A party which supports the legalisation of cannabis will field candidates
in the Midlands for the first time at the next general election. The
Legalise Cannabis Alliance (LCA) is hoping to put up at least 120
candidates nationwide - including a handful in the Midlands. Among those
who have volunteered to stand is Colin Preece, from Yardley, Birmingham,
who got involved with the campaign several years ago. The father-of-five,
who has never been politically active in the past, claims he supports the
legalisation of cannabis for environmental reasons. "I come at it from a
slightly different angle," said the 53-year-old. "Some of the other
candidates who are hoping to stand at the next general election are
standing because they enjoy smoking the weed and wish to do it legally.
"But I am more interested in the effect that legalisation would have on the
rainforest and the environment generally.

"If it were legal, more people would be aware of some of its more useful

"Paper and clothing and all manner of other things can be made from hemp
which would conserve some of the other natural resources which we farm and
use." Other Midland candidates include Clare O' Donnell, who will stand in
Nuneaton and Coventry, 32-year-old Katy Bland, who will run in Kettering,
and Michael Mullaney, who will stand in Northampton North.

Mr Mullaney, 23, who previously stood as a Labour candidate for
Wellingborough Council, said on the LCA website: "I am particularly
concerned with personal freedom issues and am opposed to ID cards."

The LCA will make its biggestever political push at the next general
election despite the Government's moves to reclassify cannabis to a class C
drug next year. The party first formed in 1997 when their first candidate
stood for election in Essex. Since then the party has grown and in the 2001
elections the party fielded 13 candidates but none in the Midlands.

Now party organisers are hoping to field at least 120 candidates at the
next general election, which will most likely be in 2005. Don Barnard, the
LCA's spokesman, said the Government's plans to reclassify cannabis would
not thwart the party's momentum.

"We are going to have our biggest-ever push at the next general election,"
he said. "The party has gone from strength to strength and we want to field
at least 120 candidates so we can have the same privileges, such as party
political broadcasts, as the mainstream parties.

"Reclassification does not go far enough and will not end our campaign."

Pubdate: Sun, 16 Nov 2003
Source: Sunday Mercury (UK)
Copyright: 2003 Sunday Mercury
Contact: SundayMercury@mrn.co.uk