Peter Reynolds

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A Sad Day When Drug Reformers Capitulate to The Evidence-Free Claim: ‘Drugs Are Dangerous’.

with 4 comments

Transform released this astonishing video two days ago, on 9th March 2015.  It is astonishing because it is so fundamentally flawed and it represents a betrayal of the values for which so many have supported Transform’s work over so many years.

Drugs are not dangerous, certainly not cannabis.

This is a straw man argument, now fundamental to the strategy of Transform, the UK’s most generously funded drugs policy group. They build up the harms of drugs, falsely, without evidence, in order to be able to ride in on their white stallions and rescue us from this imaginary danger.

So now they do the job of the prohibitionists for us.  They have bought right into this inaccurate and misleading mindset and Transform is now promoting drugs as dangerous.  Transform is adding to the messages and media storm from the tabloids, ignorant politicians and the moralising hypocrites that drive the war on drugs.

Are cars dangerous? Is a bottle of vodka dangerous?

Only if they are misused or abused and then they are both far more dangerous than cannabis.

Cannabis doesn’t need to be regulated because it is dangerous.  It needs to be regulated because prohibition is dangerous and causes far more harm than cannabis ever has or ever will.

At least 95% of cannabis use is harmless and without risk.  It is a miniscule proportion of people who are in danger of any harm.  They begin using cannabis at a young age, use it heavily, daily, have a genetic predisposition to mental health issues and will have other component factors in their life such as other drugs (particularly alcohol), life events, family problems, etc.  All the research shows that cannabis is never more than just one factor amongst a complex mix that leads to mental illness.

Danny Kushlick, Transform: "Cannabis Is Dangerous"

Danny Kushlick, Transform: “Cannabis Is Dangerous”

Last year Danny Kushlick, also of Transform, came out with this nonsense that ‘cannabis is dangerous’.  I wrote about it then: Cannabis is Neither ‘Harmless’ Nor ‘Dangerous’. Now, in this latest video, Steve Rolles confirms this misguided, self-defeating path that Transform is embarked on.

I remember, just a few years ago, Steve arguing that even most cocaine use is without harm and he was right. Millions use cocaine every day and only a very few slip into dependency or a self-destructive use pattern.  It isn’t as safe as cannabis but it’s probably no more harmful than alcohol.

So why is Transform set on this course?  Next thing we’ll have leading scientists adopting the same terminology – ‘skunk’ – as the tabloids use to demonise cannabis… Oh yes, it’s already happened.

All organisations become self-serving unless they have active shareholders or members to keep them on track.  In my opinion, those leading Transform should remember how and why they started and I think it was mainly about truth, about combating the lies, misinformation and propaganda that the drug war is based on.

Transform needs to get back to the truth.

To sum up, I quote the very wise words of Lee Prew, a CLEAR member and a man who has his eye on the ball.

“Is it just me or are drug reformers like Transform and The Beckley Foundation part of the misinformation that dominates this country’s lack of understanding and honesty towards drugs? If these people that support positive changes to our system can’t even get the facts right what hope do we really stand of achieving workable drugs policies?

If they believe that simplification of terminology (skunk & hash) and catch all statements like “drugs are dangerous” are in any way helpful to the situation they are wrong. The drug issue is a complicated one with many facets (as we can see with cannabis alone) and by simplifying the situation they only go to undermine their own work. Very worrying.”

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Written by Peter Reynolds

March 11, 2015 at 9:47 pm

4 Responses

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  1. And take that people with mental disorders may be attracted to cannabis because it helps them.
    Then the police come along and take their medication and take them and put them in a cage and put them before an angry man who calls them worthless then manifests that with a black mark that destroys your career opportunities forever. The drug war traumatizes the most vulnerable people in the community.
    When are we going to see a study on the damage done by prohibition to community mental health.
    As for strong herb, just travel. The worlds old strains are still out there and still as strong as ever.
    Its just not quite as easy to find but its there.
    What most people call skunk is anything chunky and smelly but the most common factor is it was hydroponically grown. That’s what I don’t like. A lot of nutrient solution is used and if the plants are not flushed in their final stages they will retain some of the nutrient salts. They burn a bit harshly and can give you a thumping headache. With that stuff its definitely best to only toke small amounts. And that’s all you need anyway and most people know that and smoke accordingly. Shot glass for rum.
    But like you say cannabis is basically harmless to the point that it’s embarrassing. Can it really be that safe? It can be hard to believe that something could be so safe.
    I think that selecting breeding plants based on a readout of their cannabinoid profile is not a great method of selecting breeding stock.
    Cannabinoid interaction is extremely complex. The best way to select breeding plants is by trying them like wine tasting. Plant breeders will be constantly trying their product. The human body is the ultimate chemical testing laboratory for testing the chemicals found in nature that we regularly consume. That’s our chemistry. We are the science of cannabis.
    Plants have been bread for indoor conditions and several very different plants were crossed to give short life spans and short plants that flower heavily with heavy THC production. That’s a lot of DNA that has been crammed into the plant and a lot that has been squeezed out.
    Once its legal people will be able to grow out doors again and take time to grow it properly.
    And growers all over the world will be able to bring out their old strains and look after them again.
    I’d like to see cooperatives of growers who work together to select their finest plants and share them in a networked breeding program.
    Cannabis is a plant that responds very well to a village technology approach.
    Within a fairly short space of time we can have a lot of very fine cannabis product to choose from.
    Every region of the world can be producing their own unique cannabis product.
    The futures so bright I gotta wear shades.

    Paul Pot

    March 14, 2015 at 4:13 pm

  2. […] distort evidence on the subject are exposed for what they are. Even those on the reform side like Transform, who have chosen the dubious path of talking up cannabis as ‘dangerous’ in order to sell their consultancy services, are disgraced.  Their credibility is destroyed. […]

  3. The government treat the illusion of danger as gospel. Why not use their own illusions against them and turn it around so they finally realise they are the bad guys.

    “Because we think this is dangerous, better completely disregard its existence and allow children and vulnerable people access to it by not regulating the supply.” Is their current policy.

    We can’t change their minds about the “dangers,” maybe because they are paid to continue the disinformation or maybe they genuinely believe the propoganda, but if we can change their minds about the effect that being able to choose who is allowed access the “risk” will have on society then they’ll no longer be able to justify maintaining the status quo.

    They are quick to judge those of us who are pro reform. Lets be quicker at judging them. Pick out officials that are responsible for pushing forwards the anti reform agenda and accuse them personally of being an enabler.

    By not reforming policies they are enabling anyone, with the facilities to grow, to create untaxed untraceable income. Which, of course, as the Panama scandal has revealed is exactly what they want – more profits that can’t be traced.

    By not reforming they are personally responsible for the youth of today gaining access to it. They are personally responsible for kids turning to other, harder drugs because in many cases the same dealers that provide cannabis also provide an array of other unregulated substances.

    All of the negativity they have put forwards is of their own creation and as they refuse to reform, yet cut the police budgets, it will only get worse.

    As it is I could grow a plant for sale and cover the produce in some other addictive substance and sell that to kids and not one person who was not directly involved would even realise anything happened.

    Sean Gill

    April 14, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    • Yup, prohibition KILLS.

      Jon Enfield

      April 24, 2016 at 10:47 am


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