Political Party: Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol (CISTA)
When it comes to politics it is very easy to become disillusioned with the current trend of mudslinging, lies, and meaningless promises. For many, politics is now seen as an ‘old boys club’ where things are decided behind the scenes, and its more about who you know than what you represent. As such, the main political parties are often seen as one and the same, with very few differences to distinguish them – especially in the UK, where I am currently writing this from.
One trend that remains persistent across the political parties of the UK is the reluctance to embrace cannabis – despite the encouragement to accept it by scientific think tanks and political advisors. It doesn't help that the British media has a very strong bias against cannabis, and is happy to churn out sensationalist fearmongering against it.
However, there is a new political party on the block that hopes to change this. The recently founded Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol party, or CISTA for short, has established itself in order to bring drug policy reform to the forefront of attention. This single issue party has a lot of funding behind it, and it is hoped they will be able to educate on the real pros and cons of a legal cannabis market.
THE DEAL WITH SINGLE ISSUE PARTIES
As CISTA is a single issue party, you may wonder what the point is. A party that cares about one thing and one thing only is unlikely to get elected. Whilst this is true, simply standing for election helps spread their message. Single issue parties, such as CISTA, pour all their resources into researching and proving a particular point, investing more resources than a typical political party might. This often results in the findings and policies of single issue parties being absorbed into the views and manifestos of larger parties.
CISTA recently published its manifesto. In it, the party outlines how it will campaign for a Royal Commission to review the UK’s current drug policy, convene a global medical cannabis summit in London for the brightest minds in the field, evaluate the legalization policies already enacted across the globe, and weigh up a cost benefits analysis of a legal cannabis market within the UK.
When talking about the party and its recent manifesto, Paul Birch, the leader of CISTA, said, “We've had a regulated alcohol market in the UK for hundreds of years. We need a regulated cannabis market for people's health and wellbeing,” and that neither Labour nor the Conservatives address the issue. Although the Liberal Democrats and Green party want to reform drug laws, he said that there is no chance that either party “will win this election or make drugs reform a 'red line' issue in any coalition or other partnership agreements with the Conservatives or Labour”.
Public opinion of cannabis is currently see-sawing in the UK, somewhat lagging behind the rest of the world. What is for certain though is that it is the hard work from people like CISTA that is slowly helping to change this.