Client Case Study: Teesside Cannabis Cooperative

The GCS team has had the pleasure of working with Michael Fisher of Teesside Cannabis Cooperative
since the early stages of his organisation’s development, a time when our CEO, Chris Tasker, was still
undertaking his cannabinoid medical research degree. During this period The North East of England’s
community health outcomes were in serious decline. Once compared to Detroit, The North East of
England is a struggling region which has endured great hardships since the closures of the large
industrial employers. Although gifted with some of the most beautiful landscapes in UK, the North
East has become of our most deprived regions which is suffering with some of the highest levels of
drug addiction nationally. there were 3756 drug related deaths in in England and wales in 2017, 53%
were from opiate use, with the North East exhibiting the highest rate of deaths nationally (Office for
National Statistics, 2018) . In response to this social decline the local councils and constabularies had
been particularly open minded when revaluating their priorities and drug strategies. Enter Michael
Fisher and the Teesside harm reduction facility.

Of the many vulnerable drug using communities, Cannabis users have garnered unprecedented
support and media attention, with the consensus being that we Brits, as a population, support
people’s right to utilise cannabis medicines. Whilst the legislative structure and its intricacies are
being mulled over, members of the public who use cannabis, many whom are often disabled or
chronically ill, are being caught up in the penal system. Unfortunately, the black and white nature of
the misuse of drugs legislature has been unable to factor complexities of cannabis and has ultimately
further marginalised some of the already most vulnerable members of society.
Having experienced these injustices first-hand, Michael fisher, from the enduring and revolutionary
region of Teesside, established a community of cannabis users who now work with the police to
provide a safe consumption space for patients and recreational users alike. For many of the patients,
some of their closest friends also use cannabis recreationally and the club provides a location from
which patients can establish a support network during the more challenging periods of their lives.
The consumption room supports uniquely complements the novel harm reduction policing strategies
adopted by Constabularies across the North East, supporting the community indirectly in a number
of ways. This harm reduction policy accepts that drug use cannot be eliminated altogether, and
instead adopts an approach that reduces the health and social impact of these substances to better
serve and protect the community. Despite some initial pushback from local authorities, Michael’s
very public desire to protect the community was ultimately acknowledged by Durham PCC Ronn
Hogg, who openly supported these harm reduction efforts. This symbolic gesture shone a light on
the wider discussion of harm reduction and drug policy reform making the North East one of the first
regions to pioneer this approach.

Since before this Dramatic policy change, The GCS scientific network has been strategically involved
in strengthening and supporting Michael’s community efforts with published medical literature that
clearly outlines the societal benefit of harm reduction initiatives. We have been fortunate enough to
have worked with the clubs to deliver education materials and events to the club’s supporters and
wider community. Our scientific network and background meant that we were uniquely positioned
to provide council throughout the clubs development, bringing in investors, business partners and
sponsors for the communities unique range of events and outreach programs. It has been a unique
privilege for GCS to have worked with such an inspiring group of individuals and an honour to have
lent our academic clout and cannabinoid expertise to such an inspiring cause that has achieved
something once thought impossible. We continue to lend our industry expertise and network to the ​
success of the Teesside group who are now in the process of expanding into three new properties,
growing from an online community who used to organise meet ups in a park, to a hybridised
evidence based non-for profit organisation with a fifty thousand plus following.


For more those seeking to collaborate with these community initiatives please Email Christopher
Tasker at GCSolutions@gmail.com

For more information on the community, you can interact directly with Teesside Cannabis Club through their social media pages or explore their website.

Teesside Cannabis Club Website
http://www.teessidecannabisclub.co.uk/

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