History prior to 2015: The Legalise Cannabis Alliance (LCA) campaigned for the legalisation of cannabis for all purposes, including medicinal use, as biomass, hemp-based products, and recreational drug use. They fielded candidates in elections to the House of Commons and to local government
The party had origins in a pressure group formed in Norwich. It was registered as a political party in March 1999 after Howard Marks had stood as a legalise cannabis candidate in four different constituencies in the 1997 general election: Norwich North, Norwich South, Southampton Test and Neath
The party used a Cannabis leaf image as its emblem and Cannabis : legalise and utilise served as its election manifesto.
The first official LCA candidate in a parliamentary election was former mayor of Carlisle Colin Paisley in the November 1999 by election in the Kensington and Chelsea constituency. He took 141 (0.7%) of the votes. The second was Derrick Large in the May 2000 Romsey byelection, who took 417 (1.1%) of the votes.
Alun Buffry was the party’s nominating officer. In local elections in 2000, the party stood five candidates in Norwich and one in Peterborough, and the party stood frequently in local elections.
In the 2001 general election the party had candidates in 13 constituencies, and their best result was in Workington, where John Peacock took 1040 (2.5%) of the votes.
In January 2004, cannabis prohibition in the UK was relaxed. Cannabis had been a class B substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, but became a Class C substance, and some saw this change as approaching decriminalisation.[who?]
In the 2005 general election the LCA stood 18 candidates in 21 constituencies. This was eight more than in the 2001 general election, but included only six that had been contested in that previous election. In all these six constituencies the LCA suffered a fall in its share of the vote, and the average share across 21 constituencies was well down from that across the previous 13. Their best results were in Orkney and Shetland, Worthing East and Shoreham and Leigh.
In Orkney and Shetland, Paul Cruickshank took 1.8% of the votes. Thomas Hampson in Leigh and Chris Baldwin in Worthing East and Shoreham both took 1.5% of the votes.
In the 2005 general election the LCA stood in seven Welsh constituencies, fielding enough candidates to qualify for a party political broadcast which aired on Welsh television and was also viewable in other areas of the country due to cable television and Freeview.
As well as calling for the legalisation of cannabis, the manifesto in Wales included campaigning against GM food, for lower fuel tax for haulage and transport firms, and support for recycling and renewable energy.
The party met with then Home Secretary and Norwich South MP Charles Clarke in March 2006 to put their case for the legalisation of cannabis.
The LCA voted to de-register as political party at a conference in Norwich on 11 November 2006, and continue as a pressure group. In 2011, however, a majority of the members voted to re-register as a party, and later 31 members voted and a majority of 19 elected Peter Reynolds as the leader, with Stuart Warwick as deputy leader and Janice Wells as treasurer. Members also voted to rename the group as the Cannabis Law Reform party, and it is now known also as CLEAR.
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