UK rap artist Black The Ripper holds a pop up shop in March as part of a UK tour talking to people about legalising cannabis
PUBLISHED: 17:40 26 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:59 27 August 2018
A UK rap artist, who is on a mission to legalise cannabis, was in the Fens over the Bank Holiday where he held an afternoon pop up shop for a meet and greet.
Black The Ripper was in March where a constant stream of people queued to talk to him and buy merchandise from his Dank of England clothing and accessories label.
The artist, who has 145,000 followers on Facebook, has been touring the UK for two and a half years with pop up cafes and dropped into the town before heading to the Reading Festival,
James Davis, owner of Jadas Flavours in Station Road, which hosted the event, said: “It has been a good afternoon, a good crowd.
“Police came but there was no trouble.”
Black the Ripper spoke to local people on his views of the British legal system and said of the medicinal cannabis factory at Wissington, near Downham Market, that it is “hypocrisy at its finest.”
The factory, just 24 miles from March, is owned by British Sugar and grows cannabis plants for GW Pharmaceuticals.
Last year its first harvest created a pungent cannabis smell that wafted across the Fens for miles, prompting urgent action plans from environmental health teams from Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.
Plans including an odour tracker.
Black the Ripper spoke to the Cambs Times for a Q&A:
Q You’ve made a name for yourself by smoking cannabis in public. What is your ultimate goal?
A My aim is to normalise the discussion, open it out, make it OK to discuss cannabis use.
Q What do you see as the benefits of illegal cannabis vs legal alcohol?
A Cannabis has medicinal and economic benefits. Alcohol might be legal but people can die, their health is messed up big time on alcohol. Today we had a whole afternoon of people outside the shop no troubles at all. Had they been drunk it is likely there would have been fighting, people being sick, arguments. It would have been bad. But you don’t get that with weed smokers.
Q Locally there is a huge medical cannabis factory owned by British Sugar who grow plants for GW Pharmaceuticals who make drugs like Sativex for MS muscle spasms and Epidolex for childhood epilepsy. Theresa May’s husband has 22 per cent shares in GW. What is your view on the fact it is acceptable to grow medical cannabis but illegal for a regular member of the public to grow and smoke it.
A It is hypocrisy at its finest but I don’t expect anything different from the British Government What? So medical grade is Ok but buying “off the streets isn’t. How is that so? The only difference is that in medical grade, huge companies make huge profits. To legalise it would mean taking away those profits.
Q What do you think the law should be on cannabis?
A I want to see it like it is in Colorado. You can sell cannabis home grown, like selling tomatoes, potatoes or parsley. It is not a problem, It takes away all the stigma. Amsterdam is a good system and that would be a big step forward but ultimately the Colorado model is what I want.
Q The NHS website reckons 93.6 per cent of cannabis seized by police is skunk with higher levels of THC, which is blamed for triggering cannabis psychosis. Do you think skunk is the majority of weed smoked in the UK? And do you think it triggers psychosis?
A Yes most is skunk. That cannabis psychosis talk is fake. If you suffer from that, then I believe you already have mental health problems, and the cannabis merely triggers an underlying condition, but you would have had problems before the cannabis. A lot of people are smoking unflushed, unclean cannabis - they haven’t flushed out the chemicals. It is from people who don’t know what they are doing and they don’t care they just want to get money. Bad chemicals is bad for people.
Q Prohibition in America sent things underground, do you agree this is what is happening with Cannabis?
A Yes very much so. I just came back from LA and Colorado. They are growing and selling it like you would any other thing from road side stalls. It is not a taboo thing.
Q I run a women’s health campaign called Sling The Mesh against an operation that causes life altering pain. A growing number of women on my support group are turning to cannabis to help ease their pain as they find prescribed drugs don’t work for them or they hate the side effects. A lot of the women feel embarrassed or scared to talk publicly about this. How do you feel about this?
A Don’t be embarrassed because you are looking after your health, or helping your pain. A Government that doesn’t care about you told you it is illegal, that doesn’t mean it is bad. Cannabis can treat pain, spasms, you could smoke it, vape it, eat it, spray it on your food or use CBD balm to rub on joints, arthritis and stuff like that, and that can take pain away. It is natural and it works. Other stuff has bad side effects that is synthetic. Things like pregablin, tamazepam, it is chemical. Yet cannabis, no bad side effects. Codeine based tablets for a week is physically addictive, but they are prescribed like it is fine. This you can take all day every day and it wont cause extra health problems.
Q How does March compare to other pop up cafe venues around the UK?
A I haven’t been in the town but I like it here today because the crowd had a big chill vibe. It feels a bit behind the times, but in a good way, like, it feels safe here. At pop up shops in some places the police have come and they people have dissed the police, but here when the police came the young people chilled. It was a good vibe. We were non stop queues from 1 to 5pm, all sorts of people, all ages. Cannabis use crosses the borders of age, social class.