Drug Policy Reform
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- Cannabis Law Reform
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End Our Pain
- Patients are not criminals. https://endourpain.org/
- Peter Reynolds, Peter Reynolds blog
- Dec.13.2019: MS sufferer faces jail over cannabis. Yesterday the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) chose to proceed with a case against Lesley and Mark Gibson, from Carlisle, for cultivation and possession of the drug. Ms Gibson’s defence team say they will use a defence of necessity if the case comes to trial but they want the CPS to drop the case because they believe the prosecution is not in the public interest. Rob Wilson, chief executive of the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group, said: “If the NHS would supported her, or she could access it privately at a reasonable cost, there would be no need for any of this. This case needs to be thrown out and an urgent review needs to take place.” Andrew Ellson, The Times.
- Dec.30.2018: Cannabis strength doubles across Europe in 11 years. Cannabis potency has doubled across Europe in the past decade, according to the first study to track changes in the drug across the continent. The study finds that both cannabis resin and herbal cannabis have increased in strength and price with potentially harmful consequences for users. Increases in the potency of cannabis resin are chiefly down to new production techniques in Morocco and Europe. But while THC levels have increased, amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) found in cannabis resin thought to offset some of the harmful effects of THC – have remained stable or declined. Jamie Doward, The Guardian.
- Dec.04.2018: High society wants to end cannabis ban. Michael Gove accepted there was an “inequity” that the cannabis compound cannabidiol (CBD) from Europe was being sold on British high streets. Mr Fellowes highlighted the anomaly when Mr Gove attended the Country Land and Business Association conference in Westminster last week. Mr Gove told them: “I will look into this particular anomaly. I know this is a potentially a treacherous area for politicians to get into but you have pointed out an inequity which deserves to be addressed”. David Brown, The Times.
- Oct.26.2018: Medical cannabis will fuel addiction crisis, say doctors. Pain doctors from almost every specialist clinic in the country have attacked the legalisation of medical cannabis, warning that its routine use will cause an opioid-style crisis of addiction and crime. In a letter to The Times, some of the country’s leading experts condemn a rush to allow medical cannabis based on “political expediency” rather than medical advice, saying there is little evidence that it works for chronic pain and warning that it will put patients at risk of mental health problems. From Thursday hospital specialists will be able to prescribe cannabis products such as oil or resin. However, NHS guidelines on its use will not be ready until next week. Chris Smyth, The Times.
- Sept.24.2018: Labour peer Charles Falconer apologises over war on drugs. Ex-lord chancellor backs group of leading politicians in call for legalisation of drugs trade. The former lord chancellor Charles Falconer has apologised for his role in the war on drugs, as a group of leading politicians from across the world called for the legalisation and regulation of the drugs trade. ... “Above all, we need to take back control of drug supply from the most violent gangsters. And it needs to be done sooner rather than later.” The Global Commission on Drug Policy said such a move would disempower organised crime, and would help realise the goal of drug control conventions to protect “the health and welfare of mankind”. damien Gayle, The Guardian.
- Aug.02.2018: Government should be bold on prescribing whole plant cannabis oils. Political progress has been truly dramatic. But we have some very serious and pressing concerns based on reading the small print of some of the advice being put forward to ministers from the various expert reviews undertaken. The advice from the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) on Thursday recommended that only particular medical cannabis products should be moved out of schedule 1 to schedule 2, which will allow them to be prescribed by clinicians. ... This will effectively shut the door on the full plant extracted oils now commonly available in many countries. An insistence from the experts advising the government on such a narrow solution will leave many thousands of people suffering from severe pain, MS, Crohn’s, fibromyalgia and other conditions. The ACMD also advise that medical cannabis should only be considered for “patients with an exceptional clinical need”. We challenge this, as there is a great deal of evidence from around the world that shows efficacy for a wide range of conditions. Sir Mike Penning, Tonia Antoniazzi, Co-Chairs of the APPG on Medical Cannabis under Prescription, The Times.
- Jun.16.2018: Home Office returns cannabis oil for boy's epilepsy treatment. Sajid Javid uses special power to issue licence for Billy Caldwell to receive medicine. The Home Office has backed down over its refusal to release medicinal cannabis oil that it had confiscated. Mattha Busby, Verity Bowman, The Guardian.
- Jun.11.2018: Mother of epileptic boy will not get confiscated cannabis oil back. The mother of a boy who has up to 100 epileptic fits a day has been told by a government minister that potentially life-saving cannabis oil confiscated from her at Heathrow will not be returned. Charlotte Caldwell was not cautioned when she was stopped by customs officers trying to “openly smuggle” the substance into the UK from Toronto. She then went to the Home Office to meet the minister of state, Nick Hurd. MPs and experts condemned the move and said it highlighted the deep injustices people face due to Britain’s outdated drug policy. Caroline Lucas, David Nutt. A Home Office spokesperson said: “Whilst we recognise that people with debilitating illnesses are looking to alleviate their symptoms, Border Force has a duty to stop banned substances from entering the UK. The policing minister will meet Ms Caldwell this afternoon.” It emerged last year that the UK is the world’s largest producer and exporter of cannabis for medical and scientific use. It provides the majority of the world’s medicinal cannabis exports, 67.6%, mainly to countries with more liberal usage laws. Mattha Busby, The Guardian.
- Jun.03.2018: Why we must legalise cannabis now for the sake of public health. Govts around the world recognise the benefits of a regulated market. The UK should follow suit, says Jeff Smith. The British Medical Association, the British Medical Journal, the Royal Society of Public Health and the Royal College of Physicians have all made the public health case for reforming our drug laws. Yet the government lags woefully behind, clinging to a failed model focused on criminalisation. The evidence is clear: prohibition does not work. A regulated cannabis market would also raise vital funds for the NHS: £1bn annually at a conservative estimate, and possibly much more. The first step for the UK would be to move responsibility for drug policy to the Department of Health and Social Care. We could establish a panel of experts to develop the most effective model for a regulated market and design a cannabis regulatory authority to implement it. Volte Face, Health Poverty Action. Jeff Smith, The Guardian.
- May.29.2018: Going soft on drugs is a disastrous mistake. Campaigners are tragically misguided in claiming that decriminalisation will solve anything. Niamh Eastwood, executive director of the drug liberalisation group Release. Last month, the Royal College of Physicians came out in favour of decriminalisation, joining the British Medical Association, the Faculty of Public Health and the Royal Society of Public Health in supporting drug policy liberalisation. Melanie Phillips, The Times.
- May.22.2018: Blame middle class for drug-related violence, says police leader. Police Federation’s Simon Kempton says prohibition is failing and calls for new policy. Middle-class drug users bear blame for the drug trade and associated violence on Britain’s streets, a leader of rank-and-file police has said. Simon Kempton, who leads on drugs policy for the Police Federation, also said banning illegal drugs did not work and new thinking was needed. He told the Federation’s conference in Birmingham: “‘The only reason gangs are into drugs is because people want to buy them, and a big part of that is not street-level users. Street-level users are a problem because they steal to fund their habit but on their own they will not support an organised crime group. Ministers are wedded to a ban on illegal drugs, and Kempton said a royal commission was needed. At least one chief constable, Mike Barton of Durham, has also said prohibition is failing. On Wednesday the home secretary Sajid Javid will attempt to reset the relationship between the govt and police, which has been strained since Theresa May’s time as home secretary. At a time of rising crime rates, Javid is contemplating abandoning the govt’s claim that more could be done with less. Wikram Dodd, The Guardian.
- May.24.2018: Doctors in Commons rally to overturn ban on medicinal cannabis. Group of MPs to campaign on issue following recent case of six-year-old Alfie Dingley. Dan Poulter, a former health minister who still works part-time as a GP, said he had already signed up fellow Conservative Andrew Murrison, Labour’s Paul Williams, and Philippa Whitford of the Scottish National party – 4 of the Commons’ 9 medical doctors. The development comes after Alfie Dingley, a six-year-old boy with epilepsy, pushed medical cannabis on to the political agenda by taking a 300,000 signature petition with him to No 10. He had been effectively treated with cannabis oil in the Netherlands, but was denied it at home in the UK. The Home Office is understood to be on the verge of finding a way for Alfie to continue his treatment. But another boy, Billy Caldwell, 12, has emerged in similar circumstances after his GP was reprimanded by officials for trying to write a cannabis prescription. Campaigners claim there are hundreds of other families facing the same problems. Damien Gayle, The Guardian.
- May.20.2018: Letters to the editor: Medical cannabis ban leaves patients in agony. Your article “Drug minister’s husband oversees cannabis farm” (News, last week) refers to my grandson Alfie Dingley, stating: “His parents say he improved after taking cannabis oil in Holland.” To some this might suggest that there is no independent evidence this was the case. On the contrary, Alfie was treated by a consultant paediatric neurologist using a pharmaceutical cannabis oil licensed for use under medical supervision in many European countries. When he returned home, she provided a report to his British doctor, which stated there had been a 60%-70% reduction in his epileptic seizures overall. She recommended the treatment continue in Britain and expressed her fear that his condition would deteriorate without it, which it did. Alfie and his parents and wider family have been through an agonising time in the past six years. That agony continues as we try to get him the prescription he needs to stay as well as possible. We are a responsible family, who made the decision for Alfie to try medical cannabis oil as a last resort, having discussed it with all his British doctors and his Dutch consultant, in order to give our beloved boy some quality of life. Maggie Deacon, The Times.
- Apr.30.2018: Cannabis promises high returns for investors. Welcome to the Cannabis Invest conference 2018. The audience of institutional investors had travelled to the five-star Mayfair hotel to hear about the financial opportunities in the burgeoning international cannabis market. Officially, the conference was organised to encourage UK investors to plough money into corporate cannabis but hidden behind the slick presentations was another motive: to organise a British campaign to legalise medical marijuana. ... GW Pharmaceuticals plc, Council for the Advancement of Medical Cannabis, Steve Moore of Volteface a drug policy think tank, Peter Reynolds of Clear. more...' Andrew Ellson, The Times.
- Apr.18.2018: Legalisation is the only way to stop this drugs carnage. ... Amber Rudd, the hapless home secretary, even admits there is a “strong link” between drug illegality and rising violence. The history of prohibition proves it fuels gangsterism and forces up potency. Now we see the arrival of powerful synthetic drugs made in Asia that are sold online and are more difficult to detect. When will Westminster accept its lethal failure on this battlefront? Ian Birrell, The Times.
- Feb.23.2018: MPs must show the compassion to give my son Alfie the life he deserves. This week govt ministers defended legislation which sentences my son Alfie to needless suffering and premature death. My son is one of just 9 boys in the world who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy, PCDH19. His epilepsy is so severe he suffers upwards of 150 seizures a month. I found a paediatric neurologist in Holland who offered to treat Alfie with drugs derived from whole plant cannabis. It turned out to be his miracle treatment. We watched in amazement over 4 months as his seizures reduced from 150 to 1, less severe seizure, a month. Contrast this to the legal medication given to Alfie in the UK that doctors tell me will cause psychosis and a possible premature death. The govt have been dragging their feet, despite solid evidence published here in the UK by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Reform. The report demonstrates solid, peer-reviewed medical evidence of the effectiveness of cannabis-based medicine for epilepsy. Crispin Blunt, in his Urgent Question on Tuesday certified that my son’s situation is an "open and shut case" on health grounds. Amber Rudd at the Home Office's current decision not to grant Alfie a licence to access his miracle medication also flies in the face of popular opinion. End Our Pain, the largest campaigning group for the legalisation of medical cannabis, found that 80% of the public supported a change in law and have harnessed significant cross-party support from MPs and in the House of Lords. Today MPs will be debating the 2nd reading of the "Legalisation of Cannabis (Medicinal Purposes) Bill 2017-19". The Times Red Box, Hannah Deacon
- Feb.02.2018: Victoria Atkins MP, The UK Drugs Minister, Opposes Drugs Regulation While Her Husband Grows 45 Acres of Cannabis Under Government Licence. There is no one who plumbs the depths of deception and hypocrisy as the new drugs minister Victoria Atkins. Her recent performance in the Westminster Hall debate on drug consumption rooms (DCR) was riddled with inaccuracies, distorted information and downright falsehood about the success of such facilities throughout the world. She simply told brazen untruths in order to support her rejection of the clamour from other MPs to introduce DCRs because they are proven to save lives. I can do no better than Transform in explaining her behaviour. Its press release sets out her lies in detail. Ronnie Cowan MP even raised a point of order and then a Home Office question about her scandalous dishonesty but as usual the govt just brushed aside any criticism. Victoria Atkins: Barrister, MP, Home Office Minister, Dishonest And Corrupt To The Core. Ms Atkins is the daughter of Sir Robert Atkins, a former Conservative MP and MEP. She has been appointed to the Attorney General's Regulators Panel and the Serious Fraud Office's List of specialist fraud prosecutors. Ms Atkins has replaced Sarah Newton as Drugs Minister. However, in what must be the most blatant hypocrisy ever from a govt minister, Ms Atkins benefits directly from regulation of drugs. She is married to Paul Kenward, managing director of British Sugar which is growing 45 acres of cannabis under licence in its mammoth Norfolk greenhouse. Mr Kenward is producing high CBD cannabis for use in Epidiolex, GW Pharmaceuticals plc's cannabis extract epilepsy medicine. Ms Atkins has tried to brush this off calling it "...a very different substance (from the) psychoactive version of cannabis". Of course, anyone with even the most basic knowledge of plant science will know this is nonsense. The difference between different strains of cannabis is the same as the difference between different varieties of tomatoes. Whether they're Ailsa Craig or Alicante, they're all tomatoes. Peter Reynolds' blog, Peter Reynolds
- Feb.04.2018: Let's Temper Hope For Paul Flynn's Medical Cannabis Bill With Some Reality. No one would like to see Paul Flynn’s ‘Elizabeth Brice’ bill to re-legalise medical cannabis pass through Parliament more than me. Yet it concerns me that expectations are being raised way beyond what is realistic. The Legalisation of Cannabis (Medicinal Purposes) Bill 2017–19 is a Private Member’s Bill. It was introduced to Parliament on Tuesday 10 October 2017 under the Ten Minute Rule. Sadly, the truth is that the second reading of Paul Flynn's bill is unlikely even to take place. Although it is set down for 23rd February 2018, there is virtually zero chance of any time being found for it. It will simply wither away with no progress or further mention. The single biggest obstacle to any drug law reform is Theresa May. After all, what other leader anywhere in the world, apart from the murderous thug President Durterte of the Philippines, has recently called for a continuance of the war on drugs? In every jurisdiction throughout the world where medicinal cannabis has been legally regulated, it is through a special system outside pharmaceutical medicines regulation. The MHRA process is incapable of dealing with a medicine that contains hundreds of molecules. It is designed by the pharmaceutical industry for regulating single molecule medicines, usually synthesised in a lab, which have the potential to be highly toxic. Every other govt that has recognised the enormous benefit that medicinal cannabis offers has come to the same conclusion: cannabis is a special case. It is far more complex, but much, much safer than, pharmaceutical products. Peter Reynods' blog, Peter Reynolds
- Jan.31.2017: The UK Government’s Very Last Excuse For Denying Access To Medicinal Cannabis. UK govt policy on cannabis hasn’t altered since 1971. Despite the vast amount of new evidence published since then and revolutionary change, particularly on medicinal use, all across the world, successive govts have stubbornly and obstinately refused to consider any sort of reform. It doesn’t matter which party has been in power, Conservative, Labour or the coalition, it’s a subject that ministers and MPs simply refuse to engage with. The clamour for medicinal access has increased enormously, just as the evidence for its safety and efficacy has become overwhelming. More recently, and in the face of an explosion of supportive evidence, another line has been added. This states that ‘the UK has a well established process for the approval of medicines through the MHRA and that any company wishing to bring a medicinal cannabis product to market should follow this procedure. Inside sources suggest that the govt is very keen to see new cannabis-based medicines approved by the MHRA. It would take the wind out of the sails of the medical cannabis campaign. This is the very last excuse for denying access to medicinal cannabis. It is nothing but an excuse and one that is misleading and based on deception. The MHRA process is incapable of dealing with a medicine that contains hundreds of molecules. It is designed by the pharmaceutical industry for regulating single molecule medicines, usually synthesised in a lab, which have the potential to be highly toxic. Peter Reynolds' blog, Peter Reynolds
- CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform, the UK’s largest drugs policy reform group