ALLIANCE FOR CANNABIS THERAPEUTICS
CHANGING PUBLIC OPINION WITHOUT SPENDING A PENNY
We first got involved with the campaign to legalise cannabis for medical use when we read about the founder of ACT (the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics) in a Sunday newspaper. Clare was a Leeds housewife who was determined to open up the debate about the positive aspects of cannabis when used to help relieve the pain of MS, arthritis, spinal injuries and the hunger loss of AIDS and cancer patients.
We wrote to her to find out more about the case and then met up to see if we could help raise awareness of the issue for her. She shared her stories and experiences with us and then we wrote our own brief.
The creative idea was simple: it would have been easy to embellish the facts or exaggerate the issues, but we decided to create a campaign that simply focussed on the hypocrisy of the situation, the double-standards that operated within the Government's drug policy.
We designed the logo and shot all the ads ourselves.
We had no media but as it turned out, that didn't matter: just the rumour of the campaigns existence was enough to set the phones ringing: Campaign magazine ran the ads full colour front page despite the fact that they had never appeared anywhere.
From that starting point, we managed the PR campaign ourselves, supplying artworks and quotes and getting in every national newspaper, doing tv and radio interviews for as far afield as the US, Australia and Canada. Free media was donated and the ads finally ran, generating a fresh wave of donations to help fund Clare and the Alliance.
And the campaign successfully stirred things up – the PR generated by the appearance of the ads brought the whole issue to a wider audience and put it back on the agenda with doctors and researchers.
A motion at the BMA conference was passed that year calling on the Government to finally investigate the possibility of meaningful tests on the medical benefits of cannabis.
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