How the Code has been breached
2. Para 2 first sentence: “Many ministers admit having used illegal substances; so this policy of allowing the nation to rot its brains and become a danger to everyone else has yet to be countermanded.”
This is factually inaccurate. There is no evidence that cannabis ‘rots the brain’. In fact, precisely the opposite is true. Many studies demonstrate that cannabis is neuroprotective and helps to protect the brain against external injury, concussion and stroke. There is also no evidence that cannabis use causes anyone to “become a danger to everyone else”.
How the Code has been breached
1. Subhead: “Police laxity has led to more young pot-heads and rising levels of psychosis and addiction” This is factually incorrect. There are now fewer people of all ages using cannabis.
2. Para 3 “Far from a harsh approach, it is laxity that has boosted the number of young pot-heads. This is bad for multiple reasons. Cannabis itself is extremely dangerous. It impairs memory, cripples judgment and the ability to learn. In high doses it can cause addiction, paranoia and psychosis and provoke schizophrenia.”
Factually incorrect. The “number of young pot-heads” has declined not been “boosted”. There is no evidence that cannabis is “extremely dangerous”. There is no evidence that cannabis causes psychosis.
3. Para 7 “Then they claimed Portugalâ’s drug liberalisation had caused drug use to tumble. This was untrue; the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction showed that drug use there had increased.”
Factually incorrect, the EMCDDA and all sources show that drug use has declined in Portugal since decriminalisation
4. Para 10 “Although there is no scientific evidence for definitive benefit from medicinal cannabis, the US has now legalised this in 23 states”
Factually incorrect, there is a vast quantity of peer-reviewed, published scientific evidence demonstrating the efficacy and safety of medicinal cannabis.
These are very serious inaccuracies which Ms Phillips publishes on a regular basis in the full knowledge that they are untrue. Any newspaper which knowingly publishes lies and falsehoods to deceive its readers should be subject to the strongest possible sanctions including a financial penalty. Such dishonest publications must be dealt with firmly, sufficient to deter repetition.
At a meeting of the CLEAR Executive Committee held over the weekend of 18th/19th July 2015, Peter Reynolds tendered his resignation as leader. He was first elected as leader in February 2011, won a confidence vote in April 2012 and was re-elected unopposed in February 2014.
Roland-Gyallay-Pap has been appointed acting leader and preparations will now begin for a leadership election.
Roland Gyallay-Pap said:
“I would like to extend a big thank you to Peter for the tireless work he has put in over the past four years. It is through his professionalism and tenacity that CLEAR is where it is now.
“I will seek to capitalise on our achievements so far, extending membership, and further building on the success of our Medicinal Users Panel. Never have we been so close to achieving our goals and I look forward to working with those who share our views on how change can be brought about in the most effective manner.”
Peter Reynolds’ letter of resignation reads:
This is my resignation from the office of leader of CLEAR, effective immediately.
I will remain a member of the leadership team as president of the executive committee. However, it is time for a new leader to take charge and drive our campaign forward.
I want to thank all members of CLEAR for the opportunity to serve as leader since February 2011. I am immensely proud of what we have achieved. We have built a follower base that exceeds all other UK drugs policy groups combined. We have developed a set of policies and tactics that are more effectively challenging cannabis prohibition than ever before. We have made more progress with government in the last two years than the whole campaign has in the last 50.
I will now concentrate on managing the Medicinal Users Panel. This is at the core of our strategy for practical, achievable law reform. It is, I believe, how I can now make the most effective contribution. CLEAR needs a new face to take the next steps in our campaign and I shall give my full support to our new leader.
It seems that unless you choose a herbal product with a THR mark you can have no certainty at all about what you are buying.
An excellent report on the BBC’s ‘Trust Me I’m A Doctor‘, reveals that the industry is rife with confidence tricksters, fraudsters and probably some well-meaning incompetents. How can you know what you’re getting in a herbal product? This has major implications for the medicinal use of cannabis and the businesses that will be needed to supply the product when it is legally available.
The THR mark is Traditional Herbal Registration as regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It costs between £600 to £8000 to apply but that’s only if you’re claiming “the medicine is used for minor health conditions where medical supervision is not required (eg a cold).” If you want to claim anything more you have to apply for a marketing authorisation when fees are in excess of £100,000, plus the cost of clinical trials or evidence of your claims and your product’s safety.
This is probably the biggest single problem facing the campaign for medicinal cannabis. We are a round peg which doesn’t fit into any of the government’s square holes.
If we argue for cannabis as medicine, we challenge the reductionist, allopathic establishment which says that medicines are single molecules with directly quantifiable, predictable and consistent results. We cannot fit into the government’s square holes without the sort of approach taken by GW Pharmaceuticals at a cost of tens of millions in development.
That is why the campaign has to focus on removing cannabis from schedule 1, so that doctors may prescribe it as they see fit. Some doctors are ready to do so (a few brave individuals already are prescribing) but it will require a huge campaign to educate others as to why and how to prescribe – and it will not be possible to make any medical claims in that campaign!
The model of cannabis as medicine with different strains providing different therapeutic value just doesn’t fit within any concept of medicine in the UK. That’s like a triangular peg in a square hole.
So perhaps there is little point in an unwinnable campaign to legalise such a drug as medicine when its use is already tarnished by years of propaganda and media scaremongering? It may be a hopeless cause and seeking a more general decriminalisation of the plant might be a wiser course.
This is a question that seems to be unique to the UK. Other jurisdictions, such as the US states, have achieved reform through radical democracy which we do not enjoy in Britain. Canadians have used their courts to enforce access to cannabis as a fundamental human right. Other European countries just seem to be more flexible, intelligent and sympathetic to patients.
On the other hand, it does seem that the MHRA’s THR scheme works and you know what you are getting when you buy a herbal medicine. Otherwise charlatans and confidence tricksters would prevail.
These issues concern not only the campaign for medicinal cannabis but for cannabis law reform as a whole. Until we get to grips with them and develop a coherent approach we may find the UK continues to lag behind the rest of the world.
What a magnificent example of modern Britain is this young woman. This is what Parliament is supposed to be about and Ms Black sets an example to the baying toads on the Tory benches and the spineless hypocrites of Labour.
I probably disagree with her on 95% of issues as I did with her idol Tony Benn but both of these lefties deserve great respect.
The budget is strategically brilliant. It makes reforms that are essential.
I think some people are going to suffer and I am particularly concerned about disabled people and students but I like this radicalism. It takes us in the right direction. It is political genius for the Conservative Party to introduce a higher minimum wage. All of Labour’s spokespeople are speechless.
I can agree with Boris that the Tube and GMB strike are vexatious and deliberately timed to coincide with the first Tory budget since 1996.
I also agree with Boris that London’s hub airport would be best sited in the Thames Estuary. We need this radicalism. It will create jobs and enormous wealth. The very idea that we should build another runway at Heathrow is, in my view, close to a war crime. It is a gross violation of humanity. It is disgusting that we should even contemplate subjecting a dense population to such violation.
So this Tory radicalism excites me. This sort of visionary, long-term politics is what Britain needs. Add a dash of liberal back in and we could be getting there.