Clark French, the founder of the United Patients Alliance, traveled to Belfast for the first ever held Medical Cannabis Summit in Northern Ireland. A landmark occasion!
His exclusive report for Cannabis News Network shows that cannabis can bring people together in a conflict area.
The conflict in Northern Ireland during the late 20th century is known as the Troubles. Over 3,600 people were killed and thousands more injured.
Over the course of three decades, violence on the streets of Northern Ireland was commonplace.
In 1998 The Good Friday Agreement restored the self-government to Northern Ireland and brought an end to the Troubles.
Clark heard a lot about how cannabis is healing some of the division here and was really interested to find out how cannabis is helping to bring these 2 historically divided communities together.
Like the story of Neil Paine, a former British soldier serving in Northern Ireland in the past. He is using cannabis for his trauma and pains. He is now at ease amongst fellow cannabis patients.
Patient stories and seeing cannabis help people in need runs deep in Northern Ireland.
There is no doubt that people from both communities are seeing the benefits to their friends and family from consuming cannabis.
About Clark French
Clark French is founder and director of the United Patients Alliance, a support and campaigning community for medical cannabis patients in the United Kingdom. Clark was 24 years old when he received his diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis in 2010. Intense pain, spasms, inability to walk or talk, Clark found his medicine, cannabis.
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Every year on July 12, many Protestants, loyalists, and unionists in Northern Ireland celebrate by lighting huge bonfires and marching through the streets playing music and saluting the Queen. This year, about 50,000 people reportedly took part all over the region.
“The Twelfth” is a particularly contentious period in the heavily divided Protestant/Catholic city of Belfast. After decades of conflict in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles — a political and sectarian war that claimed about 3,600 lives — there are still many people on each side who feel oppressed by the other. Riots involving rock throwing, Molotov cocktails, and even gunfire often erupt on or around the Twelfth. Problems are particularly commonplace as marchers head through Ardoyne, a heavily Catholic and nationalist area surrounded by Protestant neighborhoods.
Though the city’s youngest adults can barely remember the Troubles themselves, they’re increasingly becoming radicalized. Poverty in Belfast is at a 10-year high; unemployment hovers near 8 percent, with about one in four 18- to 24-year-olds out of work. And so with few jobs and often inadequate education, young men are indoctrinated by paramilitary groups still left over from the fighting of the past.
VICE News went to the biggest bonfire in Northern Ireland, on Belfast’s notorious Shankill Road, to watch Protestants and loyalists celebrate — and drink, and fight, and burn Irish flags.
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