Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

The British Medicinal Cannabis Register And Your Security

with 34 comments

Apart from the misinformation and propaganda of government, there are two reasons why cannabis law reformers have met with little success in Britain.

The first is a lack of factual information about who uses cannabis, how and for what reasons.  The second is a terrible record of disunity, squabbling and petty power games amongst campaigners.

My fervent hope is that the creation of the British Medicinal Cannabis Register (BMCR) will help to solve the first, at least for medicinal users.   The second though may prove more difficult.

The BMCR has attracted the endorsement of a number of eminent individuals.  Council members include people whose reputation is beyond reproach as well as medicinal users who, by definition, are described as criminals.  There have already been scurrilous attacks on the integrity of some council members and cowardly abuse,  anonymous or in disguise, from those who have a different agenda.

Regrettably,  a well known campaigner with an honourable and courageous record in assisting medicinal users, has resigned from the council over concerns about data security.  While he is a man of great integrity, the web site with which he is associated has hosted a series of paranoid and scaremongering attacks on the BMCR.   The site is well known as a forum for cannabis growers who clearly have good reason to be concerned about their security.

The BMCR issued the following guidance:

Your Security

The purpose of the BMCR is to build a database of factual information.  For that data to have any value it must be validated.  Cannabis remains illegal in Britain so there will always be some danger in contributing to any website or source of information, even if you do so anonymously or under a pseudonym.

After careful consideration the BMCR has concluded that the minimum requirement for data to be validated is a name, a part post code and a verifiable email address.  The name and postcode cannot be verified so there is nothing to stop you using an alias.

Clearly, the information about post code, condition(s) and method(s) of use is only of any value if it is truthful.  All data will be stored on encrypted servers and/or storage devices and will not be released to anyone voluntarily.  However, you must decide for yourself the balance between providing information and your own security.

Ultimately, medicinal users must decide for themselves whether they want to stand up and be counted or not.   Personally, I put my name loud and proud alongside the BMCR and I will defend and keep confidential any information entrusted to me to the ultimate.  I know the same goes for all those involved.

The BMCR website is at www.bmcr.org.uk.

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34 Responses

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  1. I have been following the thread on UK420 and find a lot of the points about the protection of data collected to be sound. I can fully understand peoples hesitation about submitting their information but what comes to my mind is that if the police/government wanted that info surely they could have it without even asking or getting a court order. In this day and age is any information stored using technology really safe from prying eyes?

    Phil

    November 22, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    • Of course you’re right Phil. The plonkers on UK420 don’t seem to realise that they can all be traced through their email addresses and/or IP addresses just as easily as anyone who registers on the BMCR.

      Peter Reynolds

      November 23, 2010 at 7:21 pm

      • Hi Peter,

        This is actually something that UK420 have always taken seriously. UK420 servers are located in Holland, making it harder for authorities to obtain IP addresses.

        They also advise all members to register with an email address that can’t be traced to their identity.

        I think you have to expect people on cannabis growing forums to be very wary of security. Securing the integrity of personal data should be the number one priority because what these people are doing is against the law and by giving you their personal data they face the very real chance of being arrested and/or incarcerated.

        Many would not use UK420 were these measures not in place and for good reason because people have been busted for using cannabis forums in the past, although I must say not through their use of UK420.

        Adam Moniz

        November 28, 2010 at 6:09 am

      • The BMCR’s servers are located in mid-west USA. Whether that should make anyone feel safer or not I have no idea. Someone will no doubt come up with reason why that’s a problem!

        The BMCR is not concerned with commercial cannabis growers. The ludicrous rise in prices to over £10 per gram and ever-diminishing quality is not something to be proud of or encouraged. Irrespective of the benefits of cannabis, some commercial growers are engaged in practices which are to be deplored by everyone. Of course, it’s the evil of prohibition which creates the problem in the first place but nothing can excuse violence, thuggery or adulteration of the product.

        Personally, I find it even more obscene that growing your own is illegal than that it is against the law to buy and sell the harvested product . It’s illegal to cultivate opium poppies yet papaver somniferum is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens everywhere. When did you last hear of someone being prosecuted for that?

        UK420 is a well established forum. I don’t like the name either and I can’t understand how it ever caught on in the USA if the very weak story of its origin is true. Anyway, who gives a damn?

        UK420 has a reputation for being, shall we say, difficult or combative in its dealings but there are also many honourable and decent people involved, notably Jeff Ditchfield. The BMCR has set out to be inclusive of the whole cannabis community which is why UK420 was invited from the very beginning to nominate a council member.

        The security of people registering with BMCR is obviously a prime concern. On line registration will go live this coming week. Council members have been working hard to determine the final form that registration will take. We have taken on board criticism and suggestions from all sources. I am confident that the solution we have arrived at will unite all interest groups. Having said that, I’m also sure that there will always be agitators and those with a destructive agenda who will seek to cause trouble. It was actually suggested to me recently that some of the more extreme paranoiacs are undercover Special Branch, setting out to undermine our efforts! Such are the levels of paranoia we have to deal with.

        Peter Reynolds

        November 28, 2010 at 12:50 pm

      • I do no think that where the servers are located has anything to do with personal ip addresses. If you wish to be anonymous then you need to use an anonymous ip address. I actually use one so that I can watch UK tv online etc. I can advise if anyone wants advice in that area.

        Paz

        November 28, 2010 at 5:33 pm

  2. I am currently working on setting up the form for the BMCR and can confirm everything that Peter has said above! The information that is required will not be used against people, it is purely for statistical reasons only to show that medicinal cannabis users are not a minority. As Peter says you do not even have to have your proper postcode entered and an alias can be used and your details will still be submitted to the BMCR. All other details such as address are not mandatory to have your details submitted to the BMCR.

    Anyone who does submit their information to the register, real details or not are protected by the data protection act which the BMCR fully adheres to.

    Its really sad that because of a few paranoid people could actually be detrimental to the BMCR which has only been set up to try and help those who use cannabis for medicinal reasons.

    Carolyn Cameron

    November 22, 2010 at 9:21 pm

  3. Have just read you comments on the uk420 site and spot on imho, it is a shame but what can you do.

    Have just received this and wonder what your thoughts are..

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/2605/pdfs/uksi_20102605_en.pdf.

    as Bob Marley sang.. get up.. stand up..etc.

    L catt

    November 22, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    • If you grovel in secrecy and fear then politicians will oppress you. It’s a fact of life. Discretion is wise, of course, but courage is also required. You have to stand up and be counted!

      Peter Reynolds

      November 23, 2010 at 7:24 pm

  4. Peter, I understand your feelings on this, but I don’t think this post helps. I’ve contacted you directly.

    Derek

    November 22, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    • It’s simply intended to clarify in the face of scaremongering and paranoia.

      The truth is that if we want change we have to have the courage of our convictions. The ID requirement to register on the BMCR is minimal. There has to be some validation of the data otherwise it’s useless.

      Peter Reynolds

      November 23, 2010 at 7:27 pm

  5. Whilst some may be happy to rush headlong into uncertain futures myself included many more fear for their own safety, Ive come to the conclusion that its a pointless worry most cannabis offences are very lightly punished and a great many go unregistered through the cash cow fine system which allows 3 catches before criminalisation, More judges are realising that there is a medical need and very few cases end in more than a suspended sentence. A very persistent local poly drug user just managed to get a tag after a very very long list of offences. Honesty deposes the beast.

    In the next year or so the class A market is going to explode in a big way with the massive cuts being put in place with the police force. Give it 2 years and it will be a worthy industry in the UK and a formidable one with the freedom it has been granted and the continued abuse of price through the MOD act.
    Now the cannabis is so poor and expensive a lot of the people I know by proxy of others in the drug market are all moving out of the cannabis market or using several small grow ops to produce the first moneys to enter the class A and legal highs markets.

    The police and courts have far to much to worry about than turning over medical users, we are to well informed now and with each growth of tech we grow stronger with truth and knowledge.

    John Ellis

    November 22, 2010 at 11:20 pm

  6. Thank you, Peter, for clarifying the data security situation of the BMCR. I reply here to some comments made, by your good self, a couple of days ago, on the FaceBook page:

    >The legal advice received is that records held on the BMCR database have the same legal status as any medical record.

    Except for one important difference – the *illegal* use of cannabis in the UK is not regarded in law as being a matter of a medical record. Sativex use is defined as such, as it is a prescription drug, but cannabis use is not. Possession of cannabis, as we know, is regarded in law as an illegal activity and as such, the Police would be able, if they so choose, to get a Court Order to sequester the BMCR database.

    In this respect, laws that cover the Privacy Act, the Consumer Protection Act and any other Act, do not cover individuals who are deemed by the Public Prosecutor to be breaking the law in activities that are deemed to be of a criminal nature.

    Yes, it sucks a lot, and we need to recheck and make this the number one priority to being a water-tight security function of the BMCR.

    >it is for this reason that a full address is not required, just a name, a verifiable email address and the first part of a post code.

    With all respect, I honestly don’t think that this is an adequate system of operational procedure. If somebody gives their real name – which of course, is preferable – even a part of their postcode can identify them to the Police as the first part of the code tells the Police which town they are in. A quick troll by the Police through the Electoral Roll will then find that person. Known cannabis users and campaigners may not mind this, if they are already known to the Police, but I would think that this could be a real problem for the majority of people, who use medicinal cannabis and who currently have an anonymous status.

    >For now its priority is to get as many people to register as possible.

    I totally agree, but the first part, concerning confidentiality, needs to be really sorted out, IMHO, to ensure that the BMCR has a really good public take-up. We need to have a system in place that inspires total confidence of confidentiality. This is imperative, IMHO.

    This is only my suggestion, use or reject as seen fit:

    Make the user submissions to the Register and allocate a Registration number to the person, along with the name of the town where they live.

    By doing this, the BMCR have the full personal details of the medicinal cannabis user – encrypted and stored on a separate secure web server – not on a computer hard drive – and the rest of the person’s data on medicinal cannabis use, their town, and everything, made public on the publicly viewable Register.

    We all want the BMCR to succeed and we thus need to protect the identity of individuals within the medical cannabis community, who register with the BMCR, to the fullest extent possible.

    As a projected bona fide medicinal cannabis Register, I don’t think we should encourage the use of aliases, although it is down to the individual as to whether they use one, or not. Medical cannabis users are unwell people and if they register with the BMCR, I would imagine that they are doing so with a ray of hope in their hearts that the BMCR – simply by its very existence – is going to be a mainstream, professional entity, not an alternative stoner group, with people hiding behind aliases, with the usual public backbiting dialogue. There is even talk that the BMCR could become a registered charity?

    We need to sort out the security issue, and then FLY.

    Hold the flag up high, Peter. The BMCR initiative is just too special and too important for us to fail on.

    Jayelle Farmer

    November 23, 2010 at 1:37 am

    • Personally I don’t actually think a register is needed anyway. Recent statistics already show that in the UK over 30% of the 15-64 age groups have used cannabis.

      This totally rejects those ideas of everyone being a lazy stoner (tho I suppose I am, it just doesn’t hold me back) and that the country is still working (sort of).

      Of course I agree with the rights for medical users and all those arguments but I don’t actually want to see the distinction. Many studies have shown that cannabis has many areas where it is a ‘preventative’ medicine not just a cure, in fact it can be argued far more preventative than a cure.

      Basics, prevention is better than cure so in reality we are all medical users.

      Peace

      Paz

      November 23, 2010 at 5:47 pm

      • I agree with you entirely. I have been campaigning for the legalisation of cannabis for over 30 years. Science now proves that it is a valuable nutritional supplement to the endocannabinoid system.

        However, in recent years, I have become aware of the dramatic,sometimes miraculous difference that cannabis can make to people suffering from severe medical conditions. Compared to their pain and suffering my “recreational” freedom is trivial. The cowardly politicians who prevent this relief are nothing less than evil. This is where the urgency lies. This inhuman injustice must be stopped!

        Peter Reynolds

        November 23, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    • I appreciate your suggestion Jayelle and,of course you’re right, ultimately the authorities could obtain a court order forany PCs and/or servers in my office or at my ISPs. Even if we followed your suggestion, they could still obtain the records showing the number allocated to the individual so I don’t see what it would achieve except to make the process more complex.

      Any suggestions are welcome though and I am investigating all options.

      Peter Reynolds

      November 23, 2010 at 7:31 pm

  7. OK, here’s my proposal for a way forward. I’m afraid this concern over data security is a major issue which has to be taken on board.

    First, what is the information the register actually needs? That is the only information it should contain.

    The only requirement for identification is to ensure the data comes from one person in the UK and not a spammer or people in other countries.

    Therefore I propose:

    People respond to an invitation to join the register by sending an e-mail. BMCR then replies to that e-mail which confirms the person exists and would allow some system to ensure the address is only used once. The e-mail could provide some location information if this is felt important.

    BMCR replies to this email with a web address of an online form to complete. This form collects the information about cannabis use but does not connect the original application to the data. This is the information kept on the database and is totally anonymous.

    I seriously suggest we adopt something along these lines which remove any possibility of the register being used to incriminate people and also removes any need for trust in any individual connected with the project.

    I would like to propose that we debate this with some urgency please.

    Derek

    November 23, 2010 at 9:01 am

  8. Thank you for your suggestions. I am discussing these with Carolyn who is the developer of the BMCR website and with others. Expect an update soon!

    Peter Reynolds

    November 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm

  9. I can understand everyones concerns over security and of course concerns about who is submitting data and whether it is even worthwhile information to be kept.

    Derek I like your idea of signing up by invite only as it would certainly cut down on spammers and would allow BMCR more control over the users who are signing up and submitting their information. I have an idea what could be used for this to ensure this. Will get back to you as soon as possible regarding this! :)

    Carolyn Cameron

    November 23, 2010 at 7:16 pm

  10. Peter,

    I am sick and tired of these games. If ‘we’ are ever to make a stand against this unjust law then we are going to have to stand up and make our collective voices heard. I have been contributing to cannabis forums for over 12 years now and I don’t think that I have ever known such fear (yes, I’ll use that word) amongst the cannabis fraternity. They (Govt) have us just where they want us! Yes, I have experienced that early knock on the door and watched my beloved plants bagged up but it has not stopped me. I’m 52 years old and had a 100% clean criminal record for 49 of those years and I’m as still angry about that, I’m NOT a criminal. If this excellent project is to work then its time to stand up and make ourselves known and to do so in considerable numbers. Data protection is important yes, BUT now is the time to let this Government know just how many of us there are in this country who feel strongly about this issue. I knew a guy who suffered muscle spasms so strong that they could throw him backwards out of his wheelchair and onto the floor, the ONLY medication that effectively controlled those spasms was cannabis,and I’d be betraying him if I refused to put my name/ details to this register, bollocks, I’m prepared to put my home address to it if required. I’m not an activist whatever that means, but I’ve used cannabis responsibly for over 30 years as have many that I know and I have had enough of this propaganda/lies.

    Come on people, were not out smashing things up, were not terrorists, were not harming ANYBODY else are we? The average police officer can barely be bothered with us, its this damn Government that has us pinned down like soldiers on a beachhead landing and its our bloody D Day, we need to get up and move forward. Remember it was illegal once for Women to vote or to be Homosexual, and it took considerable courage to stand up and overturn those laws, people lost their livers fighting for it ….but they WON. Now is OUR time, and every one of you has to make a choice, either to support this initiative or keep your heads down and accept things as they are, its YOUR choice.

    Lee Gramson
    Dymchurch,
    kent.

    Lee Gramson

    November 23, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    • Lee, I am proud of you. I too have seen similar beneficial effects of cannabis for people in dreadful suffering.

      Thank you so much. I stand shoulder to shoulder with you.

      Peter Reynolds

      November 23, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    • Well said Lee,I wish there where a lot more out there as sensible as you.The whole idea of the BMCR register is to present an accurate picture to the government just how many people there are in this country who rely and depend on cannabis for releif from painfull illnesses If the people who we are trying to help cant see the sence behind it,then there is no hope of any of us getting our medication legaly.

      Victor Hamilton

      November 24, 2010 at 5:20 pm

  11. I agree with you Lee with what you are saying regards the government, people need to wake up and smell the coffee and see whats really going on.

    The government could be compared to a small child playing two separated parents off against each other and causing paranoia and perpetuating hate. They are currently doing it with people on the benefits system by portraying people with ill health and disabilities as scroungers making disabled people targets to detract away from the game the government are playing and sneaking in all these changes while everybody is busy arguing amongst themselves. They have done the same thing with asylum seekers turning the rest of society against them, making people think that asylum seekers are getting one over or getting better benefits than the rest of the british public when in fact that isn’t the case!!

    People should wake and and stop judging others and understand the games the government is playing by playing one group off against another so that we cant get any further forward.

    You and Peter are right we do have to take a stand and cant be seen to give up so easily! If some people see a few standing up for their rights they will probably follow suit.

    I don’t have a problem making myself known, am way past the stage where I actually care what anybody thinks of me anymore.

    There’s no point moaning and bitching about how ridiculous the law is if that is all you are going to do, there are loads of people who are willing to stand up and be counted and try and change things for the better so to all these paranoid whiners either stand up and be counted or sit down and shut up!!

    Carolyn Cameron

    November 23, 2010 at 11:18 pm

  12. Do we know who all the board members are now? if so any chance of a list as I would like to make up a poster to stick in my local doctors surgery, I want to leave very little room for the practice manager to refuse.

    many thanks.

    very exciting times ahead and we all have our role to play.

    L Catt

    November 28, 2010 at 12:53 am

    • The founder council members are:

      Matthew Atha, IDMU
      Chris Baldwin, Legalise Cannabis Alliance
      Jayelle Farmer, Pro-Legislate Cannabis UK
      Paul Flynn MP, House Of Commons
      Victor Hamilton, Medicinal user
      Prof. Les Iversen, Oxford University
      Baroness Molly Meacher, House Of Lords
      Stevie Powers, THCTalk
      Colin Preece, Campaigner
      Jason Reed, Medicinal user
      Peter Reynolds, Writer
      Jim “Pinky” Starr, Medicinal user
      Edwin Stratton, Drug Equality Alliance
      Dr Malcolm Vandenburg, Consulting Physician
      Derek Williams, UK Cannabis Internet Activists

      Peter Reynolds

      November 28, 2010 at 3:24 pm

  13. On a slightly different note but one that niggles nevertheless, I detest the name UK420. 420 means nothing to people outside of America and I am sure that the Americans are the last people we should be copycatting. Why use such an awful name?

    Mark Sental

    November 28, 2010 at 12:09 pm

  14. Their seems to be an awful lot of name calling on the uk420 site, slinging accusations blah blah blah, I could not give a hoot what peters politics are, on this one we are united and that is all that matters, neither Jeffery Ditchfield nor Derek Williams represent myself or my wife indeed they represent no one from my inner circle who very much want this to succeed despite the obstructiveness (disguised as concern) and the insane paranoia, for us these people have actively sought to cripple the BMCR, pride comes before a fall and I think they should be fully supportive of this inniative, but alas I think they have another agenda.

    Peter gets things done and to bring up another persons politics/views as some sort of character assassination show just how weak and deluded they are, completely out of touch with what medical users want.

    l catt

    December 7, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    • Thank you very much. I am shocked at the behaviour exhibited by Derek Williams and UK420. These people however are largely irrelevant. They have been failing to achieve anything for years.

      I have set up the BMCR with no personal ambition but at my own expense. I have tried to involve everyone but some have repaid that with arrogance and insistence that I must do it their way or they will publicly denounce me – which they have.

      Many of the things said are simply beneath contempt and entirely irrelevant to the cause. There are several individuals who have shamed themselves with two-faced, insincere and entirely negative behaviour. Such is the world we live in. There are enemies both within and without.

      I shall continue with my work on the BMCR and on my personal campaign for an end to prohibition of cannabis. That is the best answer to my critics.

      Thank you once again for your support.

      Peter Reynolds

      December 7, 2010 at 6:35 pm

  15. I support and am very grateful for the work you are doing. I have been looking on the 420 website and all they seem to be doing is pulling each other to bits.
    they don’t have to remind me about medical cannabis quality, as I have said before, I don’t use it to help with pain, I use it to keep my blood sugars down to a normal level, thus keeping me alive. when I have none my blood sugars are in the high twenties and that is with very little food, as I also have a very poor appetite, and the thought of food makes me vomit. when I have cannabis my blood sugars are perfect and I have a good appetite. so yes I have registered with the bmcr, and given my correct details, if they want to lock me up they can i would be dead within a month, that’s how passionate I am about it.

    graham

    December 11, 2010 at 3:22 am

    • Thank you for your support

      Peter Reynolds

      December 11, 2010 at 9:41 am

  16. Well done Graham, I feel exactly the same as you, mine is tinged with some anger too as I feel patronised by both derek williams and uk420. I have no idea who made these people guardians of my well being, they speak for no one but themselves and I fear the gullible are drawn in, one observation I made on the uk420 site is they like to control or own everything, they often without any justification whatsoever launch attacks on pinky on any given opportunity, pinky is a disabled activist/medical user who is very much taking the fight to the system, which I think is what is troubling them, pinky is also getting things done, brave and courageous his trip to Holland to bring back MMJ was first class activism at its best. Keep up the good work pinky and you too peter which I am sure you will, the board of the BMCR looks very impressive indeed and now the chaff has been sorted from the wheat, we can spread the word and remain positive, 5 years down the line even less we could see this register being instrumental in giving us MMJ, it has the capacity to make great strides, my only wish is that it is well documented how those who opposed it, played their part in trying to wreck it, shame on them, the canna gods must surely be furious with them.

    Onwards and forwards, and I have just joined the howard marks forum where one of the council founder board members is also a member, I want to be around positive well meaning people who are able to see the bigger picture.

    l Catt

    December 11, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    • Thanks!!

      Peter Reynolds

      December 11, 2010 at 1:12 pm

  17. DOES ANYONE REMEMBER THE STATEMENT NICK CLEGG MADE IN THERE MANIFESTO.

    The Liberal Democrat party of the United Kingdom have long been seen as the sensible option so far as British cannabis law is concerned and in their official party manifesto published in 2005 for the last General Election, the Lib-Dems made it clear they intended to decriminalise personal possession of cannabis, and also remove cannabis from the criminal element by making it legal to grow one’s own supply, with one or two limitations.

    They also coined the term “social supply”, showing a clear understanding of how the majority of cannabis changes hands; via a network of friends, family and colleagues, and not, as the Labour run Home Office would have us believe, down at the drug dealers place of business.

    That’s not to say the Liberal Democrats support out-and-out deregulation and legalisation, as the manifesto went onto explain the Lib-Dems will keep cannabis a class C substance, while at the same time using a similar policy change as is in place in Holland, which recognises a citizens rights to use cannabis instead of alcohol, a recreational drug responsible for literally tens of thousands of deaths every year in the United Kingdom whilst cannabis is yet to be credibly linked to a single death anywhere i.n the world

    I THINK NICK CLEGG ALSO SAID MORE OR LESS THE SAME

    graham

    December 11, 2010 at 9:01 pm

  18. SORRY I THINK DAVID CAMERON SAID MORE OR LESS THE SAME

    graham

    December 11, 2010 at 9:02 pm

  19. always look on the bright side of life as the song goes, time to stand back and let those negators negate, We will remain positive, which this register brings, one can see a better future evolving because of this.

    I think this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb_qHP7VaZE represents the various canna groups in the uk. LOL.

    L Catt

    December 12, 2010 at 2:45 pm


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