A pro-cannabis rally was held in Redcar to “start a sensible debate” on legalising the Class B drug.
It was held by Teesside Cannabis Club at Redcar Rugby Union Football Club’s fields on Green Lane on Saturday afternoon.
John Holiday, 30, from Middlesbrough, started the club as his interest in the medicinal qualities of the drug grew.
“We have had five get-togethers in the North-east but not on this level,” said John, who registered the group six months ago.
“We have got three main areas: medicinal, recreational and industrial.
“This rally gives people a hands on approach, a chance to get involved with other like-minded people.
“Everything happens down south so this is to give people something to get behind in the North-east.
“We got permission from the rugby club and we’ve had meetings with the police.”
John began using cannabis for medicinal reasons several years ago when he suffered with Crohn’s Disease style symptoms which saw him hospitalised having lost a lot of weight.
“I had negative experiences with prescribed medication – tramadol addiction, various side effects,” he said.
“I take cannabis in a capsule instead now, it’s coconut-infused cannabis oil. I do smoke it recreationally too.
“Five years ago my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. He had all the chemo and radiotherapy and had positive results in the beginning but the side effects of that was it killed off his immune system and he passed away last June.
“We didn’t get the chance to trial cannabis with him, it’s very hard to make the cannabis oil to treat cancer and it’s not something you can do legally in the UK.”
Colin Richardson, 41, from Pallister Park, Middlesbrough, said: “I have been using cannabis since I was 11. You don’t hear of people using cannabis committing crimes. It’s different from other drugs.”
Rolfie Lokikush Larsen, 37, from Guisborough, said: “It’s just time to have a sensible conversation about this. We’re talking about a plant at the end of the day.
“It’s time people realised that stoners are responsible people who can hold down jobs and bring up kids. I am a single father of two children and work as a volunteer for Guisborough museum.
“Cannabis should be on the same level as alcohol and cigarettes. It should have the same restrictions.”
Cleveland Police checked in on the peaceful rally throughout the event.
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 03 Aug 2014
UKIP’s first MEP for the region has talked of his party’s ambition to shatter the dominance of long-standing Labour strongholds.
Former maths teacher Jonathan Arnott, who lives in Guisborough, Teesside, said Ukip is now challenging for power in areas across the North East which have traditionally voted Labour for half a century because Labour had lost touch with the working class.
Jonathan said: “At the recent European elections in Redcar, Ukip secured 11,087 votes, compared to Labour’s 8,548. In Stockton, Ukip got 13,862 votes, with Labour on 12,579. And in Middlesbrough, a long-standing Labour stronghold, UKIP gained 8,695 votes, with Labour on 8,429.
“We’ve got to build on those results so that we’re not just seen for our views on the European Union and immigration. Our no tax on the minimum wage policy is going down well in working class areas.
“At the moment, we’re gaining a lot of support in Blyth, Northumberland. Many of our supporters in these areas say they feel abandoned by Labour.”
During the May European elections Labour topped the North East poll with 221,988 votes and Ukip got 177,660.
The Conservative vote dropped by around 10,000 to 107,733 and under the European voting system the result was enough for Martin Callanan, leader of the Conservatives in Europe and a 15-year veteran on the parliament, to lose his seat.
Labour took two of the North East’s three European parliament seats, with one going to UKIP.
But that gain has not been matched elsewhere in the region, with UKIP not holding a single parliamentary seat and only having a handful of councillors.
> And in Tyne & Wear, lets not forget, they lost 50% of their councillors and now have just one.
It is not widely thought that UKIP will be actively targeting sitting North East MPs as it is more likely to concentrate its efforts on other parts of the country.
Mr Arnott said that Prime Minister David Cameron’s failure to block Jean-Claude Juncker from becoming the next president of the European Commission has left the prime minister “outnumbered, humiliated and utterly isolated.”
He said “The whole process is a sham, in so many ways. Whether you got Schultz or Juncker doesn’t matter anyway, virtually no-one in the UK has heard of either of them.
> But perhaps that’s down to the kind of coverage the EU gets in the British media ?
And Britain is not Europe – just a small part of it. The EU’s not just for our benefit.
“The Prime Minister went to war over the appointment of the next commission president but it was a war that he was clearly going to lose.
“There is an increasingly bad relationship between Britain’s leaders and the leaders of many other European countries.”
> Which UKIP would make even worse…
Source – Newcastle Journal, 07 July 2014
Parts of Teesside risk being “overwhelmed by cuts and closures” to NHS services, a Labour MP told the House of Commons.
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Tom Blenkinsop blasted government cuts to local NHS services in a Queens Speech health debate in the House of Commons on Monday.
He said he used the debate as a way of showing how badly NHS cuts were affecting his constituency and said: “Over the space of a few weeks from this April my constituency has been overwhelmed by a perfect storm of cuts and closures pushed through by NHS England and the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).”
He said Skelton faced losing one of its GP practices, a nurse practitioner clinic and the attached pharmacy, which served socially deprived areas with “grave” health needs.
The fact the CCG was also looking at ending minor injuries provision at East Cleveland and Guisborough Hospitals, and threatening the closure of the GP surgery at Park End, in Middlesbrough, were additional “threats“, he said.
“The cumulative impact of these cuts and closures will increase the likelihood of people going to A&E at James Cook University Hospital, even when this is not appropriate” he added.
“When that A&E has struggled to cope with demand over recent years, these cuts are a false economy.“
He had sought meetings with government ministers to explore alternatives but said these were rebuffed.
A spokesman for NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “At the end of April 2014, NHS South Tees CCG launched a public consultation that focuses on proposals to improve community services for vulnerable people, the elderly and those with long-term health conditions.
Minor injury services at Guisborough and East Cleveland treated between two-ten people per day compared to 60 at similar services, according to CCG figures.
“Urgent care, including minor injury services, will be provided from Redcar Primary Care Hospital,” he added.
People are being urged to attend a public drop-in event tomorrow (Wednesday, June 11″) at the Freebrough Enterprise Centre in Brotton from 5.30pm to 7pm.
More events are planned in Guisborough, Middlesbrough and Redcar. More details are on southteesccg.nhs.uk or on 01642-745318.
Source – Northern Echo, 10 June 2014