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Horrible Pictures From Hyde Park Cause Dreadful Damage To Cannabis Campaign.

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Yesterday, the annual Hyde Park 420 event took place.  420 is an American term for cannabis and these events take place all over the world on 20th April.  Why?  For very obscure and esoteric reasons! They are variously described as celebrations of cannabis or protests for legalisation.  Yesterday in Hyde Park was a disaster.

Violent arrests, open dealing of cannabis, hash cookies decorated to appeal to children – these are terrible images that will cause immense harm to the way that cannabis and cannabis users are seen.  CLEAR will not be publishing any of these pictures.

It matters not that these arrests were fundamentally unjust.  The police officers concerned were only doing their job.  The Daily Telegraph and other media are ramping up hysteria over two deaths in Colorado associated with ‘edibles’; so cannabis cookies in kids style was a spectacular own goal. Close-ups of bags of weed being sold alongside the names of the organisers is not just stupid, it is crazy.

We will never win the support of the public by behaving this way.  Inevitably, of the hundreds there, many seemed barely out of their teens.  The images and messages this sends through the media and to our political leaders are destructive of all the positive work that is being done towards reform. These demos, protests,  ‘smoke ups’ and ‘smoke outs’ have never had any positive effect so what makes anyone think they will now?

I know that many involved with the organisers are sincere but if I wanted to plan how to subvert and undermine the campaign, yesterday in Hyde Park would be a good model.

We have MPs, opinion leaders and powerful people on our side but unsurprisingly they will not be associated with such events.  Let’s move on and put this as far behind us as we can. The key to winning this war is to demonstrate that we can behave responsibily, to win hearts and minds which have been subject to propaganda for nearly a century.  Reform in the US has been achieved despite, not because of such events.

So what can you do? Write to your MP, arrange to meet your MP, ask your MP to arrange a meeting with a minister. This is what works. This is what is actually making progress. Let’s not mess it up.

Kid Cannabis – Much Better Than I Expected.

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kid cannabisI watched this movie last night and was very pleasantly surprised.  There are some truly dreadful ‘stoner’ movies (particularly the ones that star the slob Seth Rogen) but this one is different.

Sure, it’s a lightweight comedy but it manages to weave in a few very valuable home truths that will delight anyone who supports the cannabis campaign. For those who are torrentially aware it’s very easy to find. This is how it starts and this gives a good idea of what’s to come:

“Beautiful. Isn’t it?

But listen. You hear it?

I hear it in my nightmares. That’s the sound of the Feds working their unmanned drones, spending more money trying to shut us down than they did searching for Osama Bin Laden.

42 billion spent in the war on pot. 140 bucks from every one of you to fight a little green herb made by God that grows in the sun.

And God doesn’t make mistakes.”

Enjoy!

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 20, 2014 at 11:27 am

The Fleet Street Mafia Needs To Wake Up To The Fact That We Won’t Be Misled On Cannabis Any More.

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Rebecca Smith, The Daily Telegraph

Rebecca Smith, The Daily Telegraph

Rebecca Smith, health editor and Martha Gill, blogger, both of the Daily Telegraph have been getting a hard time in the comment threads of the pieces they published on cannabis yesterday and deservedly so.

Even casual use of cannabis alters brain, warn scientists. By Rebecca Smith.

Smoking cannabis will change you. That’s not a ‘risk’, it’s a certainty. By Martha Gill.

Rebecca Smith is by far the worst offender, publishing such gross distortions of the study she was reporting on that I have submitted a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission.  It’s dreadful that someone granted the title of health editor can be so casually ignorant of science, evidence and ready to mix up her opinion and wild speculation with just a smidgin of fact here and there.  Incidentally, I expect no satisfaction from the PCC.  Three years and nearly 100 complaints show that it is a deeply corrupt organisation that acts only in the interests of the press to find excuses for breaches of the Editors’ Code.  Its nothing to do with protecting readers from inaccurate, misleading and distorted reporting.

Martha Gill, The Daily Telegraph

Martha Gill, The Daily Telegraph

Martha Gill does a bit better because she points out what a vacuous and meaningless piece of research Rebecca Smith has made such a fuss about.  But Martha, apparently, writes for the New Statesman on ‘neuroscience and politics’.  She’s entitled to her political views, which are self-evident given the publication concerned but on neuroscience, the clue is in the third and fourth syllables.  It’s science, not opinion and Martha is woefully out touch with the evidence.  If she’s not careful she”ll grow up into a mumsy moraliser like Libby Purves or Lowri Turner.  She should try reading Professor Gary Wenk, Professor David Nutt, Professor Les Iversen, Professor Peter Jones, Professor Terrie Moffitt or Professor Roger Pertwee.  They and many others could give her a grounding in the neuroscience of cannabis: it’s almost undetectable toxicity, its powerful antioxidant and neuroprotective qualities, its anxiolytic and antipsychotic effects.  Her sweeping statement that “cannabis bad for you” is simply wrong.  For most adults, in moderation, it’s beneficial.

Martha is also detached from reality and distant from the evidence, as is all of Fleet Street, when it comes to the risks of cannabis.  The endless screeds that are written about the risks of cannabis use correlating with schizophrenia or psychosis are ridiculous when you consider the evidence.  Hickman et al, 2009, a review of all published research so, by definition­, not cherry picked,  shows  the risk of lifetime cannabis use correlatin­g with a single diagnosis is at worst 0.013% and probably less than 0.003%.  By contrast, correlation between cigarette smoking and schizophrenia is 80% – 90% (Zammit et al, 2003) but when  do you ever read that in a newspaper?

I’m sorry you’re getting a hard time Rebecca and Martha but you and the ‘capos’ of the Fleet Street Mafia need to realise that people have had enough of your bad science, sensationalism and scaremongering about cannabis. The internet means we can’t be bullied and misinformed by newspapers anymore which is why your circulation is plummeting and journalists are held in ever lower esteem.  We know you’ve spent years supporting Big Booze with its £800 million pa advertising budget.  Obviously it’s desperate to hang on to its monopoly of recreational drugs but if you want to stay in business you’re going to have to start treating readers with respect and with facts and evidence, not baloney.

The Daily Telegraph has become a broadsheet-sized tabloid since it broke the MPs expenses scandal and it is genuinely difficult to distinguish its headlines, writing and content from The Daily Mail these days.

Of course, there’s a lot of rubbish in comment threads but there’s also a lot that’s better informed and considered than in the articles themselves.

People like cannabis, they find it effective, they know it’s safe. 5% of the population uses it regularly. That’s three times as many people as go to Catholic Church regularly.

Expect to be pulled to bits if you try to go back to bad science and reefer madness hysteria.  The world has moved on.

Nigel Farage On Cannabis.

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Nigel Farage

I stood as a candidate for CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform in the 2012 Corby by-election. At the count I had the pleasure of speaking to Nigel on a number of occasions. He was nipping out to the car park for a cigarette and I was letting my dogs out of my car for a wee.

We got on very well and I found him truly charming and genuine. We talked about many things but of course I asked him about his views on cannabis. He agreed that present policy is “Barmy!” and that “Of course we should!” adopt a legalise, tax and regulate policy.

The really extraordinary thing about Nigel expressing these views is that they are unpopular with most UKIP supporters.  That marks him out as a very rare thing in UK politics – a man of true integrity.

farage Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph, 4th April 2014. Read the article here.

 

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 4, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Extraordinary Change Of Tone On Cannabis By The NHS.

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nhs-logo-image-1-296169897NHS Choices published an article today that represents a sea change in attitudes towards cannabis.

Headlined ‘No proof that high dose cannabis is more addictive’, it pulled apart the Daily Mail article on the study published this week in ‘Addiction’.

cannabis leaf in handFinally, it seems, the facts and evidence seem to be getting through, even in Britain. Cannabis is close to a miracle plant, closely intertwined with our body’s natural endocannabinoid system, providing nurture, therapy and healing for many illnesses and promoting good health and wellbeing.

Of course, like anything, even water, it is not without the potential for harm.  It is habit forming, about as much as coffee.  Children shouldn’t be using it, just as they shouldn’t be drinking double espressos.  The madness that is current policy causes far more harm than it prevents. We need to get the dealers off the streets, regulate and control the market properly and start allowing the people of Britain to benefit from the plant they have been denied for too long.

Written by Peter Reynolds

March 20, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Chris Grayling, The Lord Chancellor, Takes Hard Line On Cannabis.

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I understand why the giant intellects of our legal profession resent this man who is the first non-lawyer in 340 years to be appointed to the exalted role of Lord Chancellor.

It would be fair to say that his record as a shadow minister and then Minister of State for Employment is mediocre at best.  He is not a justice minister in the relatively liberal style of Kenneth Clarke.  A ‘hardliner’ they call him.  He channels the ‘something of the night‘ that defined his former colleague Michael, now Lord Howard.  He certainly fits with the idea of the Tories being the ‘nasty party’.

There are few more unsympathetic, merciless and intolerant members of parliament.  It’s not clear what other qualities he has that have earned his high office. No surprise then that his opinion on cannabis should be as bigoted and vacuuous as he demonstrated this week.

Chris Grayling MP

Chris Grayling MP

“I’ve always taken the view that the medical reasons for not going down that road are pretty compelling. I’ve talked to many doctors over the years who have highlighted the links between cannabis use and mental health problems.”

Source: Wales Online

He’s simply repeating the government’s tired and false propaganda.

The links between cannabis use and mental health problems are tenuous to say the least. Despite a massive worldwide increase in cannabis use since the 1960s, rates of psychosis and schizophrenia are declining.

The scare stories and myths promoted by the tabloid press do not stand up to investigation. The facts  of NHS hospital admissions and the National Drug Treatment Monitoring Service (inconveniently for government propagandists and tabloid editors) show that cannabis is a very small contributor to mental health problems, insignificant in public health terms.

The real reason Grayling and his cabinet colleagues want to continue the ban on cannabis is that they fear the consequences of legalisation on the alcohol industry which, as we know, successive governments just roll over for in dutiful compliance.

The ban on cannabis has never had anything to do with health concerns. It’s about vested interests and corrupt and weak politicians. The truth is people like Grayling don’t give a damn about the terrible toll that alcohol takes on our society.  They care not one jot for the liberty of the  individual or the hundreds of thousands who are criminalised fro using cannabis as medicine.

Grayling has never been the sharpest knife in the kitchen cabinet but at least he can be relied on to toe the party line. This is the true worth of most of our cabinet ministers.

Written by Peter Reynolds

November 29, 2013 at 2:38 pm

UK’s ‘Cruel and Corrupt’ Medicinal Cannabis Policy Exposed By CNN’s Dr Sanjay Gupta.

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This clip is from ‘Sanjay Gupta MD’, CNN’s regular medical affairs programme.  It was broadcast on Saturday, 16th November 2013.

An hour-long documentary is to follow, probably in March 2014, when Dr Gupta will expose the terrible cruelty, hypocrisy, dishonesty and corruption which is UK policy on medicinal cannabis. The programme will investigate GW Pharmaceuticals and its cannabis medicines Sativex and Epidiolex.  It will also feature Bedrocan and its grow facility in Holland and look in detail at the process CLEAR has developed which has so far enabled five members successfully to import medicinal cannabis to the UK.

CNN Camera Crew, Jamie Watling (aka 'Clarence Clear'), Peter Reynolds and Dr Sanjay Gupta

CNN Camera Crew, Jamie Watling (aka ‘Clarence Clear’), Peter Reynolds and Dr Sanjay Gupta

Although the UK government claims that cannabis has“no medicinal value”, it has licensed GW Pharmaceuticals to grow massive quantities of the plant which it then processes into its hugely expensive medicines.  The license, which was issued for research purposes only, was operated unlawfully between 2003, when Sativex became a commercial product, until March 2013 when the Home Secretary retrospectively legalised it.

Most CCGs refuse to provide Sativex because it is so expensive.  A month’s prescription of Sativex costs the NHS £560.00.  The equivalent from Bedrocan costs between £35.00 and £105.00 depending on which product is prescribed.

Successive governments have failed to act in the interests of British citizens.  Ministers have refused even to consider a change in policy and have ignored or rejected all the efforts of CLEAR and other groups to present evidence and make a case on behalf of those who need cannabis as medicine.

Even though medicinal cannabis was the subject most often mentioned in the written evidence to the recent Home Affairs select committee drugs inquiry, it was ignored.  No evidence was heard on the subject and no questions were asked.

Peter Reynolds, president and elected leader of CLEAR, commented:

“UK policy on medicinal cannabis is cruel and corrupt.  While ministers refuse even to consider reform despite overwhelming scientific evidence, hundreds of thousands of British people persist in pain, suffering and disability which could be relieved by cannabis.  The police are used as armed enforcers of GW Pharmaceuticals’ unlawful monopoly, arresting and even imprisoning sick people who are merely trying to improve their health.  I want to thank Dr Gupta for his work.  While he has travelled thousands of miles to tell this story, UK government ministers hide in their offices with their fingers in their ears.”

Exposure. Britain’s Booming Cannabis Business.

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exposure title

WATCH HERE

Well I thought it was excellent.  The only complaint I have is some wild and ridiculous claims about the value of cannabis plants.  Other than that, the film did an excellent job of making the case for regulation.  It must have been crystal clear to anyone watching it that present policy is idiotic, self-defeating and causes far more harm than it prevents.

Well Done Stuart!

Well Done Stuart!

My former colleague on the CLEAR executive, Stuart Warwick, was the star of the show.  He came across as warm, humane and truly sensible.  He was also the only man with the balls to show his face.  Well done Stuart!

The dealers and grow robbers were blindfolded with their voices disguised.  Even Orson Boon, promoter of the London Cannabis Club (LCC), was too scared to show his face.  So it was ironic in the extreme that he stole the words I have published so often that “cannabis is not a subculture but a mainstream issue”.  I admire the LCC’s entertaining Facebook page where it publishes some delicious photos of weed and buds but it is the very essence of the cannabis subculture.  It is for the nerdy tomato grower when 99% of us buy them at the supermarket!  This is exactly what needs to change.

All in all, a very good programme.  I hope it does some good.

exposure 1

A Cannabis Experiment.

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Day 5

So I’ve stuck with it.  A shot every day for five days so far and I do feel better for it.  Of course it could be any one of a hundred other unconnected reasons but as best as I can determine, my appetite is slightly reduced and I generally feel better this week than I did last.

Day 2

I thought I felt a surge of energy after yesterday’s dose but I have felt pretty bad and bilious all day.  My second dose definitely rejuvenated me this evening.  I have bowed to the inevitable that my cocktail shall be called a Virgin Mary Jane.

Day 1

Today I juiced a bucketful of shade leaves, trimmed from a very large white widow cannabis plant.

My excellent Breville juicer produced exactly a pint of thick, green cannabis juice which tastes vile.

I shall consume one shot of this each day and report any observable results.  My measure is an espresso cup which I have measured at 80 ml (my pint of juice is, near as damn it, 600 ml).

Today’s medicine was taken in a large glass of ice cold V8 vegetable juice with a generous slug of Worcestershire sauce, an extended shake of Tabasco and a little salt.

Written by Peter Reynolds

September 28, 2013 at 8:17 pm

How To Damage The Cannabis Campaign.

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1. Demand ‘rights’ that are neither reasonable nor necessary:

“We want to prove that cannabis can be consumed safely, peacefully and responsibly in public without causing any harm to society”

2. Choose a venue that:

a. enables police to claim that it :

“is used by children and families”

b. enables the local newspaper to use this photograph:

Eastrop Park

Eastrop Park

3. Fail to apply for permission to hold the event:

“…we have not received an application in regards to this proposed event.”

See this article in ‘This Is Hampshire’:  Pro-cannabis campaigners to hold protest in Eastrop Park

I support the overall aims of the people behind this.  The intention is good but the means are naive, irresponsible and exactly the way NOT to campaign for cannabis law reform.

Written by Peter Reynolds

September 19, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Posted in Politics

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