A few years ago when we were releasing a monthly magazine Greg de Hoedt, (also known as Cure UK back then) wrote regular features for ISMOKE and formed part of our panel of cannabis experts discussing topics on a monthly basis. Nowadays Greg runs the United Kingdom Cannabis Social Clubs movement, an organised cannabis community that is growing every day.
Formed in 2011, the UKCSC aims to unite and give guidance to the various Cannabis social clubs popping up all over the UK in varying forms, some holding smoke-friendly meet-ups for their users.
Cannabis social clubs are an important part of the legalisation movement here in the UK as they enable cannabis users to organise themselves, network and meet in a smoke-friendly environment. Out in Spain the cannabis clubs are a legal part of society, and this has led to many being set up, particularly in Barcelona.
A couple of weeks ago we interviewed Russ Hudson, an American living in Barcelona who talked about the situation with the country’s cannabis clubs. This week we sat down with Harry, the manager at Remedy, a cannabis club in Barcelona, to give more insight about how things are out there, and what it is like running a cannabis club in Barcelona.
Do You know about Barcelona Cannabis Clubs and how they operate?
Perception of cannabis worldwide is currently undergoing a massive shift. There are just too many good stories from across the globe to ignore and it is becoming increasingly difficult for media sources to try and push the old cannabis propaganda. Over the past week, we have seen (comparatively) positive cannabis features on both The Daily Mail and The Mirror asking whether legalisation may be the sensible way forward, and this shows just how much the media over here in the UK is beginning to shift.
As we continue our fight to legalise cannabis both for medicinal and recreational purposes in the UK, other countries are steaming ahead with the green industry.
One country that has had a legal cannabis scene for a few years now is Spain, where cannabis social clubs are legally allowed to operate on a private member’s clubbasis.
Mainly due to my area of study and activities with Students for Sensible Drug Policy, I spend a lot of my time writing and talking about drugs, government policies, and the effects of these on societies in general. I do this with little firsthand experience; I choose to keep my personal life separate from illicit drugs. So I thought I’d actually try meeting people involved with ‘illegal’ drugs. After making a number of phone calls, I managed to arrange to meet a cannabis dealer at a location that was neutral to us both.
I must admit, I was a little worried as I was travelling to meet them, I didn’t really know what to expect. When I arrived at the location I was met by “Joe” (name changed to hide identity), a rather friendly individual in their early 20s. For obvious reasons, at the beginning of our conversation Joe seemed a little reserved as he tried to gauge me, but after a while began to be more open with me.
Like all subcultures, cannabis has a multitude of levels. In the UK, we are perhaps more underground than the rest of the world, but in the North American regions, cannabis culture is alive and thriving. With movies dedicated to weed, publications, celebrities and all manner of pot endorsements, the lust for cannabis with our North American cousins is tangible.
This month, ISMOKE spoke to Ian Llewellyn-Rowe, also known as Elro Raps who has been getting some well-deserved attention in the music industry recently with his witty, funny rhymes – collaborating with the likes of Ed Sheeran and JME:
You’ve been generating a lot of well-deserved hype for your youtube videos, what got you into rapping and into the comical style you’ve become known for?
I did stand up comedy for a couple of years, and I also started writing rap music, but never really combined the two on stage, so I just wacked them on youtube and here we are now! I guess I just like trying to write in a different way to others.
What sort of music do you listen to and enjoy most?
I’m hip hop through and through to be honest. But I also love reggae, dance, grime… almost anything, although I don’t listen to much rock.
What’s the best thing about what you do?
Making a crowd buzz, and meeting people that you’ve never met who are big fans, that’s always a big buzz.
Where’s the best place you’ve been to?
Oohhhhh, Umm, I’d probably say Ibiza… I went there this summer with my mates and had an unbelievably good week partying in the sun. That place is dreamland.
So, do you smoke cannabis?
I’ve been known too… LOL
When did you get into it, and what do you like best about being high?
I guess lots of my mates smoke it and then I just tried it, and enjoyed it. I like how creative and weird (in a good way) I am. Me and my mates come up with stuff that people would never even contemplate. Its also relaxing if you’ve had a long day.
Do you remember the best experience you ever had while high?
I couldn’t really pick one particular one out, there’s so many good ones. Although watching the Streets live in Bristol after a spliff was pretty damn good.
Ever been to Amsterdam?
What do you think about the current laws surrounding cannabis in the UK?
I think its a bit ridiculous really, that police can come and hassle you when you’re not even bothering anyone but yourself. Its ridiculous. Police are not for me really.
Would you ever consider moving out to the states where you could get a medical card?
I’m not that desperate lol, I don’t like to smoke it too much anyway cos if I smoke too much, I just become even more lazy and unproductive and lazy, thats just my personality anyway so I don’t blame cannabis, but I try not to smoke too much too often.
How long have you been rapping for?
I’d say 3 years or so, but not particularly seriously. Only seriously the last 18 months or so.
What in your opinion is the best track you’ve done?
In terms of listenability, probably “My Eyes Are Red” (pretty fitting eh lol), I just messed about with beatboxing and vocal layers and people seem to find it catchy and listenable which makes me very happy. People appreciating my stuff, and saying things like “I always smoke a splif to your song” gives me tingles.
What’s your favourite 8 Bars of your own?
Hmmmmmm, my favourite… I was pretty proud of my bars about randomness. They seem to be popular too, I don’t really know to be honest, I’m proud of them all, I try not to put any bars out there if I’m not buzzing about them.
And finally, please tell us where we can find you online
You can find me on youtube by searching elro or elro raps. My youtube is www.youtube.com/comedyilr my twitter is @elroraps and my Facebook fan page is “Elro Raps“.
Thanks for stopping by Elro!
Download Elro’s mixtape “Porcelain Corpse” for free now
Hello Howard – thanks for stopping by. It is a pleasure to have you here at ISMOKE Magazine. We are very familiar with your amazing story – but for the benefit of (pardon the pun) some of our greener readers, how would you say cannabis has had an impact on your life?
By freeing my mind, making me very rich, and giving me a social agenda.
When did you begin smoking cannabis and who/what put you onto it?
In 1964 during my first year as a nuclear physics undergraduate in Oxford. I was 19.
How do you tend to use your cannabis?
As a constant companion.
Just how big was your involvement in the cannabis or hash trade in Britain back in the 1980s?
At the very beginning of that decade, I imported fifteen tons of Colombian marijuana into the west coast of Ireland. I think it still holds the record for the largest known successful importation of cannabis into Europe, although I’m not 100% sure. But it was big.
Was there much paranoia involved when you were an international drugs smuggler?
Not for me. I was on the run for most of the time, so I knew they were trying to get me. It wasn’t paranoia.
Indica or Sativa?
Indica, for sure.
Do you have a favourite strain?
My favourite hashish is Nepalese from a place called Mustang. I can’t really tell the difference between one strong skunk and an equally strong skunk as my taste buds are fucked.
Where in the world is your favourite place to smoke cannabis?
We saw you took a trip out to Jamaica and chilled with some Rastas. How does their way of living and using cannabis compare with ours over here in the UK?
They revere and worship the herb but seem to waste a lot of the smoke. Only 5% of Jamaicans are rastas but 66% of Jamaicans smoke. I like smoking with fishermen more than poets.
These days you are a speaker, author and celebrity figure. Back in the day your life was much different – which do you prefer?
I preferred the life of a smuggler, but I have absolutely no complaint about my life these days.
Do you think you’ll use cannabis for the rest of your life?
What do you think the benefits would be if better cannabis education was given here in the UK instead of the propaganda/scare tactics currently employed by our Government?
All sorts of benefits, in particular, better and cheaper dope, and the elimination of social stigma and criminal mantles.
How did it feel to have a film made about your life?
What cannabis organisations are you involved in here in the UK?
At the moment, just NORML (UK).
Had you seen ISMOKE magazine before this interview?
Yes, but can’t remember where.
It seems as if in the past few years we have actually gone backwards as a nation, with more scare-stories and propaganda demonising cannabis than ever – where do you see us in ten years time?
No idea, Mate. My balls aren’t the sort that are made from crystal.
Do you think it will ever be legal over here in the UK?
Yes, and I’ll continue to work for it, but God knows when it will happen.
Thanks for stopping by Howard, it’s been a pleasure to have you.
ISMOKE sat down with Emergine R&B singer Ebru – her new single “Mad” featuring Durrty Goodz is making waves in the UK Music scene..
Hey Ebru – thanks for joining us! First up, please give us a bit of background about who you are and what led you to make the awesome music that has caught ISMOKE’s attention recently?
I am a singer/songwriter/performer aka an all round Tina Turner Wannabe (without the Ike) who has been singing since I could mumble words as a baby. I met Marshall (One of the founding Godfather’s of music) of HITROOM recordings and we clicked straight away and began to create some amazing music together.
Where does the name Ebru come from?
EBRU is my real name, it originates in Turkey; where I was born, not very common here in the UK but if you type my name into google you will see how popular it is back home. Strangely enough… it’s direct translation in English is ‘Marbelling’.
What genre would you label your tunes, and which so far has been your favourite?
Well many may call it “soulful pop!” I don’t know… I like what my team say: “This can’t leave the studio unless it BANGS!”. My favourite songs to date is probably ‘MAD’ or ‘ECHO’! I always sing these two to myself randomly, even forgetting they are my own sometimes!
What genres of music do you enjoy the most?
I don’t really have a particular favourite, I love loads of genres like gospel, neo soul, indie, rnb, jazz. I love it as long as “it BANGS!”
In “MAD” you collaborate with Dutty Goodz, one of ISMOKE Magazine’s top artists for his song “Marijuana”. How was that?
Marshall worked with Durrty Goodz some time back and he actually produced Marijuana (the guitarist – that’s him playing in a church hall with a beautiful violinist). So I asked Marshall to see if he would jump on it, he agreed so we got in the studio and I just watched this guy do his thing! He is extremely talented and just gets the job done and I mean DONE! His work ethic is something to be admired!
Are you a cinema go-er or a stay-at-home kind of girl?
I’m more of a stay at home girl, wrapped up in a duvet, watching old VHS re-runs of Sister Sister with a plate of Birdseye chicken dippers… Not forgetting the smig’in of BBQ sauce! BOOM
What’s your favourite film?
I recently watched ‘The Raid’ – that was HOT, it kept me engaged throughout the whole film, I would definitely watch it again.