Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
This disgusting man has brought shame on our nation. His and his cronies’ response to the refugee crisis disgraces everyone of us. No longer are we a sanctuary for the oppressed and persecuted. No longer are we a beacon of truth and freedom. David Cameron and Theresa May have taken the Great out of Great Britain.
This film carries my highest recommendation.
There are a number of excellent documentary films about cannabis which for those of us interested in the subject make enthralling viewing. This is also the great weakness of movies like ‘The Culture High’ and ‘In Pot We Trust’ – they are all preaching to the choir and, certainly for non-consumers of cannabis or people without a special interest, they are far too long.
This excellent documentary on the life and work of Raphael Mechoulam is a breath of fresh air. For an old cannabis hack like me who has seen it all, read it all and discussed it all, ad nauseam, it gave me new information and insights – and it’s only an hour long. It’s well worth sixty minutes of your time.
The preposterous response from the UK government to the massive petition for the legalisation of cannabis is a pack of lies.
Yes. Lies. Not a word it’s wise to use unless it’s accurate but in this case it is. The Home Office is disgraced on so many aspects of its work but it has been systematically misleading, misinforming and promoting untruths about cannabis since 1971. Individual Home Secretaries are fully complicit in this dishonesty, most notably James Callaghan, Merlyn Rees, William Whitelaw, Leon Brittan, Douglas Hurd, Michael Howard, Jack Straw, Jacqui Smith, Alan Johnson and the incumbent, Theresa May.
Certainly in the last 20 years there can be no excuse at all. The balance of scientific evidence has been quite clear for at least that long that although a very small number of people may be vulnerable, for 99% of people cannabis is almost completely benign and often beneficial.
The dishonesty of these disgraced ministers brings shame on both the Conservative and Labour parties and the civil service officials in the Home Office. They all know full well that they have lied to the public and they continue to do so, undoubtedly because of corrupt influence from vested interests, principally the tabloid editors, press barons and the alcohol industry. Their lies have resulted in the unnecessary criminalisation of over one million people, the frittering away of tens of billions in futile law enforcement costs and lost tax revenue. Most dreadful of all, the denial of access to medicinal cannabis by those in pain, suffering and disability.
The basis for the government’s dismissal of the petition is given as the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) 2008 report ‘Cannabis: Classification and Public Health’.
In the covering letter to the report, the then chair of the ACMD does say “… the use of cannabis is a significant public health issue. Cannabis can unquestionably cause harm to individuals and society.”
Judge for yourself whether the evidence in the report supports the idea that cannabis is a “significant public health issue”. I don’t think it does and nowhere in the report is such an unequivocal statement made except in the covering letter. Of course it is true that cannabis can cause harm to individuals, just as digestive biscuits, chips and sugary drinks can, so that’s pretty meaningless. There is no evidence in the report at all of cannabis causing harm to society.
But the covering letter then makes the point very strongly that “strategies designed to minimise its use and adverse effects must be predominantly public health ones. Criminal justice measures – irrespective of classification – will have only a limited effect on usage.”
The report recommends that cannabis remain in class C of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 but the government of the day, led by Gordon ‘Skunk is Lethal’ Brown, ignored that and increased it to class B.
Read the report yourself. Compare it with the government’s response to the petition. To claim that the report supports present policy is false. It directly contradicts present policy. There is also now a host of high quality evidence on the reality of decriminalised or regulated cannabis markets from the Netherlands, Portugal, Colorado and Washington. This shows beyond any doubt that the government’s suggestions of “drug dependence… misery… increased misuse” have no basis in evidence at all. Furthermore the idea that new tax revenue would be outweighed by new costs is directly contradicted by every study on the subject. I repeat, the government’s response is a pack of lies
Sadly, the United Kingdom is a country where government ministers are prepared to lie, mislead, distort evidence and deceive the British people in order to maintain policies based on prejudice and the corrupt influence of vested interests.
Any one of us could become a refugee. Just pray that if it happens to you it won’t be the cruel, heartless, despicable UK government that you have to turn to.
It’s a great achievement that together we have doubled the the number of signatures required for a debate on cannabis legalisation to be ‘considered’. But it’s not over yet.
The government and many MPs will fight tooth and nail to stop any debate. You can be sure that the alcohol industry is already lobbying ministers furiously. It is terrified that there could be a much safer, healthier and legal alternative to its poisonous products.
So we can’t even be certain there will be a debate. Many, perhaps most MPs are incapable of dealing with this issue on a rational basis. They are transfixed by fear of what the media will say if they support reform. Most have no understanding about cannabis at all and base their views on the rubbish published in the Daily Telegraph or the Daily Mail. Even worse, they may rely on what the Home Office says. Be in no doubt, in the great history of Britain, never has there been more dishonesty from government than from the Home Office on cannabis. It deceives, misinforms and lies as a matter of course. It is Home Office policy to mislead the public about cannabis.
The next step is to contact your MP and do your bit to educate him or her on the truth. It is vital that you do this. For the first time, enough people have signed a petition to make it mean something. We must build on this effort. Do not let yourself or the rest of the country down. The responsibility rests on your shoulder as much as it does on everyone else’s.
You can also Google your MP’s name which will lead you to their personal website and more contact details.
You can write by letter to your MP at: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Please make the effort to take these steps in contacting your MP. Ideally, make initial contact by email or letter, then a week or so later make an appointment and go and see your MP.
Write To Your MP
Most important is that you must include your full postal address and postcode to show that you are a constituent. Without this your email or letter will be ignored.
Either an email or a letter is fine but you might want to consider doing both!
Write in your own words. MPs are now wise to what they call ‘campaign emails’. The large number of campaigns by groups such as 38 Degrees have really swamped MPs with repetitive correspondence. It doesn’t work to send what is clearly a template or automatically generated email. You will just be ignored. Many MPs actually warn against this now on their website.
So, in your own words, make these points:
1. I support the petition for a debate to be held on legalising cannabis.
2. More than twice as many people as required have signed the petition, so please will you do what you can to ensure that a debate will take place?
3. Legal regulation of cannabis will be much safer for everyone than the present criminal market.
4. £6 billion every year is spent on cannabis and it all goes to criminals.
5. I want to see cannabis available to adults only through licensed outlets with proper labelling and quality control.
6. I want to see cannabis taxed so that, as in Colorado, we can invest millions more in schools and hospitals.
7. Many people need access to medicinal cannabis for which there is now strong scientific evidence.
8. Please will you support and vote for legal regulation of cannabis?
You can link to these four pieces of evidence in your email or letter
Cannabis is 114 times safer than alcohol: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4311234/
No link between adolescent cannabis use and later health problems: http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/adb-adb0000103.pdf
‘Medicinal Cannabis:The Evidence’: http://clear-uk.org/static/media/PDFs/medicinal_cannabis_the_evidence2.pdf
Taxation of cannabis market net annual gain to the UK economy up to £9.5 billion: http://clear-uk.org/media/uploads/2011/09/TaxUKCan.pdf
Meet Your MP
The best way to arrange this is to telephone or email your MP’s constituency office. You will find the email address or phone number on your MP’s website.
Don’t get into a discussion with your MP’s staff about cannabis. Of course, explain why you want a meeting but concentrate on making the appointment. Don’t be brushed off. It is your right to meet your MP. Explain that you want an appointment as soon as possible, certainly within the next month or it will be too late.
When you go to the meeting, be on time, dress as if you were going to a job interview and be polite and respectful at all times. Ideally, print out the evidence above and take it with you. Ask your MP to promise to read it. Tell a personal story about how cannabis has helped you or how you or someone you know has suffered because of the law against it. Remember, your MP works for you so don’t allow yourself to be bullied or dismissed without proper attention.
What Will Happen Next?
If even one-tenth of the people who have signed the petition take the steps set out above we could well have a revolution!
Seriously, If every MP is contacted by at least half a dozen constituents who want a meeting on the subject it is going to make a very big impact.
This is our chance. Do not miss it. Do your bit. Don’t give up. Don’t be cynical.
Even if we don’t win this time we can make tremendous progress. We can weaken the evil forces of prohibition and start to drive it out of our lives and our country.
This is a call to action, as never before. Take this chance! Write to your MP! Meet your MP! Play your part in overturning this wicked, monstrous law!