Cannabis Law Reform

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Cannabis Law Reform (CLEAR, formerly the Legalise Cannabis Alliance) is a de-registered UK political party which campaigns to end the prohibition of cannabis, most urgently for those who need it as medicine

History[edit]

Legalise Cannabis Alliance[edit]

2005 election campaign logo

The Legalise Cannabis Alliance (LCA) campaigned for the legalisation of cannabis for all purposes, including medicinal use, as biomass, hemp-based products, and recreational drug use. They fielded candidates in elections to the House of Commons and to local government

The party had origins in a pressure group formed in Norwich. It was registered as a political party in March 1999[1] after Howard Marks had stood as a legalise cannabis candidate in four different constituencies in the 1997 general election:[2] Norwich North, Norwich South, Southampton Test and Neath

The party used a Cannabis leaf image as its emblem and Cannabis : legalise and utilise[3] served as its election manifesto.

The first official LCA candidate in a parliamentary election was former mayor of Carlisle Colin Paisley in the November 1999 by election in the Kensington and Chelsea constituency. He took 141 (0.7%) of the votes.[4] The second was Derrick Large in the May 2000 Romsey byelection, who took 417 (1.1%) of the votes.[2]

Alun Buffry was the party's nominating officer. In local elections in 2000, the party stood five candidates in Norwich and one in Peterborough,[2] and the party stood frequently in local elections.[5]

In the 2001 general election the party had candidates in 13 constituencies, and their best result was in Workington, where John Peacock took 1040 (2.5%) of the votes.

In January 2004, cannabis prohibition in the UK was relaxed. Cannabis had been a class B substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, but became a Class C substance, and some saw this change as approaching decriminalisation.[who?]

In the 2005 general election the LCA stood 18 candidates in 21 constituencies.[2][6] This was eight more than in the 2001 general election, but included only six that had been contested in that previous election. In all these six constituencies the LCA suffered a fall in its share of the vote, and the average share across 21 constituencies was well down from that across the previous 13. Their best results were in Orkney and Shetland, Worthing East and Shoreham and Leigh.

In Orkney and Shetland, Paul Cruickshank took 1.8% of the votes. Thomas Hampson in Leigh and Chris Baldwin in Worthing East and Shoreham both took 1.5% of the votes.

In the 2005 general election the LCA stood in seven Welsh constituencies,[7] fielding enough candidates to qualify for a party political broadcast which aired on Welsh television and was also viewable in other areas of the country due to cable television and Freeview.

As well as calling for the legalisation of cannabis, the manifesto in Wales included campaigning against GM food, for lower fuel tax for haulage and transport firms, and support for recycling and renewable energy.[7]

The party met with then Home Secretary and Norwich South MP Charles Clarke in March 2006 to put their case for the legalisation of cannabis.[8]

The LCA voted to de-register as political party at a conference in Norwich on 11 November 2006, and continue as a pressure group. In 2011, however, a majority of the members voted to re-register as a party, and later 31 members voted and a majority of 19 elected Peter Reynolds as the leader, with Stuart Warwick as deputy leader and Janice Wells as treasurer. Members also voted to rename the group as the Cannabis Law Reform party, and it is now known also as CLEAR.

LCA election results[edit]

The highest percentage of the vote achieved by an LCA candidate was 2.5% by John Peacock in the 2001 general election, who obtained 1440 votes in the Workington constituency. The lowest achieved was 0.4% and 137 votes by Peter Reynolds in the 2012 by-election for Corby, standing under the CLEAR - Cannabis Law Reform party name.

Election Constituency or constituencies Candidate or candidates Votes Share (%) Change
1999 Kensington and Chelsea byelection Kensington and Chelsea Colin Paisley 141 0.7 N/A
2000 Romsey byelection Romsey Derrick Large 417 1.1 N/A
2001 general election Braintree Michael Nolan 774 1.5 N/A
Calder Valley Philip Lockwood 672 1.4 N/A
Carlisle Colin Paisley 554 1.6 N/A
Chelmsford West Herb Philbin 693 0.9 N/A
East Worthing and Shoreham Chris Baldwin 920 2.1 N/A
Edinburgh South Margaret Hendry 535 1.4 N/A
Hull North Carl Wagner 478 1.7 N/A
Milton Keynes South West Patman Denning 500 1.1 N/A
North East Fife Leslie Von Goetz 420 1.2 N/A
Norwich South Alun Buffry 620 1.5 N/A
Penrith and the Border Mark Gibson 870 2.0 N/A
Romsey Derrick Large 601 1.2 +0.1
Workington John Peacock 1040 2.5 N/A
2005 general election Canterbury Rocky van de Benderskum 326 0.7 N/A
Carlisle Lezley Gibson 343 1.0 -0.6
Carmarthen East and Dinefwr Sid James Whitworth 343 0.7 N/A
Carmarthen West and Pembrokeshire South Alex Daszak 343 0.6 N/A
Conwy Tim Evans[9] 193 0.6 N/A
East Surrey Winston Matthews 410 0.8 N/A
East Worthing and Shoreham Chris Baldwin 677 1.5 -0.6
Great Yarmouth Michael Skipper 389 0.9 N/A
Hull East Carl Wagner 182 0.6 N/A
Hull North Carl Wagner 179 0.6 -1.1
Leigh Thomas Hampson 415 1.5 N/A
Neath Pat Tabram[10] 334 0.9 N/A
Norwich South Don Barnard 219 0.5 -1.0
Orkney and Shetland Paul Cruickshank 311 1.8 N/A
Penrith and the Border Mark Gibson 549 1.2 -0.8
South Dorset Vic Hamilton 282[11] 0.6 N/A
Swansea West Steve Pank 218 0.7 N/A
Vale of Clwyd Jeff Ditchfield 286 0.9 N/A
Workington John Peacock 381 1.0 -1.5
Worthing West Chris Baldwin 550 1.2 N/A
Ynys Mon Tim Evans 232 0.7 N/A
2012 Corby by-election Corby Peter Reynolds 137 0.4 N/A

Top Gear appearance[edit]

In 2003, a representative from the party appeared on an episode of Top Gear. The representative raced representatives from five other political parties in an MG ZR.[12] The representative came in second place.

CLEAR[edit]

The members of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance voted to re-register to contest elections in February 2011 and to elect a leader. Peter Reynolds was elected leader. Proposals for a new identity and constitution were put to a referendum of the membership and passed by a two-thirds majority. The party re-registered with the Electoral Commission under its new name of CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform.[13]

The party commissioned a report by the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit, published on 14 September 2011, stating that a taxed and regulated cannabis market would save the exchequer £6.7 billion.[14]

Peter Reynolds stood as CLEAR candidate in the Corby by-election, 2012, taking 137 votes (0.38%).[15]

The party was statutorily de-registered by the Electoral Commission in November 2013.[citation needed]

As of 2014, the party states on their website:"We are not presently registered with the Electoral Commission as we are not currently intending to contest any elections." [16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Namesakes: A close call in politics, BBC News, 8 March 2000, accessed 21 July 2008
  2. ^ a b c d Pilcher, Tim (2005). Spliffs 3: the last word in cannabis culture?. Collins & Brown. ISBN 1-84340-310-2. 
  3. ^ Cannabis : legalise and utilise: a manifesto and information document 2006 (Second ed.). Legalise Cannabis Alliance. 2006. ISBN 0-9535693-1-4. 
  4. ^ "Fears for safety of missing former Carlisle mayor Colin Paisley". News & Star (Carlisle). 12 September 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  5. ^ Boggan, Steve (2 May 2006). "It's my party ...". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  6. ^ Grant, Wyn; Justin Greaves (2005). "Pressure Politics: Business as Usual but an Expanding Private Sector". The Palgrave Review of British Politics. 
  7. ^ a b "No campaign let-up as poll nears". BBC News. 23 April 2005. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  8. ^ "Clarke agrees to meet canabis group [sic]". Norwich Evening News. 4 March 2006. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "From puppets to politics in bid to legalise cannabis". North Wales Daily Post. 7 April 2005. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  10. ^ Morris, Steven (11 April 2005). "Cannabis pensioner takes on Hain in Neath stronghold". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  11. ^ "Knight 'inspires' swing to Labour". BBC News. 6 May 2005. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  12. ^ "The one with... The fastest political party". Retrieved 25 July 20213.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  13. ^ http://www.clear-uk.org/about-us/constitution/
  14. ^ http://www.idmu.co.uk/taxukcan.htm
  15. ^ "By-elections: Labour takes Corby from Conservatives". BBC News. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  16. ^ http://www.clear-uk.org/about-us/

External links[edit]