Outlaw: The man behind the Balaclava
Over the last year or so there has been an unknown activist handing out free cannabis and advocating for changes to the draconian cannabis laws in Britain. The masked Mancunian known as Outlaw first gained notoriety by donning the now-infamous balaclava and handing out £800 worth of cannabis on Manchester’s Piccadilly gardens last summer.
A few months later In November while filming a music video Outlaw and his passenger were pulled over by armed police in Manchester and detained under suspicion of terrorism charges following reports of two masked men driving a black Range Rover. During the stop and search that Outlaw claims was “illegal” police found replica police uniform and equipment but later determined that they weren’t terrorist-related. They were released a few hours later without charge.
Over the Christmas period in2019 Outlaw, dressed in a Santa suit planned to hand out 50 Christmas cards to homeless people, with each card contained ten pounds in Manchester. The stunt attracted attention from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) who attended 0accosted the masked man and his companion. GMP said that “he was not arrested and no offenses were committed but two people were spoken to about approaching members of the public”
This year during the Covid-19 global pandemic Outlaw stepped up to hand deliver hundreds of essential “care packs” including hand sanitizer, toilet roll, and cannabis. When the wave of national support for the NHS was at its peak Outlaw was sending out free packs to NHS staff that showed a valid ID.
Outlaw’s website is bursting with branded march that helps fund his political activist campaigns and work with any profit from this shop being divided between free giveaways and homeless cash donations. Every order over £5.00 on the site will also see a tree planted in Haiti.
Earlier this year Outlaw became a best-selling author on Amazon with the publication of “Policing the Police” A handy guide on how to deal with the police and how to seek compensation when they violate your rights.
Although he has not long been on the scene Outlaw is quickly gaining attention and a reputation as a bold anonymous rebel. I recently had the opportunity to ask the infamous masked music producer some questions exclusively for TheSimpaLife.com
What first inspired you to don the now-infamous balaclava and become Outlaw?
“There’s too much injustice in the system – the police, DWP, the courts, the legislators, the lawmakers and all their corrupt friends. Some of the laws are unjust and always have been, I wanted to do something about it without incriminating myself – that was the aim”
“I’ve always loved Banksy – the anonymous side and the political message, but I wanted to do good things in the community without having to hide”
“Obviously no face no case doesn’t work as well when your name’s written on your balaclava, but it still makes it hard to prove certain things that I’d rather keep off the police record. Judges have actually said the balaclava is ‘clearly satirical’. It’s harder to prosecute ‘someone portraying or acting as a fictional character’ depending on your defense – public order can go out of the window when it comes to ‘acting’”
“Police will claim the bali can come across as scary, I’ve never found that. I’ve knocked on elderly people’s doors unexpectedly to give them free sanitizer and loo roll (and some of them weed) – and they’ve all loved it. I’m a nice guy really.”
Why the mask/anonymity?
I don’t like the idea of being well known / famous and I knew what I was planning was going to get a lot of attention.
How long have you been doing what you’ve been doing?
I started my OUTLAW stuff just over a year ago, but I’ve been making music, studying law and growing cannabis for years.
What is your proudest moment while doing this work?
“There’s a few; completely getting away with the first weed handout and getting police complaints upheld was a big step for me. Some people say ‘he’s giving it out for free so can’t be charged’ but there’s so much more to it; possession, cultivation accusations and supplying a controlled drug (“Supply is the simple act of passing a controlled drug from one person to another. It does not matter if it was for profit or not.”)”
“Giving stuff away and helping people is really rewarding for me. The homeless are usually the most grateful and hearing their stories only drives me to do more, because it’s normally a lack of help or resources from the government that’s put them in that position.”
“It feels mint too when I help people get compensation from the police, some of them can’t believe how much an hour of their time wasted by incompetent police is worth!”
Can you tell us a little bit about the Medican card?
“Medican was an idea my solicitor and I had a while back. We wanted to group together advisors, solicitors and barristers to build personal defences for the consumption and cultivation of cannabis for medical and recreational reasons.”
“Arguably, most people use cannabis medicinally. If you don’t have an expensive private prescription and a pro-cannabis GP, you can’t use cannabis legally, but you might still have medical conditions that cannabis can help with. The MedicanCard allows you to log in and speak to a one to one legal advisor if you get into any cannabis related issues, in order to help avoid any charges. It can also be used as a statement of intent. The back of the card has essential info and a QR code with a manual link that pulls up information for the police if you’re searched or arrested, explaining your medical intent and police and CPS guidelines. Obviously, even since 2018, legal cannabis users have been arrested and mistreated by the police, which is why it’s good to have a legal advisor you can contact”
“There’s also a lot of cases that our collective of solicitors have successfully had acquitted for recreational users, which depending on the scenario, can be applied to other people, without the need of spending £10,000s on a solicitor and sometimes without even going to court. There’s a lot of procedural issues from the police that can make going to court unnecessary and have all charges dropped. Being able to speak to somebody can sometimes help find parts in your defence that you wouldn’t have thought make your defence so much stronger.”
Have you heard of the Seed our future campaign?
“Yeh it’s a cool document, someone sent me the link on Insta and I reached out to Guy who’s spent so much time on it. I thought the history of cannabis was pretty mad. Obviously the Seed Our Future document doesn’t stand up in court as a defence on its own yet, but I think the aim for us all is a one-for-all document that can be used by anyone”
“There’s so many different people fighting for cannabis to be either decriminalised, legalised or rescheduled – all with different strategies and approaches, it’s only a matter of time now”
Can you tell us about your book, Policing the police?
“Yeh man, the books for someone who doesn’t know where to start when it comes to getting compensation from police acting unlawfully. Most people think they would have to go to court but that’s not the case. I’ve made it an easy step by step process to understand the reason for your complaint, if you have grounds and how to correctly follow the complaints procedure to receive compensation”
“The book’s helped several people successfully receive compensation from what I know so far, and I’ve also helped a few instagram followers get compensation using the same knowledge”
Do you think the UK will legalise or decriminalise cannabis?
“Legalised would be good depending on the structure that the government put into place, I’m pushing decriminalisation at the moment because this can happen quickly and can be done without changing the laws. If it was decriminalised across the UK, it would be made legal eventually.”
Do you think the UK will ever end the war on all drugs?
“The war on drugs is an absolute failure and an embarrassing waste of money. I’d love them to end it but I doubt it.”
You’re rather active in your community – any thoughts of taking on politics?
“I’m really thinking about running for Mayor of Manchester but I’ve already got so much on and so much planned I’m not sure when I’d be able to confirm that. I’ll get into politics soon enough.”
What advice would you give anyone wanting to become active in their community?
“Make some noise! Even if you’re just discussing it, discuss change and get involved with a protest. The people in the UK live in a democracy even though it’s hard to believe.”
Are you still planning a smoke up tour for 2021?
“Yeah we’ve had to postpone once because everybody voted on it on Instagram due to Covid, we rescheduled for autumn and luckily didn’t announce it because we’ve had to postpone again. Now that I’ve basically organised it twice, it’s gonna be easy to re-book everything. I’m just waiting for the right time now.”
What does the future hold for Outlaw ltd?
“I’m doing some crazy bits next year but you’ll have to keep looped to find out what. I wanna carry on using my platform to inform, educate and help people. I’ll continue testing the law until the laws make sense. I’ve got a free app coming out in December that’s cost way too much and taken a lot of time, but it’s nearly finished now. I’ve also got my EP dropping next year so I’m mad excited to get that out.”
So while many of us have been trying to come to terms with the new reality in 2020, Outlaw has been out there fighting to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. You’ll be able to catch Outlaw on a future episode of The Simpa Life Podcast in 2021. In the mean time you can keep up to date with everything that Outlaw is up to via his Instagram and website