Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
VIDEO. ‘This House Would Legalise Cannabis’. Reynolds v Hitchens. University Of Southampton, 29th September 2016.
Recording of a debate on the legalisation of cannabis which took place on Thursday 29th September 2016 at the University of Southampton, hosted by Southampton Debating Union.
Today, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has arranged a meeting with representatives from the UK Cannabis Trade Association (UKCTA) to discuss its designation of cannabidiol (CBD) as a medicine.
A request for a meeting was was first made in writing on 20th September 2016, when the possibility of the MHRA’s action was still little more than a rumour. Nearly six weeks later, after repeated requests, complaints and lobbying from many companies, individuals and MPs, the meeting has been fixed for 3rd November 2016.
The main aim of the meeting will be to discuss interim arrangements for people currently using CBD as a food supplement. Clearly, we will also address concerns over the impact of this decision on many small businesses and the people they employ.
It suits supporters of Netanyahu’s gangster regime to characterise any and all opposition to it as anti-semitism. It’s also true that much of that opposition and emotional outrage is badly framed and expressed so that it can be easily or deliberately misinterpreted as opposition to the Jewish people and their religion. But the Israeli regime itself plays fast and loose with the confusion between state, race, nationality and religion. It twists and distorts anything to justify its apartheid policy and genocide of the Palestinian people.
Personally, I see very little anti-semitism. In fact I cannot remember the last time I saw any words, behaviour or actions that could properly be described as such. On the other hand there are daily examples of the brutal discrimination, oppression, murder, land theft and extra-judicial execution of Palestinians.
So I call total balderdash on the invented stories of anti-semitism within Labour. In this instance, I believe Jeremy Corbyn and Shami Chakrabati are absolutely in the right. Of course, there are the loony left extremists in Labour who are a danger to the whole of our society. They undoubtedly push their delusional agenda of a Jewish banker mafia but they are bonkers anyway. We all have to deal with their idiocy on a daily basis. The far greater danger they pose is their already-achieved elimination of any effective parliamentary opposition.
No, the accusations of anti-semitism, including from the Home Affairs Committee, come from the pro-zionist apologists for Israeli war crimes. I really don’t believe that amongst decent, honourable British people of all political persuasions, there is any significant anti-Jewish prejudice or actions. Obviously I’m not saying it never happens but it’s largely Israeli government propaganda.
The answer is to root out the corrupt Israeli lobby in the UK Parliament and in US Senate and Congress. Stand up to Netanyahu and the despicable conduct of so many in the Knesset. Give the Israeli people back the freedom to live in peace with their neighbours and for the nation to flourish without the hatred and oppression which constrains it today.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) apparent decision to designate cannabidiol (CBD) as a medicine is an unholy mess and has been handled about as badly as it is possible for a government agency to deal with a matter of public safety.
The desk of Dr Ian Hudson, the Chief Executive, will shortly be groaning under the weight of correspondence from MPs asking him to explain exactly what is going on. We know that the MHRA call centre has been swamped with calls from people desperate for information and in fear that they will be cut off from supplies of the food supplement that is so important for their health. Many are now being told that no final decision has been taken and everyone is in limbo waiting for some coherent response. We say “apparent decision” because nothing is clear, no public statement has been issued and anything you have seen in the press is from responses to individuals.
Crispin Blunt, the Conservative MP and a member of the CLEAR advisory board has written to Dr Hudson urging him to meet with CLEAR, Professor Mike Barnes and the newly-formed UK Cannabis Trade Association to discuss what interim arrangements can be put in place. Tens of thousands of people’s health has been placed in jeopardy and not for trivial matters. People suffering from serious conditions such as epilepsy, chronic pain, anxiety and Crohn’s Disease have come to rely on CBD products to maintain their health. There are also hundreds of jobs in danger at suppliers providing CBD to the UK market.
We know that many CLEAR members have asked their MP to write to the MHRA seeking clarification. In Crispin Blunt’s letter he goes further.
“The decision to designate CBD as a medicine is directly contradicted by the Home Office’s position that cannabis has no medicinal value. It is vital that we do not let this anomaly in government policy cause harm to people’s health. I should be grateful, therefore, if you could explain how the MHRA reached its decision, the consultations it undertook, which specific regulatory regime it proposes for these products and whether the continued supply of these products, regulated as food supplements, can be ensured until such time medicinal marketing authorisations can be obtained.”
CLEAR has received a holding response from the MHRA indicating that a meeting will be arranged and that we will hear by the end of this week. Responsible action from a government agency that is supposed to protect, not endanger public health is urgently needed.
Professor Mike Barnes, neurologist, scientific and medical advisor to CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform, has issued the following statement.
“It is encouraging that the MRHA is recognising that CBD has medicinal value but it is concerning that many people benefitting from CBD now will suffer in the short term as good quality manufacturers have to stop production pending MRHA approval”
For some weeks, rumours and half stories have been swirling around about the MHRA taking action on CBD.
Initially a number of suppliers were warned about making medicinal claims, even testimonials from satisfied customers were ruled as unlawful. Anything which suggested that CBD was a medicine or provided therapeutic effects was ruled out under UK medicines legislation.
Responsible CBD suppliers have known this for some time and were scrupulous in ensuring no such claims were made, even including disclaimers explicitly stating that their products were not for medical use. But as CLEAR has reported many times before, the CBD market is full of cowboys, get-rich-quick scam artists that tell bare faced lies about their products as well as making outlandish claims for the medicinal benefits. The crackdown from the MHRA was inevitable when these fools put their short term gain ahead of developing a responsible and self-regulating market in which CBD could continue to be sold as a food supplement.
We have seen every sort of bad practice it is possible to imagine. Some suppliers have attacked all of their competitors, stating that they are the only ‘ethical’ supplier and everyone else is telling lies. MediPen put all its resources and efforts into marketing and PR without providing proper information to customers about what its product contained. It achieved great coverage in tabloids like the Metro and the Mirror and even managed to spin a wholly misleading story that the NHS was “trialling” its product (In fact it was at last using an NHS accredited laboratory to test its product contents, that is all). Another supplier called Sacred Kana was rebranding cheap and nasty Romanian hemp extract and selling a bottle for just over £50, claiming it contained 10,000 mg of CBD. Testing showed that it actually contained less than 200 mg. Wrapped up in a warm, cuddly hippy-style marketing campaign, they were trying to pass themselves off as the Rick Simpson of CBD when all they are is conmen.
Responsible suppliers did include CBD information on their websites and often linked to scientific studies and research. Clearly, even this has become too much for the MHRA and now the market is being closed down. You can thank the greedy idiots, the conmen and the barrow boy salesmen trying to pretend they were scientists.
Of course the truth is that CBD is medicine, so the MHRA isn’t wrong. Most CBD products are, in fact, low-THC, whole plant extracts, so they were, effectively, a legal form of cannabis. The therapeutic benefits they offered were not just from CBD but from the ‘entourage effect’, recognised by science as the synergy between all the different components of cannabis. Unfortunately, we even had some companies promoting the fact that their so-called ‘CBD oil’ actually contained significant proportions of THC and CBN, both ‘controlled drugs’ under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
The crackdown was inevitable but it may leave tens of thousands of people with real health problems as they are no longer able to obtain what they were legitimately using as a food supplement.
Of course, designating CBD as a medicine is inconsistent with the UK government’s position that cannabis has “no medicinal value” but it’s been common knowledge that this is untrue for many years. The only good news coming out of this debacle is that this could be the beginning of proper, honest regulation of cannabis as medicine. But if we’re looking at clinical trials before CBD can be marketed again, it could be many years away and that’s after someone or some company decides to invest the £250,000 or more that could cost.
CBD products will still be available offshore and you probably will be able to order online and have them delivered by post. The price is bound to go up and you will be committing a criminal offence by importing an unlicensed medicine but no doubt may will choose to take this risk.
CLEAR is working with the UK Cannabis Trade Association and our Advisory Board members Professor Mike Barnes and Crispin Blunt MP, to try and persuade the MHRA to enter a consultation process and allow CBD to remain available as a food supplement in the short term.
In the longer term, as we know far too well, the only solution is for a proper system of regulation for cannabis. including its use as medicine.