I think we are all reasonably comfortable with the idea that there is a significant correlation between mental health and cannabis. The argument that remains is in the nature of that correlation. Most (if not all) of us are in little doubt that people who suffer from a variety of mental health problems find that cannabis helps them. Consumption of cannabis, in this case, is effective self-medication.
If you accept this premise, then logically one can conclude that in a wide community of cannabis consumers and moreover a community of cannabis activists/campaigners will inevitably contain a high proportion of people who suffer from mental health problems. Add to that those that live with chronic physical problems plus all those who have been treated unfairly, vilified, persecuted, threatened, insulted, arrested, abused, supressed and generally made to feel “pushed to the fringes” for what adds up to a personal choice, then is it any wonder then that our community contains so many personalities, egos, agendas, angles, experiences, attitudes, approaches and beliefs?
That is a lot of angry, frustrated, sensitive and irritable people in one community. It is also not surprising that many within the community take their part in the cause deeply personally and can feel threatened by challenges, criticisms and/or alternatives. As a result things boil over too frequently, too loudly, too personally and most unfortunately too publicly. People act like people do, then other people get offended and over reach their response and you have a perfectly vicious little circle. There’s conspiracy and paranoia, suspicion and accusation. Not surprising, perhaps, given all the above, however it damages us all and when I see it, I can’t help but feel disappointed and a little deflated.
We are all flawed characters; none of us are perfect (most of us, far from it – and yes, I am speaking for myself!) and isn’t one of the things that we are all passionately fighting about; being judged without reason, truth, whole truth, nothing but the truth and yet we do it to each other. I’m not saying that challenges should not be made or that inappropriate behaviour should not be called out, but as people, I would have hoped that we could all show rather more empathy and be more supportive of each other and as a group we need a professional and credible public face to be effective and there is no way that this is going to happen whilst ever we can be seen to be focused on attacking each other.
There is one thing that ALL of us agree on. It is the single thing that has brought us together to fight for something that we all passionately believe in – the reasons why are interesting but ultimately unimportant. The effectiveness of each of our individual methods is up for (respectful) debate, but ultimately isn’t it the goal that counts?
“Legal access to Cannabis for Adults, Medicinal Cannabis for all”
So, next time someone from within our community does something/says something/produces something (or reacts to something) and you don’t like it, before you make a judgement, try to remember how YOU would like to be judged by our criminal justice system and apply the same criteria to your own judgement AND before you publicly (re)react, stop for a minute and with compassion, think about whether, for our common goals, your anger, energy and resources are best directed at an ally in our fight or at our common enemy? If you chose the former over the latter, then aren't you running the risk of being part of the problem rather than the solution?
Jon Liebling – Political Director of United Patients Alliance
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