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Grow Your Own Cannabis Community!

December 24, 2011

Get connected. Get collective.

The truth is out there now, and it is ever increasing in its social presence. It is down to us to make it even more widespread. Raising more awareness is where the cannabis community needs to start focusing their efforts. Who do we need to make more aware? Everyone! You may be involved with some level of activism already or you may not even realise that there is a community. For those of you that are reading this who consider themselves ‘awake’ to the cannabis situation I’d like you to think back to that moment when you realised…there’s more to this than just smoking weed. People claim that it was reading “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” by Jack Herer that opened their eyes, or watching The Union: The Business Behind Getting High a documentary that took a good look at behind the scenes of the illegal cannabis trade in Canada and the USA. It may have been as simple as seeing a comment on a Facebook story about the injustice behind cannabis arrests or seeing a story about the medicinal benefits of cannabis making life better for someone with a certain illness. There is no need to be ashamed of being a cannabis user or supporter so lets give people the chance to show their green side and pave the way forward to changing the stigma of cannabis users to a more neutral one.

This is a basic guide for those of you out there that want to step up their game and do their part for the cause, and, if you insert a little bit of joy, passion, and initiative into it, you will be able to start something new that could, and I hope will, last long into the future and play a significant role in changing the laws that punish normal people for at the most basic level just possessing a tiny amount of plant matter. The aim of these groups is to make a network in the UK whereby we can strengthen our movement politically, actively, and socially taking into consideration the public that we are trying to convince not to see us as monsters. When we build this net if we fall again it will not be so hard a landing and easier to find our way back to the stash again.

Before you jump the bong and make a duplicate group check the list of already running groups here.

1) Establish your cannabis group. 

  • Come up with a name. This has got to sound good when you say it, read nicely, and shouldn’t be too wordy. It also has to say what it is for example Sussex Cannabis Collective, London Cannabis Club, Wales Social Cannabis Club or Berkshire Cannabis Community; all groups which have been established in the later part of 2011 that look set and steady on growing through 2012 and into the greener clearer future. Let us not forget Kent Cannabis Consortium holding it up over on the east coast!
  • Create a Facebook page as a group or organisation titled with your new group name. I am sure by now you are all well aware of the advantages of Facebook’s sharing and liking facilities so put them to good use and keep track of the figures as they grow.
  • Start a Twitter account. There is a huge cannabis community on the short status social network that has been a great asset in sharing news stories and updates quick with a really large number of people that can help share your stories and tweets more by Retweeting your tweets. Posting pictures of local buds is a good way to get interactive with people and you can use the # key at the front of a word like #weed (known as a hashtag) and anyone following the word #weed will see your tweet in their feed. Probably one of the easiest networks to use, requires very little effort and can yield a great response if you give it the little effort it requires.
  • Get a logo. Image is very important in this day and age. If your logo is shoddy or a doesn’t represent what it is meant to be representing (a local cannabis club) then it isn’t going to be effective in making people want to look a bit further if they see it. This is not to say that it has to be complicated. Most of the groups that have set themselves up are going about by using their coat of arms (if applicable) and then adding a cannabis leaf and the text with the name of the group. Something simple is usually quite effective, especially when social media sites make avatars so small. If you aren’t handy on a graphics program there are lots of people that are and would be able to knock something up reasonably fast.

2)  Set out your aims/identity.

People are going to want to know something about your group so it’s probably going to be a good idea if you put together a little paragraph or two to let people know what your aims are.

  • To create a network and community. This already exists and it is just a case of bringing people together so they know they belong. This shows us we are here and outsiders that we are here and we don’t think anything is wrong with what we do or love.
  • To make people more aware about cannabis and more importantly the TRUTH about cannabis and the TRUTH about prohibition.
  • To be an interactive body that can raise and gain an awareness of the cannabis events in the area. This includes political stories, police raids that have been taking place, reports of contaminated weed around or anything that cannabis consumers should be made known about. When we have no regulation it is important we provide as much help to our fellow herbalists as possible.

3) Making it bigger.

The idea behind this is to grow, to see the numbers or shares and likes go up through the tens, the hundreds, the thousands and then into the multiples and beyond. This is how we know we are reaching more people and it really is quite simple and self serving once you have got a bit of the ground work laid down.

  • Don’t continue to do this on your own as it starts to take off. It could become a drag if you feel like you are the only one to be doing anything. The best way to sort this out is to keep your eye out for people that say they want to help or upgrade someone’s page abilities that have been posting frequently or post good stories. Even that little bit of a confidence boost could spur them on more and make the whole thing step up a notch!
  • Post the latest news stories about cannabis in your area. This is easy all you have to do is set up alerts on the news tab in Google search and when the stories come through you can post them on your page. Local newpapers, national newspapers, radio and anything else is good content and the more of it relevant to your group’s area the better. This is all about localizing the movement.
  • Find out about your MP’s cannabis opinion and political stance (often they will conflict) and keep your members up to date with any correspondences you have with them. Knowing your enemy is good but not knowing that you might have an ally is much worse.
  • Build a rapport with your fan-base and community. Ask them questions in your status’ about the strains they smoke on, ask what the price is in their particular locality or what their stories about local police interactions are. Be creative but make your page a fun place for people to be bothered about coming back to.

4) Generate new media. Content is important.

Eventually you should get to the point where things are starting to circulate. There is only going to be so much content that we can share though and if we want to get people in the know we can’t simply rely on commenting on mainstream media stories. Not everyone is into Facebook or Twitter, or can put that they like cannabis on their page because of work and the unjust stigma we are trying to change. But they might like to read news stories about cannabis every now and then. If you can be the source that they get their news stories from, you are providing the resource for positive change, not only in your area but for the country.

  • Start a blog for your group. There are lots of blogging sites so if you can’t get on with one you will be sure to get on with another. This blog is written in WordPress and the Clear UK website is also based on that platform which makes it a good choice because you can like and follow other blogs which will help strengthen our community more and possibly reach into a new audience on WordPress.
  • Once a week is not much to have to do and it can be a basic post just linking all or some of the cannabis news stories that have been published with a comment about each under the link or a comment about the overall week. Not only does this serve to get information out to a wider audience but it creates a record and archive for us to be able to see where we have progressed from.
  • There are plenty more ways to generate media. Strain reviews from community members might make it interactive if you can let them submit things too. A YouTube account has been a very effective way at getting the word out, especially about personal opinions or just uploading a clip you saw on Police, Camera, Action from your town.

5) Real world interaction.

So we have managed to establish our new cannabis social group on the internet and we are pleased that the likes, shares and comments are coming in. All the while we are reaching an online audience with success, the tokers in your town that don’t care about the internet are being ignored. We need to reach out to them as well, so maybe getting out of your house/comfort zone every now and again if you are able to and putting up posters/flyers and writing to your local papers would go some way to aid this part of the campaign.

  • Putting up posters and handing out flyers. Pick your places – is there a University in your town or city? There might be multiple ones. Clubbing together with a couple of members to get some printed up and meeting to hand out flyers at the campus can go a long way. It can also act as a good team building event and you never know what handy person you might bump into while you are on your activism mission.
  • Put up a notice in your local shops if you feel cheeky enough. The local community board at your village hall might have the open space to post something up. If you face hurdles or denials use them as an excuse to draw attention to the situation. Write to your councilor and tell them you think it is unfair that you cannot put a flyer up on a community board about a community group in your local community. Basics, and it doesn’t have to go into depth.
  • Organize a local meeting. If you are feeling brave and up to it, and you feel like you have enough support in the area you are trying to represent or make a representation for, get together with a group and organize an event at a town or village hall/meeting place. Church hall space? What is wrong with appealing to local groups in our outer community that should be supporting the end of prohibition? Surely the Church cannot support Vietnamese gangs’ human trafficking and child slavery in their town so we should get them to get behind us. The Sheffield Quakers for example have said they support the cause.
  • Bring the Cannabis Truth Road Show to your town!

Sanj Chowdhary, head of the MP’s campaign at Clear – Cannabis Law Reform has written up this fantastic blog on the Clear site to tell you more ways that you can become active in the real world and within your immediate local community. If people can start implementing the democratic processes we have in the UK we might have a speedier chance of getting things changed for all of us for the better than if we are just talking about it too!

Despite these things seeming like a big challenge when you break them down, take them easy, and realise the bigger picture that we do (unfortunately) have time to grow this movement before prohibition ends (and it is only going to end when we grow this movement) it can be done, and with little stress or time stolen away from your usual Facebook refreshing habits. It might not be you that is ready or able to do this task but you might know the person that does want to, or feels that they are ready – well, you might just even know someone that you think is up for the task and has the skills it needs to be done successfully. Share this guide and see if we can start something, it would be good to see a network rise up in 2012 that will help pave the way for the future and the campaigns that we plan on implementing in the near future.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. will permalink
    December 24, 2011 8:13 pm

    wheres northern ireland and the rest of britain on your logo we support legalisation to

    • December 24, 2011 10:45 pm

      I stole that image off another site, I did think it was a shame to leave it off…lots of cool graphics when the site is updated. Cheers for the support though! Keep coming back!

  2. Patrick permalink
    December 25, 2011 9:30 am

    Have an awesome Christmas day Greg!

  3. Meeman permalink
    December 28, 2011 10:02 pm

    The Home Office administers licences to grow low THC strains of cannabis for various parts of the production industry. It does not have cannabis on it’s list of bio-fuels though. High THC, and therefore highly cellulosic, cannabis is required to produce high quantities of clean burning low emission bio ethanol that passes all of the current fuel emission regulations.
    So the Home Office fails here. It will not licence high THC cannabis and does not have cannabis on it’s bio0fuel list.

    Can you help?

  4. Meeman permalink
    December 31, 2011 8:43 pm

    I’ve recently found out, as it’s well hidden in the Home Office’s web site, that the Home Office DOES grant licences for growing high THC cannabis, though not for bio-fuels, specifically.
    The low THC licence is £500 for the first crop and less for the following crops.
    The high THC licence is… are you ready?… £4700! A bit of a hike, don’t you think! A high THC content is required to make a substantial amount of clean burning bio-ethanol from cannabis but at this licencing price one would need a minimum of 2 acres of land (at 1800 litres of fuel produced per acre) to break-even, financially. A farmer with ambition could do it though they make more from products like home insulation or car body panels than from clean burning bio-fuel. Damn the Home Office’s money-grabbing scam!

  5. Meeman permalink
    January 1, 2012 4:57 pm

    To Cannabis Cure,

    Is this FCDA Report a real and legal work or a work of fiction and an internet scam?

  6. Meeman permalink
    January 2, 2012 11:11 pm

    Please Google FCDA Report. It’s a report that blows the whole ‘cannabis/marijuana is a drug/toxin’ thing out of the water and exposes the Prohibition of Cannabis(and various names thereof) as ILLEGAL, under both Constitutional/Common Law and also under the International Law of Human Rights.

    It goes on with much more and has been used to win legal court cases for cannabis-related offences.

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  1. UK Cannabis Social Clubs List (UKCSC) « cannabiscureuk

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