Posts Tagged ‘cannabis’
In order to protect patient confidentiality and against the sort of sabotage which is so often seen in the cannabis campaign, we are not releasing details of who we are meeting or when. Suffice to say that this breakthrough has been achieved by many months of behind the scenes work, meetings with MPs, doctors and the courageous efforts of several CLEAR members.
The focus is to permit medicinal users access to the products of Bedrocan, the Dutch government’s official producer of medicinal cannabis. We now have written confirmation from both the Department of Health and the Home Office that doctors are fully entitled to write prescriptions for Bedrocan products, just as they are for any other unlicensed medicine.
The next stage is to obtain an import licence from the Home Office, either a personal import licence for each individual or a licence for a pharmacist to import and dispense. The recent re-scheduling of Sativex makes our case for obtaining these licences much stronger.
We are not there yet but we are now closer than we have ever been to enabling legal access to medicinal cannabis. The delegation will be meeting face to face with people who can make this happen.
We also have a BBC documentary producer with whom we have been working for a few months concerning a programme to be broadcast in the autumn. This visit to parliament could form an important part of the programme.
If you are interested in being considered as a member of the delegation, please email me with a concise description of yourself, your condition and your history of medicinal cannabis use: firstname.lastname@example.org
“In years to come, the attitudes that now prevail towards people that choose cannabis will be as politically incorrect as racism, homophobia or denying women the vote.
Cannabis is one of God’s greatest gifts with which mankind has had a symbiotic relationship since the dawn of time.
The prohibition experiment of the last 80 years has been a disaster. A rational approach will bring enormous benefits to our country, save billions in wasted expenditure, create thousands of new jobs, cut crime and disorder, provide tremendously safe and effective relief to millions in pain and disability.
Peter Reynolds, CLEAR
Stephen Davies, Institute of Economic Affairs
Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday
David Raynes, National Drug Prevention Alliance
University of Exeter. Streatham Court A. 7.30pm. Free entry.
After a long night watching the election results come in, my heart bursting with joy at the news from Colorado and Washington, it was time to take the dogs for a walk.
On top of the hill, way over in the west I can definitely see hope shining out.
There was time for just a few tears, then back to work…
She must have been stoned out of her tiny mind when she made this decision. After all, according to Nadine, cannabis is at least 50 times stronger than it used to be and it’s clearly destroyed any potential she had left.
Madness. Craziness. Humiliating. Historical.
Yes Nadine, you’ve definitely secured your place in history.
Ant, Dec and Nadine. Only a poisonous scorpion or a venomous snake can save you now.
Cannabinoids are powerful substances. They are fundamental to life. With that power comes danger. Modern science and chemistry allows unscrupulous businessmen to exploit and endanger young people as they follow the perfectly natural path of all youngsters – to experiment and to get “high”.
In mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, the endocannabinoid system regulates all aspects of physical and mental health. Evolution, Mother Nature, God, Science – whatever name you assign to it – has endowed the cannabis plant as the only natural source of cannabinoids outside the body. Self-evidently, we are in a chicken and egg dilemma here about names and terminology but the facts remain the same, cannabinoids are vital substances. The cannabis plant exists in a symbiotic relationship with mankind. No wonder that some call it sacred.
The great immoral evil that is prohibition seeks to deny access to cannabis. So, in our modern, technological world, inevitably, people find a way to circumvent the law. This was the birth of “legal highs”, the creation of “analogues” or slight molecular variations of delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC), notorious as the ingredient in cannabis that gets you “high”. In fact, the benefits of cannabis are much more complex than that. It is the interaction of around 100 cannabinoids in the plant together with terpines, flavonoids and other compounds that produce the delightful and therapeutic effects.
The effect of synthetic cannabinoids – “Spice” was the biggest brand name ever – is vile. It is really, truly horrible. It has none of the inherent, natural, protective balance of real cannabis. It causes paranoia, anxiety, fear, delusions, all the symptoms that describe psychosis, the term that has been used to demonise cannabis which, in its natural form, is actually very safe and contains anti-psychotic agents. Worse than that, Spice can lead to elevated blood pressure, heart palpitations, seizures and vomiting. As well as the lack of natural, counterbalancing ingredients, it is also believed to bind more strongly to the cannabinoid receptors, increasing the duration and potency of its effects.
In Britain, the centre of the synthetic cannabinoid business is Totnes, an apparently sleepy market town in Devon. In fact, it is an important hub of the synthetic cannabinoid business in Europe and worldwide. Here, in a grubby warehouse, on a run down industrial estate, completely untested chemical compounds are imported from China, mixed with other ingredients of dubious source and then distributed around the Britain and the world, largely to be sold to young people and children, completely outside the control, moral or legal regulation of any responsibility.
If Shaun Sawyer, the chief constable of Devon and Cornwall wants to do something effective to protect young people, instead of breaking down the doors of people growing a few cannabis plants he should be checking out the contents of this warehouse in Totnes. It is a combination of laziness and ignorance that the police aren’t dealing with this. Spice and other synthetic cannabinoids are far, far more dangerous to our young people and our communities than the natural and generally benign cannabis plant.
Spice and other synthetic cannabinoids are usually dried herbs or plant material that has been sprayed with cannabinoid(s) and marketed as a smoking material. Often the plant material itself has some sort of psychoactive effect. These include blue water lily (Nymphaea caerulea), dwarf skullcap (Scutellaria nana), Maconha brava (Zornia latifolia or Z. diphylla), Siberian motherwort (Leonurus sibiricus), Indian warrior (Pedicularis densiflora) and lion’s tail (Leonotis leonuru). Large amounts of Vitamin E have also been found in some samples, possibly to mask detection of the cannabinoids. The cannabinoids themselves are usually JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, HU-210 and cannabicyclohexanol. They might be used individually or in any ratio or combination that is convenient or profitable.
From 23rd December 2009, these known ingredients of Spice were prohibited and are now “controlled” under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 as if they are cannabis. However, they are very difficult to detect and many more synthetic cannabinoids have been developed. In Totnes there may be a large amount of left over Spice, re-packaged as something else, possibly even mixed with new synthetics which this “Mr Big” has formulated for him by his expert chemist who he told me is based in Austria. Who knows what these products contain? Mr Big and the Austrian chemist engage in frequent email correspondence and samples are sent back and forth as ever more effective attempts are made to evade the law and produce stronger and more profitable chemicals.
A year or so ago I was invited inside this warehouse myself and it opened my eyes to the extremes that some people are prepared to go to make a fast buck. It is dark, dank and clammy. It reeks of slightly rotten or putrid contents. There are boxes and crates spread in no apparent order everywhere. There are large envelopes and plastic containers on shelves containing indeterminate substances that look like dried mushrooms, herbs and plant material. There are also unlabelled powders and pills and, surprisingly for something that is now supposed to be against the law to possess or sell, large quantities of packets that are labelled “Spice”, although what they actually contain is uncertain.
Mr Big is surrounded by a small group of sycophants, some work in his warehouse, some are controlled by gifts and “entertainment”. Downstairs in the dingy warehouse groups of people sit around smoking.
Upstairs in the office is even more worrying. There’s everything you would expect at a thriving mail order business. People working on computers, answering telephones, packing orders and yet more strange substances and distinctly dodgy looking products. I am shown a tea caddy-like container, covered in Chinese decoration and writing. I’m told it is the very latest synthetic cannabinoid imported from China. It’s a fine white powder that glistens slightly. Then I’m introduced to the manufacturing process.
A large red “Kitchen Aid” food mixer, the sort you would find in a professional kitchen, is taken off the shelf and Mr Big produces a football sized lump of squidgy, black, supposedly inert, base material. Yes, it looks just like squidgy, black hash but what exactly it contains I have no idea and neither, I should think, does Mr Big. Into the mixing bowl goes a generous handful of this gunk and then the cannabinoid is sprinkled over it. There’s no measurement or calculation or care involved . It’s entirely haphazard and, it has to be said, reckless. The mixer is cranked up to maximum and left to do its work with just one more slug of the white powder for luck. Soon it will be cut into small portions and distributed through head shops and by mail order for unsuspecting people to try.
Yes, I tried it myself. It was horrendous. I am a very experienced cannabis user of over 40 years standing. I’ve tried and enjoyed the strongest varieties, be it Nepalese, Afghan or Pakistani hash, concentrated oil, Thai sticks, the finest medicinal product from Bedrocan in Holland and MMJ dispensaries in the USA. Nothing could have prepared me for the potency and horrible effect of this Totnes poison.
I crumbled a very small amount into my favourite metal pipe, lit it and took a very gentle pull, just enough to get it burning. Within moments I had the most powerful and unpleasant sensation. Every negative, nasty and unwanted effect that I’ve experienced from anything cannabis related was there. Previously, the only bad effects I’ve had from the real thing are when I’ve eaten too much but this was much worse than that. I was instantly on edge, feeling slightly panicky and breathing very quickly. It took fifteen minutes to wear off and the rest of the small sample that Mr Big had given me went straight in the bin.
So what’s the answer to this? Ban it? Lock up Mr Big and throw away the key?
Not at all. Prohibition is a dangerous and irresponsible policy that always causes more harm than it prevents. Remember, Spice is already banned but it hasn’t made any difference to Mr Big and he probably doesn’t even know himself which products in his sordid inventory are allowed and which aren’t. It would probably keep the local drug testing laboratory busy for a year before they manage to go through them all.
These synthetic cannabinoids and all “legal highs” whether or not they’ve yet been banned, are the product of prohibition. They would not exist, nor pose any significant problem, were it not for the ludicrous, self-defeating and harmful policy followed by the British government and other misguided administrations all over the world.
The only answer is to regulate, to introduce a system of licensing, age restrictions and consumer protection. It won’t eliminate the problem entirely but at least it will give us some degree of control, because prohibition provides none.
Mr Big doesn’t give a damn. Although he has a family of his own including small children, all he is concerned with are the hundreds of thousands of pounds he has made by turning Totnes into a worldwide centre for his disgusting trade. We must take responsibility, regulate, control and protect and in due course, Mr Big will get what’s coming to him.
I am pleased to announce that CLEAR will be launching an information campaign about the dangers of synthetic cannabinoids.
The ultimate answer is to end the prohibition of cannabis.
Parties with our money, our goodwill, our trust and our faith in the promises they make.
That’s the way the political oligarchs want to turn our House of Lords. I recommend the Telegraph View.
In the disguise of reform, the coalition proposals, with the connivance of Tory, LibDem and Labour politicians, seek to convert the second chamber into a party-driven sham which they can quickly abolish as an anachronism and unnecessary. They will call it a cost saving measure. Then the oligarchs will have triumphed completely.
I agree that the House of Lords makes no sense on paper but on the evidence, on its record, thank God we have it. The intelligence, disrespect of convention, boldness and inspiration that it demonstrates puts the Commons to shame.
Look at the intelligence, zeal and wisdom demonstrated in the Lords about cannabis and drugs issues as compared to the Commons. Independent conscience and opinion gets much closer to the truth.
The House Of Lords proposals are a put up job which will give more power to the main political parties. They are profoundly undemocratic and should be resisted at all costs.
In January I took my website offline because it was being used to focus destructive attacks against CLEAR.
That was a mistake. I should have kept it up. The haters and hypocrites continue with their lies and smears irrespective of truth or anything that I do. I am proud of my writing here. That is not to say that my views don’t develop and change over time but I hold true to fundamental principles of justice and against prejudice and discrimination. It is ironic that those are the charges that have been levelled against me.
Here you will find strong opinions, powerfully expressed. My views are essentially libertarian and I repudiate hate against anyone, despite the spite and abuse that has been levelled at me. There is evil in the world though and I make no apology for my condemnation of the Israeli state, of the wicked extremes of Islam, the crimes of all organised religions and the corrupt oligarchy of politicians, media and bankers that run the Western world. These evils must be fought against.
Let me be very clear about CLEAR and my role in it. It is a single issue party and I will work with anyone, whatever their political allegiance, race, religion or philosophy in order to end the prohibition of cannabis. I was elected leader in February 2011. I won a vote of confidence with a 70% majority in April 2012. Under my leadership CLEAR will continue its evidence based campaign for responsible reform of the cannabis laws.
I am back. And I will have my say.
I am easily moved. It is connected with my Welshness. The 15 brave souls singing before they charge for Wales at Rugby Union and I am in bits.
It is rare though for just a few words in print (OK, on a screen!) to move me so much.
I am right at the end of the 731 pages of written evidence to the HASC drugs inquiry and I come to Russell Brand.
Not someone I have held in high regard until I saw his contribution to the Versus YouTube debate. Even there he was hyperbolic and almost abusive but the intellect and truth shone out of him.
In his submission to the inquiry, he quotes an article that he had published in The Guardian on 24th July 2011, and this passage made me cry.
It’s also one of those rare examples where the use of foul language is absolutely perfect.
“I arrived late and as I made my way to the audience through the plastic smiles and plastic cups I heard the rolling, wondrous resonance of a female vocal. Entering the space I saw Amy on stage with Weller and his band; and then the awe. The awe that envelops when witnessing a genius. From her oddly dainty presence that voice, a voice that seemed not to come from her but from somewhere beyond even Billie and Ella, from the font of all greatness. A voice that was filled with such power and pain that it was at once entirely human yet laced with the divine. My ears, my mouth, my heart and mind all instantly opened. Winehouse. Winehouse? Winehouse! That twerp, all eyeliner and lager dithering up Chalk Farm Road under a backcombed barnet, the lips that I’d only seen clenching a fishwife fag and dribbling curses now a portal for this holy sound.
So now I knew. She wasn’t just some hapless wannabe, yet another pissed-up nit who was never gonna make it, nor was she even a ten-a-penny-chanteuse enjoying her fifteen minutes.
She was a fucking genius.”