thing to happen where an individual gets all the power. This has happened with both ukcia and CLEAR.

    Because NORML-UK is run by volunteers who do not have the means to pilfer an expenses account, things have been running slow with regards to getting the website set up and the information all on there. This was mainly due to them being let down by someone else due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control. Patience Derek. Rome was not built in a day.

    I too have heard about some of the up and coming plans with regards to getting the message out, and I am very excited by them. I too am not allowed to discuss the details, but it will be something quite unique and effective. I’m sorry you are not party to the information Derek.

    Many people cannot work with dictatorships. NORML-UK is not a dictatorship. I have genuine belief and faith in NORML-UK, and I trust the people behind it. All I can say is watch this space.

  34. UKCIA Post author

    It’s not a “miraculous co-incidence”, Stuart, you are seeing conspiracies where non exist. It really is all in your mind, honest.

    Yes I do support CLEAR as a campaign and I will criticise it if it does something I don’t like. Unlike you though, I don’t focus on personality issues.

    I don’t doubt NORML UK has the backing of some well meaning activists, so did the LCA for s time. That didn’t make it a functional or effective campaign though. It takes more than just good intent to run a campaign, one aspect of which is an ability to accept honest criticism as constructive.

    It does the organisation no good at all when one of the main members of the board – Greg de Hoedt – calls people “nazi supporters” (see above). That’s worse than childish.

    As regards the the so-called “democratic” nature of NORML UK, how come there is no apparent method of selecting the management board? The constitution (if it actually exists) isn’t online.

    So how is NORML UK actually run? How does its “democracy” actually work? How do members get rid of people on the board if they don’t like them?

    I’m not suggesting anything nasty is going down, only that some pretty obvious things aren’t in place yet and to be honest don’t even seem to have been thought about. Yet it’s collecting money from people…

    Perhaps just as importantly, how will it react quickly to press inquiries if there is no spokesperson? The somewhat laughable process outlined to me simply isn’t going to work, you must know that.

    Yes, apparently there are exciting plans as someone upthread has mentioned. Great, lets hear them.

    Stuart, you have been involved in several groups over the years and in that time you have moved from enthusiastic supporter to outright hostile troll in all of them. I see no reason to expect you to behave any differently this time.

    But yes, I’ll say it again: NORML UK is new, it may develop into an effective campaign and I hope it does. It isn’t there yet though.

  35. mahargsmith

    I could not agree more with your comments Derek.The tragedy of normluk as I see it is that all the hard work that has gone into getting the site started is immediately eclipsed by the stupidity of some of the supporters comments.Everyone who uses cannabis is not automatically a good person (my former mother in law being a prime example of this).I wonder if these highly vocal supporters have in fact even joined normluk or made any significant contributions towards it.The website is not a well thought out thing and unless a strong leader can be found then it will just be another chummy little group of “tokers” whatever that means.

  36. David Davies

    If you’ve found a big, strapping, strong leader you can look up to and blindly follow then that’s great Graham backwards

    For people who don’t need to be told what to do bu a STRONG leader then NORML UK is the group for you

  37. ggmb

    “@ggmb – you have quoted something I never wrote and your comments aren’t even directed at me. Please do not abuse this forum with your own agenda.”

    Sorry if answering two people in the space of one post confuses you Derek but then your apparent confusion allows you to ignore the entire content of my post and not address a single issue, you are as culpable as Reynolds is being the web master that did not raise a single objection to the abuse and accusations coming from him, we must assume that you agree with his assertions and rhetoric which makes you as much of a narcissistic attention seeking troll as he is, that is your agenda Derek. pretending to be a significant player
    in cannabis activism with a valid opinion,
    you never were and never will be especially after your association with Reynolds,

    you are the web master that allowed Reynolds to
    abuse and accuse every person, group and site that rightly disagreed with his style of leadership and behaviour, you raised no objections to any of it mostly because you agree with his assertions being a snide backstabbing troll yourself,
    you or he can not honestly or realistically be unbiased on the subject of NORML considering it was formed as an alternative to CLEAR and because of the destructive leadership of Reynolds which you assisted, it is you and Reynolds that has the agenda while others merely point out your hypocrisy, double standards and obvious bias, what next Derek are you going to discuss making an omelette
    without breaking any eggs?.

  38. Stuart Wyatt

    “Yes I do support CLEAR as a campaign and I will criticise it if it does something I don’t like. Unlike you though, I don’t focus on personality issues.”

    So Derek, you have been quite ok with Peter Reynolds being a racist, homophobic and sexist bully? You are fine that he has managed to spend £14,000 of donations and subscriptions without giving a full account of where that money went? You are ok that he has been caught out lying about his past many times? You are fine with the way that he bullies, censors and bans people for speaking ‘out of turn’? You are fine with him unconstitutionally sacking the executive committee after they had already removed him from his post? None of these are ‘personality issues’ Derek, and you well know it.

    “Stuart, you have been involved in several groups over the years and in that time you have moved from enthusiastic supporter to outright hostile troll in all of them. I see no reason to expect you to behave any differently this time.”

    Yes, I admit that I have been outspoken and that I have criticised groups and people in the past, and my reasons back then were just as valid as they are now. I also admit that I have had blind faith in people and organisations before – There was a time when I held you in high esteem and thought that you were an important and influental person on the cannabis scene – we all make mistakes Derek.

    On this subject, there has been one person who has been at the centre of most cannabis activism drama for the past decade hasn’t there Derek? Who might that be? This person almost alienated as many people as Peter Reynolds has. Who might that be Derek? Ring a bell?

    This article is yet another in a long line of you trolling the community, provoking strong reactions and refusing to address points directly. Why do you do it?

  39. UKCIA Post author

    @ David Davis – this issue of whether a leader is needed or not isn’t a new one, it’s very old, oft trodden ground.

    Two examples in recent history:

    The old LCA – run by someone who absolutely insisted there could never be a leader. Result – a totally useless joke of a campaign.

    The Green Party – Up to the early 2000’s it was also opposed to the idea of a leader. It eventually changed its mind and since then has gone on to get elected to Parliament.

    Leadership by committee doesn’t work I’m afraid and there does have to be a “line” which is enforced and for which someone – a named person – takes responsibility.

    But not only that, any democratic organisation must be accountable – that means having accountable people who can be thrown out by the electorate.

    What would happen if, for example, the Daily Mail contacts NORML UK for a quote? It gets referred to the management body who decide on an answer and then get back to the Mail. Yeah, sure.

    It’s not going to work.

    @ Stuart, I noticed you didn’t actually address any of the issues regarding NORML UK I raised? As regards me, the only thing you need to know about me is my views on cannabis, the rest is none of your business. I offer UKCIA as an explanation of my views on cannabis law reform, take it or leave it. You are a troll and a trouble maker well known to me over the years, just look how often you’ve popped up in this thread.

    Tell me please, where is the NORML UK constitution, how does its so-called “democracy” work? You’re so enthusiastic about it, here’s your chance – explain it to us.

    @ ggmb – if NORML UK presents itself as a cannabis law reform campaign then fine, it isn’t an “alternative” to CLEAR, it’s just another campaign. If it gets bogged down with this anti Peter Reynolds rubbish it’ll die a death. Get real for heavens sake.

  40. Stuart Wyatt

    Derek, I’m not a part of the NORML executive, and until I’m not currently even a member (I’m waiting til payday before I join). I am however in communication with a few of the NORML executive. If you have detailed questions about how NORML is run, then why not ask them directly?

    As for their constitution, there is a link on every page. http://norml-uk.org/bylaws/ – did you miss it? It clearly states how the organisation is run, and how people can be voted in and out.

    You state “Leadership by committee doesn’t work I’m afraid and there does have to be a “line” which is enforced and for which someone – a named person – takes responsibility.” – says the dictator of ukcia in backing up his fellow dictator in CLEAR. It’s ok, we understand the line you are taking and the reasons why you are doing it. Your only defence is to call me a troll and a troublemaker.

    While you and Peter play in the sandpit and make castles, the actual community who you both claim to represent will have a go at collaborating and representing ourselves thanks. xx

  41. UKCIA Post author

    @ Stuart – Yes, I did miss that, I looked for “constitution”, which really should be under “About us”.

    How did this confusion come about? The term “By law” in this context is an American legal term, in the UK “By law” means something totally different

    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/bylaw

    In the UK “ByLaw” means

    > a law made by local government that only relates to its particular region

    In the USA it means

    > a rule which governs the members of an organization

    One of the problems of joining up with a foreign organisation maybe? Perhaps you could point this out to them?

    Linking to such an important document with an obscure link (I found it – right at the bottom of the page) is just bad website design anyway.

    But wouldn’t it have been good to have simply pointed that out way upthread? Or did you have to ask them where it was yourself?

    It’s not me that says leaders are needed Stuart, it’s experience. But anyway, you can have fun trying.

    Now stop going on about CLEAR, your point has been made and noted, there really isn’t any point in you keeping on.

  42. ggmb

    “@ ggmb – if NORML UK presents itself as a cannabis law reform campaign then fine, it isn’t an “alternative” to CLEAR, it’s just another campaign. If it gets bogged down with this anti Peter Reynolds rubbish it’ll die a death. Get real for heavens sake.”

    You really are hilarious Derek, would that be the “anti Peter Reynolds rubbish” that prompted the very formation of the group you are currently trying to rubbish due to the personalities involved?, it was formed directly in opposition to and as an alternative to CLEAR, you can deny many things Derek but you can not deny that reality or your
    involvement which you are currently attempting to distance yourself from by refusing to even acknowledge never mind address your part in turning CLEAR into a toxic den of vipers and abusive trolls.

  43. UKCIA Post author

    @ggmb – if that is what NORML UK is, then it’s only going to appeal to the narrow group of people who support your take on the world.

    I see a lot of noise from a group of people who mostly seem to live on Facebook and who flood feedback forums with the same comments over and over again, but it’s not reflected in the wider feedback I get. There’s a lot of posts here for example, but see how many have come from the same people (and at least one known sock puppet)

    You are not a movement – you might think you are, but you really do need to smell the coffee.

    Meantime, NORML UK needs to rename it’s “Bylaws” page “constitution” and make it much easier to find. That is actually very important and constructive feedback, I suggest you pass it on to them.

  44. Pierre Emply

    So far I dont know what NORML UK have achieved, they just appear to sit there doing nothing apart from raising a story that has been blasted around the internet several times already, I dont see any campaigning from them, no strategy, for me it is very very sad.

    When NORML-UK first launched on facebook I had to write to the headquarters in the USA to ask them to bring these cowboys? into line as they seemed more intent on attacking another more successful cannabis reform campaign, the page was taken down and since then it has been fairly decent in its behaviour apart from the odd snide remark.. but what do they actually do.. do they write day in and day out to the press complaints commission? have they set up any rooms in the houses of parliment to launch an innitiative about reform? have they invited peter hitchens of the daily fail to have a public debate? what have they done?

    Even so, I still wish them the best of luck as long as they stick to campaigning for reform, but to date I see very little campaigning, maybe it is just me?

    Derek I did not bother reading the replies here and its a case of the same ol same ol from the same ol faces, hardly worth my time to be honest and sure they have not made any valid points whatsoever.

    So please NORML-UK start getting your face into the faces of the prohibitionists and not other campaign groups.

    Also how much of uk membership money goes to the USA who are enjoying much more freedom that us in the UK in regards to cannabis?

  45. David Davies

    The difference between NORML UK and CLEAR is that Paul Flynn MP will work with NORML UK whereas he’s vowed “never to share a platform with Peter Reynolds again”

  46. Bertie Griffin

    Hahahaha,yeah right pet..er.. pierre,So rather than give to a new creditable reform pressure group,I see you would rather seek to derail it,very snide indeed which says everything you need to know about Clear,especially in light of your begging letter,so lets just get that straight shall we,Rather than give £ to Norml ,you would rather them give to You(an ex con thats already been imprisoned for fraud) mmmmm, now let me think,which one shall I donate to…..Not rocket science is it really

  47. Pierre Emply

    So Paul Flynn is working with Norml-uk?

    As for his vow never to share a platform this is just more heresay and no doubt when the truth is uncovered about this whole SILLY affair, those who acted like a politician holding a baby will realise what has gone on, I can see it, as do many others. Jealousy, simple as that and given that some “activists” make a very nice wad from prohibition, the hoohar from those so called “activists” is online for all to see should they wish to look closer, fairly obvious what went on really.

    So good luck to NORML-UK I for one will be very pleased to see something done by them which is actually contructive.

    I will be ignoring any more “he said, she said” petty remarks and will not hold my breath in hope of reading something that is doing the uk branch of Norml some credit, at the moment it is very bland to be perfectly honest.. but then again it is early days and wish them success because our goals are the same aren’t they?

  48. mahargsmith

    This kind of comment just doesnt make it onto the normluk page but pictures of crosseyed idiots smoking huge joint does……..Paul Myles Says:

    June 29, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    There is enough evidence above for action now, and now is the time for action, to reduce the huge waste of funds currently squandered in police and agency time.

    Also, severely limit the ability of the global corporations to aggressively market alcohol and hidden fructose and fats.

    We pay the cost of mopping up the largest cost to the nation, alcohol related harm, some £30 bn per annum, through our Council Tax and National insurance payments.

    It took from 1956 to 1997 for government(s) to action Doll & Hill’s evidence that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, the original excuse was to “protect British American Tobacco’s share price”

    I wonder who’s share price is being protected now?

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