Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Cannabis Law Reform

How To Campaign For Cannabis Law Reform Under A Theresa May Government.

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  • Lobbying Parliament

  • If the Government Won’t Regulate Cannabis Then We’ll Do It For Them

  • The CBD Market

  • Medical Cannabis

  • Educating And Influencing Researchers

For cannabis and drugs policy reform, out of 650 MPs, there could not have been a worse person to seize power than Theresa May.  There are a few who come close on both Tory and Labour benches but no one who has such a long record of bigotry, denial of evidence and refusal even to consider the subject.

Senior Tory MPs For Cannabis Law Reform

To be fair, I am a member of the Conservative Party, which to many people involved in the cannabis campaign is a mortal sin but my advocacy is based on science and evidence, not tribalism or wider politics.  In any case, though many find this fact hard to accept, there has always been more support from Tory MPs than Labour. Highly influential and senior Tory MPs such as Crispin Blunt, Peter Lilley and Dr Dan Poulter are powerful advocates for reform. I firmly believe that the only sustainable route to legalisation is commercialisation and the left wing, nanny state, anti-business types are already pushing the ‘Big Cannabis’ scare stories.

So what can we do and what are we doing to advance our cause in these dark days?  Theresa May always has been secretive, inaccessible, unresponsive and entirely disinterested in any opinion except her own.  How can we possibly make any progress with a PM who has already shown she is prepared to cover up or falsify evidence and defines herself by her belief in a supernatural power?

There is more support for cannabis law reform in Parliament than ever before.  It is now official policy of both the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party. The support from Scotland is far more valuable than that from the discredited LibDems.  With the added factors of Brexit and Scottish Independence, the SNP is in a powerful position to advance its policies.  Also, in Ireland, both north and south, public support for medical cannabis reform is exploding.  Michelle O’Neill, SinnFein’s new leader, has pledged medical cannabis reform if she is re-elected (though she has no power to do so!).  Her negotiating position is immensely strong now that the problems at Stormont, the rise of Sinn Fein and the Brexit factor all combine to make a united Ireland a real possibility.

During the coalition government from 2010 to 2015, few doors were closed to us.  Over that period, CLEAR conducted more meetings with ministers and senior politicians than the entire UK campaign had achieved in 50 years.  Because we had support from the LibDems, and introductions from the Deputy Prime Minister, even Tory ministers were ready to see us, even if they were merely paying lip service.  That all stopped with the election of a majority Conservative government and after Cameron stepped down the doors were slammed in our faces, bolted and double-locked.  The campaign has been in the doldrums ever since. Or has it?

The last major achievement of the last few year’s campaigning was the release of the APPG report on medical cannabis in September 2016.  Alongside it, Professor Mike Barnes, CLEAR advisory board member, published his review ‘Cannabis: The Evidence for Medical Use‘.  To all impartial and reasonable observers, these documents should have initiated positive government action towards reform, even if it was only very limited in scope.  But no, Theresa May didn’t leave it to Amber Rudd, her successor as home secretary, she stepped straight in herself on the day of publication, before she could even have read it and dismissed the report out of hand.  This echoes the apocryphal story of James Callaghan, then PM, throwing the 1969 Wooton Report in the bin without even opening it.  Such is the inertia and prejudice that has not softened at all amongst the bigots despite 45 years of science and research proving that there are better, safer, more beneficial options available on cannabis.

Lobbying Parliament

For now, individual lobbying of MPs is our only route to power. Over the years we have refined our approach to this and we know what works.  Getting into ping pong correspondence with an MP is a waste of time.  An initial letter or email needs to be followed up with a face-to-face meeting and a determined focus on getting a tangible result. What sort of result you should look for depends on your circumstances but getting your MP to arrange a meeting with a government minister should be your goal.

If you’re a medical user then you’ll want to meet a health minister, preferably the Secretary of State, if not a junior minister or perhaps an advisor to the Department of Health.  Work with your MP to achieve the best result you can.  Your MP doesn’t necessarily have to agree with you about cannabis but they should facilitate your communication with government, that’s their job. If you’re more interested in the economic or social benefits to be gained from reform, you could ask for an introduction to the Chancellor, a treasury or business minister, or someone at the Cabinet Office who is involved in policy development.  CLEAR can usually provide someone to accompany you on meetings but this must be arranged in advance and agreed with your MP or whoever your appointment is with.  Alternatively, we can provide advice over the telephone on how to approach the meeting, what to ask for and what evidence or supporting material to take with you.

If the Government Won’t Regulate Cannabis Then We’ll Do It For Them

With an intransigent government that does it all it can to evade engagement on this issue, there is more that CLEAR is already doing.  If the government won’t take responsibility and regulate cannabis, then step by step we are going to do it for them.  Someone has to, there is far too much harm and suffering caused by present policy.

The CBD Market

Through 2016 the CBD market in the UK really began to take off.  These are products derived from industrial hemp, grown legally under licence that offer many of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis.  They should, in fact, be more accurately termed low-THC cannabis as apart from crystals and a few, rare examples of isolated CBD, they are whole plant extracts and contain all the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other compounds found in the plants from which they are made.  Therefore they offer many of the ‘entourage effect’ benefits but with very low levels of THC.  It was obvious though that this market was heading for problems.  More and more dubious suppliers were starting up, many making brazen claims for the medical effects and benefits of their products and many without any product testing, quality assurance or honest customer service.  The law was then and always has been crystal clear, you cannot make medical claims for a product without it being properly licensed or regulated.  Inevitably, in June 2016 the MHRA stepped in and sent threatening letters to a number of CBD suppliers.

CLEAR took the initiative.  We wrote to the MHRA requesting a meeting.  We engaged with the leading CBD suppliers and our advisory board members Professor Mike Barnes and Crispin Blunt MP were quickly on the case.  The story has already been extensively reported but now, nearly a year on, our efforts are coming to fruition. We led the approach to the MHRA and in the process created what is now the Cannabis Trades Association UK (CTAUK).  It is now recognised by the MHRA, it has established a code of conduct and it is now the gold standard of quality, ethics and legality that can give anyone buying CBD products real peace of mind.  There are still cowboys out there, making false claims, selling products that offer no real benefit and even endangering their customers with products that are illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 or the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.  Now though, customers can go to the CTAUK website and choose a supplier that is operating legally, ethically and within the regulations that the industry itself has established.  We expect the MHRA very shortly formally to endorse CTAUK members as legitimate suppliers of CBD products as food supplements.

Medical Cannabis

Professor Nigel Mathers, Honorary Secretary, Royal College of GPs

Neither can we accept the government’s irresponsible and cruel policy towards people who need cannabis as medicine. So CLEAR has taken a further initiative. After Theresa May’s dismissal of the APPG report, we approached the Royal Colleges of medicine.  We pointed out that whatever the government might say, around one million people are using cannabis as medicine.  Doctors have a duty and an ethical responsibility to educate themselves on the subject and be able to provide properly informed care to their patients.  Our efforts have borne fruit.  Professor Mike Barnes and I have worked with Professor Nigel Mathers of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP).  We will be producing a draft set of guidelines on medicinal cannabis for GPs which will go the next meeting of the RCGP Council and is planned for publication in June 2017.  If the government won’t do it, we will and the medical profession agrees with us.  This will be the greatest practical advance ever made in medical cannabis in the UK.

Educating And Influencing Researchers

Dr Musa Sami, Peter Reynolds

The UK is the most prolific source of research into the harms of cannabis, particularly the tenuous links between cannabis and psychosis.  Despite dozens of studies, mainly from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College Hospital, this has never been shown to be any more than statistical correlation.  Most of these studies are confounded by tobacco use but the latest work from Professor Sir Robin Murray and his team shows an even stronger correlation between tobacco and psychosis than cannabis.

Across the world, UK scientists have become notorious for this scaremongering which seems little different from the ‘reefer madness’ hysteria.  To be fair, much of this is down to the UK media which has barely advanced since the 1930s in its reporting.  It provides the environment in which researchers are able to gain funding for research into cannabis harms but hardly ever for cannabis benefits.

CLEAR is now working with the Institute of Psychiatry to develop a new and more balanced way of surveying the effects of cannabis.  Dr Musa Sami has asked us to advise on the construction of a questionnaire on which the Institute will base its future work.

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CLEAR Sets The Pace In The Social Media Cannabis Campaign.

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CLEAR Facebook Insights And Comparison With Similar Pages, 20th July 2015.

CLEAR Facebook Insights And Comparison With Similar Pages, 20th July 2015.

Since the spring of 2011, through Facebook and Twitter, CLEAR has provided a newsfeed on cannabis and drugs policy that informs and energises the campaign.

The CLEAR Daily News, available on email subscription here, summarises all of each day’s posts on social media. It provides a quick way to catch up and a record of events across the world in the campaign for cannabis law reform and a more intelligent, evidence-based approach to drugs policy.

A major overhaul of the CLEAR website has automated much of the process of compiling and distributing the Daily News. However, it still depends on the CLEAR team of five or six admins to find and post the news on a continuous basis 365 days a year between 7.00 am and midnight, UK time.

Written by Peter Reynolds

July 21, 2015 at 11:14 am

Another Pathetic And Embarrassing Display From The Stoners.

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Exactly The Wrong Way To Represent Cannabis Law Reform.

Exactly The Wrong Way To Represent Cannabis Law Reform.

As Demotix, the photojournalism website, captioned their gallery: “A small group of protestors gathered outside the BBC, calling for Ganja or cannabis to be legalised in the UK.”

See the photographs here.

How long will it take these idiots to learn that their behaviour sets back the cause of cannabis law reform?

Gratuitous lawbreaking, scruffy turnout, signs that look like they were made at playschool and an embarrassingly small attendance even on the weekend that The Observer publishes a survey showing that 52% of the UK population supports legalisation in Colorado and Washington.

Such irresponsible events have never had any positive impact and when they are as shabby, poorly attended and badly organised as this all they do is bring the whole cannabis campaign into disrepute.

Is there nobody associated with the organisers of these disastrous demos that can talk some sense into them?  Or is it really just about the same excitement as naughty children feel when they are being deliberately out of line?  That’s how the public sees it.

Written by Peter Reynolds

October 5, 2014 at 8:12 am

Chris Bovey’s Gang Of Twitter Trolls.

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Impersonation1

This is the serial abuser Chris Bovey’s latest escapade – as vile, offensive and disgusting as everything else he’s been publishing about me since the end of March 2012.  This is the true measure of the man.

I’ve kept quiet about his behaviour and the vast quantity of evidence I have about him but as I wrote last week, I shall not be silent any more.  This is the sort of attack that I have been subject to on virtually a daily basis for nearly two years, all at the hands of the gang that Bovey runs and finances out of the profits from the sale of highly toxic, synthetic cannabinoids.

Just recently I’ve become aware of the way that so many women, similarly abused on Twitter, deal with it.  They re-tweet.  They display their abusers in all their shameful glory. That is what I’m now going to do with Bovey and his gang of trolls. I am going to publish all the disgusting abuse, blackmail, threats and harassment they have been engaged in, not just against me but against my family and my colleagues on the CLEAR executive committee.

This fake Twitter account, as you will see, has been set up in my name a few days ago (my genuine Twitter username is @TweeterReynolds) and has used a photo of me, copied from my Facebook page, which was only taken last Saturday when I was at a rugby match with my two sons.  This has been superimposed over a picture of a public toilet and uses a ‘paedophile information exchange’ header which shows an adult having sex with a child.   This sums up perfectly the typical behaviour and mindset of Bovey and his gang.

There are also pictures of Derek Williams and Mark Palmer (wearing his ‘dealer’ costume when we were filming a video). Derek and Mark are two of the longest serving and most respected cannabis law reform campaigners in Britain. Shortly I will publish an article detailing the abuse that Bovey and his gang have subjected them to. In particular, disgusting intimidation and threats against Derek and the most dreadful abusive bullying by Bovey in person which will shock any decent person when they read it.

I didn’t know what the NAMbLA logo was until I googled it.  It’s the North American Man/Boy Love Association, a paedophile advocacy group.  Perhaps Bovey got this idea from Greg ‘Cure Ukay’ de Hoedt.  He spent six months posting messages on Facebook that I am a paedophile and posting forged sex profiles of me.  I am hopeful of obtaining judgment against him in the High Court very shortly. There must be many people who don’t know the true character of those who set up NORML UK after their hijack of the CLEAR website and theft of our membership list.  They have dragged the good name of NORML into the gutter in Britain.

There is a vast quantity of evidence of Bovey’s abuse which I shall be posting over the next few weeks.

Medicinal Cannabis Users – Parliamentary Delegation

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parliamentCLEAR has arranged for a delegation of 12 medicinal cannabis users to visit parliament to meet with senior figures in the field of health and home affairs.

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 now have to select the members of the delegation.  This is an important task.  We need a broad range of conditions for which there is good evidence that cannabis helps.  We also need the right people who can put their case across in a polite and convincing manner.

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: peterreynolds@clear-uk.org

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 19, 2013 at 7:19 pm

The First Victory In The Fight Back Against Hatred And Abuse.

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I have now settled my claim for defamation against Dr Gary Potter, London South Bank University and the Global Cannabis Cultivation Research Consortium (GCCRC), consisting of more than a dozen universities and academic institutions across the world.

The claim concerned statements published on the GCCRC website by Chris Bovey, Alun Buffry, Edwin Stratton and Stuart Wyatt.  Dr Potter has published an apology on the GCCRC website which describes the statements as “derogatory“, “without evidence” and “defamatory“.

Dr Potter’s apology in full:

“On the 28 November 2012 and 29 November 2012 in response to various third party postings on the discussion forum on the GCCRC website I made certain comments about Cannabis Law Reform (CLEAR), Peter Reynolds, UKCIA, and Derek Williams. The third party postings I was responding to were derogatory and provided no evidence in respect of the allegations made against Mr Reynolds, Mr Williams, CLEAR and UKCIA. As such my comments were ill-considered and I unreservedly apologise for making them.

I wish to make it clear that the GCCRC is not affiliated with, nor does it support nor oppose any particular individual or group in the cannabis law reform movement or otherwise. Its purpose is to support the carrying out of important research, and all personal information collected in the course of that research is kept strictly confidential and is never shared with third parties. I would ask that in the future individuals do not use the GCCRC site to make public defamatory comments about any third party, and in the alternative if they have legitimate concerns these should be raised by email to the GCCRC using the email functionality on the GCCRC website.”

Further terms of the settlement are confidential.

rcj

This is the first domino to fall and my High Court claims against Bovey, Buffry, Greg ‘Cure Ukay’ De Hoedt and Sarah McCulloch are proceeding apace. Those, including Stratton and Wyatt, who have also been concerned in this campaign of abuse, harassment and defamation can expect to hear from me shortly.

Of course, this abuse has not just affected me.  What finally moved me to launch legal action was when the hate campaign started to target my children and my 78 year old mother.  Those concerned have already been involved in abusing and blackmailing various CLEAR members.  One past member of our executive committee had posted pictures of his grow on a forum and these were sent to his local police using information stolen from the CLEAR website when it was hacked in March of last year. Threats were even made against CLEAR supporters in the USA using the same stolen information. Derek Williams has suffered repeated attempts to blacken his name with his employers.  I salute his courage and steadfast support.

Finally, I should make it very clear that I do not associate the estimable and reputable US organisation NORML with those involved in the  management of its UK chapter (NUK), nor the NUK members who are innocent pawns in the anti-CLEAR campaign.

‘This House Would Legalise Cannabis’, University Of Exeter, Thursday, 29th November 2012

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LIVE BROADCAST

FOR:

Peter Reynolds, CLEAR
Stephen Davies, Institute of Economic Affairs

AGAINST:

Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday
David Raynes, National Drug Prevention Alliance

 

University of Exeter. Streatham Court A. 7.30pm. Free entry.