“The government should not dictate our health choices. We have a human sovereign right to make autonomous health decisions free from the brutal interference of The State.”
Cannabis activist Phil Monk was suffering life-threatening side effects from prescribed Pharma drugs, including a brain haemorrhage, mini-stroke, and 2 cancer scares. After deep and extensive academic reading on the oppressed benefits of cannabis, he became the founder of We the Undersigned in March 2018. A community pressure group hoping to unite all branches of the oppressed cannabis community in a bid to bring about peace and the end of the government-led war on our community.
He is now on a quest for social change, by seeking to raise a legal challenge to the UK government for our UN-mandated fundamental human rights to freedom of consciousness, to private beliefs and practises, and to make autonomous health decisions free from the fear of discrimination, persecution and prosecution.
How far have you come with WTU, and where would you like to be in two years?
Not far enough for my liking.
It has been painfully slow through personal health and family issues, combined with the covid crisis, which has resulted in an extra year of delay.
In March 2021, it will be the 3rd year since I founded We The Undersigned Have a Human Sovereign Right to Cannabis and in some ways, we have made great progress and in other ways, it has been agonisingly slow.
It took over 1 year to find a solicitor willing to challenge the status quo, with all other legal firms refusing to represent the WTU community, for the same 3 reasons; it is highly political, would be very expensive and take a long time.
Although none said it was an impossible case!
We launched our first Crowd Justice fundraiser on April 20th 2019 and WTU took our first legal step on the 23rd December 2020, when Robert Jappie representing solicitor sent a letter outlining the WTU case and inviting the Secretary of State to respond to our points and amend the law to no longer infringe fundamental human rights.
Given the previous correspondence, I and many members have undertaken with the Home Office on behalf of the WTU community, we do not anticipate a favourable nor positive response.
It is anticipated that the SoS will refuse the WTU invitation to amend the law to no longer infringe the fundamental human rights, as highlighted in the WTU case document
The plan is to raise a Declaration of Incompatibility between the Misuse of Drugs Act and the Human Rights Act, which it is anticipated will also be refused, at which point a move towards a Judicial Review of the Secretary of State’s evidence and a decision will be undertaken.
Bringing us back to the original reason all other legal firms refused: too political, too expensive and take too long…but not impossible.
I pray that it won’t take another 2 years to succeed but given the backlog in the courts due to the covid situation, and government’s general reluctance to meaningfully engage and avoiding policy review or reforms, it will be a small miracle if WTU achieve our objectives any sooner.
The biggest problem to mount this case is raising adequate funds to cover legal fees, which is why We The Undersigned needs every person who is affected by cannabis prohibition laws in any way to join WTU and unite as one CannaCommunity will all members pledging £1 per month contribution towards campaign costs to increase our potential for a successful outcome.
We The Undersigned currently have approximately 6,000 members in our online Facebook group and the UK has an estimated 6.4 million people who consume cannabis for whatever purpose.
So WTU currently represents approximately 1/1000th of the UK’S cannabis consumers who have thus far raised approximately £8,000 for legal fees.
If more folks join us to make a stand with WTU for truth, justice and freedom, then our ability to fund a Judicial Review and mount a successful campaign will highly increase.
However, in the meantime, there are some significant challenges to cannabis law coming up in UK courts involving members of WTU that could precipitate legal precedent to alter the law once and for all.
I pray for a quick resolution as countless lives hang in the balance, whilst the harmful political policy of prohibition is maintained for political purposes and profit!
How important do you think GYO is?
Having been a home grower since 2014, seeking my own Herbal Independence Day and self-sufficiency from the unlicensed and uncontrolled cannabis market and now the extortionate private cannabis prescriptions, the right to sow the seeds of such a nutritious, therapeutic, spiritual and creative herb is paramount in my mind.
Especially when considering one can homebrew enough poison to drink oneself to death, alone or with friends, why should folks not have the same right to cultivate such a nutritious and therapeutic herb to protect and maintain one’s own health, wellbeing and happiness, or that of our loved ones?
Also, having lived a lifetime being poor, I believe in the inalienable human rights to be able to provide for oneself sustainably and not having to be beholden to any profit-seeking company to obtain whatever sustenance is required.
Furthermore, if companies can cultivate cannabis for profit, why is the individual not seeking profit but sustainability criminalised for the same act?
All people should have the right to cultivate cannabis for their own needs to nourish and maintain their endocannabinoid system to promote homeostasis leading to good health and wellbeing, without being subjected to the harms of prosecution for cultivating such a useful, nutritious and therapeutic herb.
Do you think the UK will ever legalise cannabis and are you for or against legalisation?
This is a commonly held misconception. Cannabis can’t ever be legalised as it has no agency.
Laws control, punish and profit from people, not plants or other inert objects and only the actions of individuals can be legislated to be legal or illegal.
This is why We The Undersigned campaign for the decriminalisation of all the unlicensed actions of cannabis cultivation, possession, preparation and distribution (social sharing) for non-commercial adult purposes and the legal regulation of the unlicensed and uncontrolled cannabis market for adult purposes.
Legalisation means more laws with which to control, punish and profit from cannabis consumers, as can be seen in Canada with the imposition of even more severe laws than before they changed cannabis legalisation for recreational purposes. Possession limitations, personal cultivation limitations, cannabis variety limitations and more, which serve to protect the invested interests of the blooming cannabis industry, instead of the rights of consumers and failing to incorporate the existing unlicensed cannabis market.
Imagine being prosecuted for possessing too much alcohol, or the wrong kind, or for it being stored or purchased in the wrong place?
That is what legalisation brings…prohibition mark 2!
It would have been more effective to have allowed all unlicensed cannabis cultivators and distributors to be given amnesty and equal opportunity to obtain a license to begin to trade legally with accountability and business taxes, thereby incorporating the currently unlicensed market into a licensed and legal market, becoming legitimate businesses. Instead of the corporate take over of cannabis as seen in Canada.
What would you ideally like to see as the cannabis status quo?
In my ideal vision for the future, we would see the complete end of cannabis prohibition laws, with an immediate amnesty for all currently unlicensed commercial cannabis cultivators and distributors having equal opportunity to become lawful businesses with licensed cultivators, distributors and vendors.
After all, cannabis isn’t factually a schedule 1 harmful drug with no therapeutic value and warranting Class B sentencing, but is humanity’s most ancient and traditional herbal health remedy, food supplement, non-toxic recreational drug, spiritual or creative aide and sustainable industrial resource.
So upon this scientific basis, cannabis shouldn’t be subjected to prohibition, stringent regulations nor licensing and neither should individuals have their lives destroyed by cannabis-related prosecutions.
The fundamental human rights of those who choose to consume cannabis for whatever purpose would be equally honoured, respected and protected by government, law and society as those who choose to consume government’s preferred, promoted and protected poisonous recreational drug alcohol or modern, side effects ridden prescribed pharmaceutical drugs.
Cannabis would be available as the primary medicine, instead of the final resort once all other pharmaceuticals had failed. This is important to me as pharmaceutical drugs caused me 4 life-threatening, traumatising hospitalisations from side effects, whilst cannabis hasn’t ever caused me any intolerable side effects at all.
There would also be equality between cannabis consumers and alcohol consumers with equal rights, protections and responsibilities for all. Those being the responsibility to cause no harm to others, the right to home grow for self-sufficiency, to have licenced venues to purchase and consume cannabis for adult purposes, with cannabis cafes, dispensaries and social clubs to enable our rights to the freedom of Association, hitherto denied under cannabis prohibition laws.
There would also be a period of expungements and financial restitution for those who have had their lives ruined by the harms of false prosecution for non-violent cannabis-related crimes.
Criminalisation has caused significantly more harms to individuals, communities and society than cannabis ever has, government research shows this but they choose to ignore and maintain their dogma to protect their invested interests.
In your opinion, what’s the difference between recreational and medicinal cannabis?
Ah, the great recreational vs medical debate! In short, there is no such thing.
There is only cannabis; either cultivated under licence or not under licence; one with quality control, liability, accountability, business taxes and profit-seeking shareholders; the other with no quality control, liability nor accountability, with no business taxes and often run by profit-seeking dealers or compassion clubs; all with varying plant profiles; cultivated to either high, low or mediocre quality.
Aside from these differences, that are a product of prohibition policies, the main difference is the intent of the consumer.
For example, a few years ago when I was home cultivating the cannabis variety “Jack Herer” (not under licence due to the discriminatory licensing practices of the Home Office) to improve my quality of life to manage the symptoms of my chronic myofascial pain from joint hypermobility spectrum disorder, arthritis and PTSD, is was classed as ‘recreational cannabis’ allegedly of Schedule 1 status and warranting Class B sentencing, but when the Dutch pharmaceutical cannabis product Bedrocan, which was originally Jack Herer, was cultivated and sold on private prescription, that was classed as ‘medical cannabis’ and schedule 2 status.
Both the same varieties of cannabis, both utilised for medical purposes, but one supposedly ‘recreational’ and the other ‘medical’ cannabis.
Furthermore, the highly profitable, UK homegrown ‘Cannabis-Based Medical Product’ Sativex is also made from the root of the mythical ‘cannabis causes psychosis’ recreational cannabis variety Skunk #1!
Which creates the question; how can the same varieties of cannabis be both medical and recreational?
There is only cannabis, in all the 10,000 plus varieties, each with their own unique profiles of different ratios of phytocannabinoids, nutrients and terpenes, found in the essential oils of the trichomes of herbal cannabis flowers.
In my opinion, this medical vs recreational is another divisive and misleading binary paradigm created by prohibitionists to justify the maintenance of their failed and harmful, yet highly profitable, political policy of cannabis prohibition, and to control reforms through the narrow medical focus.
I suspect it was initiated through the idea of generating compassion for the poorly yet maintain justification to continue to persecute the healthy ‘hedonists’ whom may also choose to enjoy the many benefits of cannabis, whilst not consuming for the purpose of managing a specific medical condition.
Reducing stress improves health and wellbeing. Generally speaking, the overwhelming majority of people choosing cannabis do so to make themselves feel better, even though they’re not treating a specific condition, they are still receiving prophylactic medical benefits.
For example, cannabis is a highly nutritious herb, which can be great for relaxing, whilst being significantly less harmful than alcohol, can enhance creativity, spirituality and physical endurance, maintains homeostasis, encourages neurogenesis, is highly therapeutic, non-toxic and can be a sustainable industrial resource.
Cannabis prohibition protects invested interests not people!
Do you think there’s still a stigma surrounding medicinal cannabis?
Yes, some stigma remains but it seems to be reducing at an exponential rate in terms of social acceptance, whether for medical or other adult purposes.
Although, I was discriminated against when I was refused an opportunity to create an after school club to develop the love of literature for children at my local school, as I am a non-practising literacy teacher and wanted to give something back to my community.
Unfortunately, the Diocese of Bristol “couldn’t be seen to condone illegal practices”, whilst in the same week, they allowed tables of the legal drug alcohol at child eye height for the school fair!
Many opinion polls indicate all we need is for the fossils in Westminster to die out or catch up with The People and the fact that cannabis has the potential to improve lives, protect our environment and save our economy if it can be unlocked from their unjustified and unfounded prohibition.
I have been covertly utilising cannabis since 1996 and overtly campaigning against cannabis prohibition since 2014.
Initially, in 2014, I campaigned for medical cannabis, until I learned the truth about prohibition, how long government have to know the truth about cannabis and their conflicting interests, so now I campaign for human rights, truth and justice.
In that time I have seen a radical change in both public, professional and authoritarian opinions relating to cannabis and the stigmatisation of people who choose cannabis for any purpose has been narrowed to exclude those who choose cannabis for medical purposes.
It seems to me that the system is being amended, and society conditioned, to no longer condemn people who choose cannabis for medical purposes and to have access to highly profitable cannabis-based products, for those sick enough to qualify, whilst the unjustified prosecution of healthy people who choose traditional herbal cannabis for other adult purposes will continue.
Unfortunately, prohibition policies, investments in cannabis patents and the Proceeds of Crime Act have become highly profitable, which could be a root problem for the political apathy, reluctance and misfeasance to end the devastating consequences of the government-driven ideological war against people who choose cannabis.