Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Colorado

A CLEAR Response To the Liberal Democrats’ Proposals For Cannabis Regulation.

leave a comment »

libdem Framework_for_cannabis thumbnail

CLEAR welcomes the Liberal Democrats’ proposals which can be seen here. We set out below a few comments which we intend to be constructive.

We represent more than 600,000 people who support cannabis law reform. Our own publication, ‘How to Regulate Cannabis in Britain’ is now in its second edition.

It is based on independent, expert research which we commissioned from the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit, published as ‘Taxing the UK Cannabis Market’.

Comments on ‘A framework for a regulated market for cannabis in the UK’

1. We support a cautious approach and agree that it is better to start with stricter regulation that could, based on experience, be relaxed at a later date if appropriate.

Spectrum of Cannabis Policy

Spectrum of Cannabis Policy

We reject the diagram ‘Exploring a spectrum of options for regulating cannabis’ which paints an inaccurate picture of the effects of a legal market. Evidence from all jurisdictions that have implemented reform does not support the equivalence of ‘social and health harms’ with ‘ultra prohibition’ and ‘commercial production’. It is absolutely clear that legally regulated commercial production is far less harmful than prohibition.

Essentially, instead of a ‘U’ shaped curve, we consider an ‘L’ shaped curve is more accurate.

2. The diagram indicates a fundamental objection to the commercial model implemented in Colorado, Washington and Oregon and the report explicitly rejects the Colorado model in favour of the Uruguay model.

We disagree with this. The Colorado model is a proven success with virtually no downsides. The Uruguay model is still a theory which is yet to be proven in practice. This conclusion in the report is therefore not evidence-based. This suggests that wider political or philosophical considerations have been allowed to trump existing evidence.

3. We are concerned about the undue weight given to restricting commercial enterprise. The UK is not a socialist economy and there is a danger of a ‘nanny-state’ attitude which we cannot support. We repeat the point that it seems wider political or philosophical considerations have been allowed to prevail over actual evidence. There needs to be a balance between a ‘cautious approach’ as in 1. above and over-regulation which will only result in a continuing criminal market. The UK is a market economy and if the legal market is too strict and rigid, the illegal market will flourish.

4. We have very grave concerns about the cannabis social club (CSC) model which provides significant opportunity for the corruption of those involved into major criminal enterprises with exploitation of both workers and customers. The establishment of such ‘clubs’ is entirely unnecessary given the other more controllable methods of supply and will only lead to diversion and perhaps active marketing of excessive production through criminal networks. In other words, CSCs are a golden opportunity for the emergence of ‘drug pushers’ and they undermine the whole purpose of cautious regulation.

5. We regard the recommendation not to permit the production and marketing of ‘edibles’ as an error. If the other recommendations making raw herbal cannabis legally available are implemented then this will inevitably lead to the production and marketing of unregulated ‘edibles’, undermining the whole purpose of regulation. Far better to learn from the mistakes already made in excessively potent ‘edible’ products and introduce appropriate regulations with reduced dosages.

If anything, ‘edibles’ need regulation far more urgently than the raw product because of the potential for very unpleasant overdosing. To abrogate responsibility for this is an extremely unwise proposal and inconsistent with the whole basis for a regulated market.

6. We would encourage a more positive and supportive approach to enable producer countries such as Morocco, the Lebanon, Pakistan and Afghanistan to supply varieties of cannabis resin and hashish. Encouraging such trade under strict regulation will further undermine criminal activity and offers great potential for better relations and positive ‘soft power’ influence on these countries. We recognise the difficulties involved in this with regard to the UN conventions but consider it is a prize worth working towards.

7. For the same reasons set out above we consider that a refusal to regulate concentrates and vapouriser products undermines the whole purpose of a regulated market. Vapouriser products are almost certainly going to be an important component of the medical cannabis market. These nettles must be grasped. To avoid them is irresponsible.

8. We would argue for far more emphasis on harm reduction information, particularly about smoking and avoiding mixing cannabis with tobacco. As in 7. above, we would actively promote the choice of vapouriser products.

9. In principle we agree with the proposal for three levels of THC content and for minimum CBD content. However, there is no evidence to support the necessity for CBD content as high as 4%. The evidence suggests that levels of 1% or 2% adequately meet the desirable ‘entourage’ effects of CBD. Furthermore, at these levels, existing strains are available. Little consideration has been given to the practicalities of developing three new strains to meet the THC:CBD ratios proposed. To develop such strains and ensure they are stable and consistent is the work of several years, requiring significant investment and so undermines the ability to implement these proposals in timely fashion.

10. We consider that the ‘plain packaging’ proposal is unnecessarily restrictive in the UK’s market economy. We agree with child proof containers but would recommend that far more emphasis is given to content and harm reduction labelling. There is nothing to be gained from restricting the marketing and commercial enterprise of companies wishing to develop brands and packaging styles within strict regulations.

11. For reasons already set out we consider that the restrictions on exterior and interior retailer environments are oppressive and will be self-defeating. The UK is not accustomed to such overbearing and anti-business regulation. Existing pharmacies do not operate under such heavy restrictions and they make significant use of point-of-sale and merchandising techniques.

Overall, we welcome this document and the proposals it contains. One final point that is of significance is that clearly there was no ‘consumer’ representation on the panel and this is obvious in some of the tone and detail of the report. We recommend that account should be taken of consumer opinion in any future development of the proposals.

Tim Farron. Another Politician Displays Total Ignorance About Cannabis.

leave a comment »

Tim Farron on BBC's Victoria Derbyshire show

Tim Farron on BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show

It is truly pathetic to see.  Farron clearly understands the huge harm caused by cannabis prohibition but doesn’t have the knowledge, the courage or the integrity to speak the truth.  Instead he panders to to the scaremongers and says:

“Cannabis causes psychosis”

“Cannabis is dangerous”

“People who use cannabis have a health problem”

“Cannabis is a bad thing”

The Liberal Democrat’s report ‘A framework for a regulated market for cannabis in the UK: Recommendations from an expert panel’ is a re-hash of Transform’s ‘Blueprint’ and its work on a socialist model of cannabis regulation in Uruguay.  It denigrates the highly successful commercial model introduced in Colorado and follows Transform’s evidence-free exaggeration of the harms of cannabis and its determination to impose anti-business controls on a legal cannabis market.

There is no evidence that cannabis causes psychosis.  The most that can be said is that in a very small number of genetically-vulnerable people, it may be one of many ‘component causes’.

There is no evidence that cannabis is dangerous.  The most that can be said is that it does have the potential for harm if used by children, to excess, irresponsibly or by a tiny group of people who may have an allergic reaction.  If you describe cannabis as dangerous then you have to describe peanuts, aspirin and hay fever remedies as more dangerous.  That’s without even considering comparison with the two most dangerous drugs of all: tobacco and alcohol.

Some people who use cannabis have a health problem and they use cannabis for its remarkable properties to relieve pain and other symptoms.  For most people, in moderation, cannabis is actually beneficial, helping to protect against autoimmune conditions, cancer, dementia and other diseases of aging.

For at least 95% of people who use cannabis they do so safely, without any negative consequences and it is a very good thing for their health and wellbeing.

Written by Peter Reynolds

March 8, 2016 at 11:21 am

This Is The Future Of Cannabis. For Medicine, Nutrition And Pleasure.

leave a comment »

vape pens

One of these vape pens contains Blue Dream sativa cannabis oil, 91% THC, the other is Hindu Kush indica cannabis oil, 85% THC and the spare cartridge has the dregs of some New York City Diesel sativa, 85% THC.  You can’t tell which is which to look at them but each has a distinctive flavour and effect.  They’re not completely odour free but almost.

This is the future of cannabis as a consumer product.  It is cleaner, neater, handier, healthier and better for you than raw herbal cannabis. Most importantly, for medicinal applications, it homogenises all the compounds into an oil of consistent quality and content meaning that dosage and effect at last becomes predictable and reliable.

hash oil 12 60 4

High CBD Oil For Medical Use

I have been investigating this theory for some time but my recent trip to Colorado enabled me to conduct some practical experiments and more thoroughly understand how this idea can work.  I am now convinced that this is the way forward for the cannabis industry.  Once we achieve legalisation in the UK, which is inevitable, probably in about five years, these pens are how cannabis will become available as a consumer product on the high street. They are also how medicinal cannabis will be dispensed.  Your doctor’s prescription will be fulfilled by a cartridge with the appropriate blend of cannabinoids which you screw onto your  battery and use immediately.  Batteries will also be supplied on prescription, in the same way that syringes or blood glucose meters are for diabetics.

In Colorado dispensaries these pens are already available in a choice of strains and blends.  Currently, the popular products contain 250 mg of THC in a blend of cannabis oil and propylene glycol (PG), just as e-cigs contain a nicotine oil and PG.

Alternatively, you can buy the oil of your choice and fill the cartridges yourself.  This is undoubtedly the way to do it and a wide choice of oils is available, made by CO2 and solvent extraction processes.  The Farm, my favourite dispensary in Boulder, is already supplying cannabinoid blends such as a 60% CBD, 12% THC, 4% CBN product which is clearly for medicinal use.  I have no doubt that soon we will see a Charlotte’s Web product and Sativex-like blends with equal ratios of THC:CBD.  Other, more sophisticated blends of other cannabinoids and probably terpenes will soon follow.

However, I am certain that some propylene glycol is a good thing.  The oil vapes much better when diluted and PG is nothing to worry about, it is in many health, cosmetic and food products.  It has many uses.  It’s a solvent, humectant (keeps things moist), preservative and it helps absorption of some products.  It is non-toxic.

There is further development work to be done.  I believe there is a ‘sweet spot’ for the correct amount of PG, probably around 20%.  I also think the battery and cartridges can be improved, particularly for medical use.  Once this is achieved, a product like this with perhaps a 60:40 THC:CBD ratio should form the basis of an application to the Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for a marketing authorisation.  It will knock Sativex into a cocked hat.  In fact, if GW Pharma aren’t investigating this already then they are failing in their duty to shareholders.   I shall certainly be doing all I can to research and facilitate the funding to bring such a product to market.

Yes, this is the future of cannabis.  Imagine the packaging, marketing and merchandising opportunities for the recreational market. Understand the overwhelming benefits of this as medicine against the raw, herbal product.  Yes, I know some will object and the tired old hippy luddites will say it’s a sell out and many more Big Pharma conspiracy theories will emerge but this is the future. Remember you heard it here first.

The Cannabis Petition. A Wake Up Call For MPs Who Have Ignored Both Electorate And Evidence.

leave a comment »

5.45 pm, 31st July 2015

5.45 pm, 31st July 2015

Nearly 200,000 people have signed a petition to legalise cannabis.  It’s not just a simple click of a mouse button, it requires email verification. It is an enormous event. It is only the tip of the iceberg of the millions in the UK that want to see our archaic and harmful laws on cannabis changed.

A lot of MPs are going to be very unhappy about this. They have successfully prevented any real debate on the issue since the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 was introduced.  This despite the fact that UK drugs policy must be one of our most failed and disastrous polices of all time.  One indicator – in 1971, we had around 3,000 problematic drug users. We now have 350,000.  Another – in 1971 virtually all the cannabis available was well balanced with both THC and CBD content, now it’s all low-CBD ‘moonshine’ weed.

The government and MPs who support prohibition will fight tooth and nail to brush this aside. They will do anything they can to stop it. They will say that it has ‘only’ been achieved because of campaigning – guess what they’re right, it’s called democracy, something we have very little of in the UK these days. Undoubtedly the claim will be made that the vote has been rigged.

No. 1 Baying Donkey Tory Backbencher

Baying Donkey Tory Backbencher

I’m just waiting for some bumptious, baying donkey on the Tory backbenches to make the accusation.  But it would be untrue. This is the will of the people and it must prevail.

Philip Davies MP

Philip Davies MP

MPs of all parties are so far out of touch that they don’t even begin to realise what is going on. Conservative MP Philip Davies, who is on the Justice Select Committee, said that Ron Hogg, the Durham PCC is “abusing his position” by saying that cannabis is a low priority.  This is typical hypocrisy and bluster from a pompous fool who doesn’t really believe in democracy. That was the idea of PCCs wasn’t it, to bring policing in line with what local people want?

Ignoramus Andrew Percy MP

Andrew Percy MP

Fellow Tory ignoramus, MP Andrew Percy said: “We’ve got to start debunking the liberal elite view that cannabis is some sort of benign drug”.  Which, of course, is exactly what it is.

It’s not just Tory MPs, it’s on all sides.  They are ignorant, poorly informed, more driven by prejudice than evidence. Take the baby-faced Blairite John Woodcock.  About a year ago he came out with the fantasy theory that the cannabis policy in Holland led to more hard drug use.  In fact, exactly the opposite is the case. In Holland, where adults may purchase up to five grams of cannabis without fear of prosecution, rates of heroin use and addiction are very much lower than the UK.

John Woodcock MP

John Woodcock MP

The EMCDDA reports problem opioid use (rate/1000)as follows:

UK: 7.9 – 8.3
Netherlands: 0.8 – 1.0

So, in fact problematic opioid use in Holland is about one-sixth of what it is in the UK. This is just typical of how useless the majority of our MPs are. They have no idea. They get their so-called ‘facts’ from the Daily Mail or the Daily Telegraph, both of which have descended to become nothing but dishonest propaganda and crass scaremongering.

Hospital Patient Using Vapouriser

Hospital Patient Using Vapouriser

If you showed the average MP the reality of legal cannabis in Colorado, Washington, Oregon or Alsaka they would think they were dreaming. It’s a roaring success: crime is down, traffic accidents are down, painkiller overdoses are down, millions in cannabis tax revenue is being pumped into schools and hospitals.

I’ve explained to several ministers that in Israel and Canada cannabis vapourisers are provided on trollies in hospital wards.  I don’t think they believed me.  They couldn’t take it in.

The UK Parliament exists in a state of denial and delusion about cannabis. Only in the House of Lords do we see any lawmakers with a grip on reality but even they are mostly victims of the ‘killer skunk’ myth, asserting that this moderately potent strain is somehow different and ‘dangerous’.

It’s unlikely that the petition and the debate which surely must follow will succeed in changing the law.  But MPs, however arrogant they are, cannot ignore the will of the people for ever.  Too many are ignorant about the scientific and medical evidence on cannabis. Most are too cowardly to address the issue even if they are beginning to realise the truth. However, this is a battle of attrition and we are quite clearly winning.

Written by Peter Reynolds

July 30, 2015 at 11:59 am

‘Skunk’ Drives Tabloids And Politicians Mad.

with 6 comments

Tom Chivers, Ian Dunt and Jonathan Liebling expose the dreadful reporting of the latest cannabis harms study from the husband and wife team of Professor Sir Robin Murray and Dr Marta Di Forti.

The British tabloid press has long been engaged in the corruption of our society and successive governments’ ability to deal with drugs policy by its sensationalism, distortion and dishonesty.

In fact the worst offender now is the Daily Telegraph, a tabloid in everything except format. It now eclipses the Mail newspapers for inaccurate, misleading and distorted reporting on all aspects of drugs policy. Its science and medicine writers are either deliberately engaged in deception or utterly incompetent. Virtually every story it publishes on drugs these days has to be retracted but you never hear about it because it’s buried in a tiny, tiny correction.

Here’s what happened to its ridiculous claim recently “cannabis as addictive as heroin”

DT headline 071014

The Mail newspapers can’t resist the stories about the miraculous medicinal benefits of cannabis because they make such good sensationalism. So although they still publish hogwash, like this latest distortion, they’ve actually become more balanced almost by mistake.

Why is the British press so incompetent and/or malevolent on drugs? Is it anything to do with the £800 million pa that the alcohol industry spends on press advertising? I don’t know. Maybe it just likes to appeal to the fast dwindling band of bigots that actually buy newspapers these days.

We are a laughing stock across the world for the idiocy of our press and government, particularly in respect of cannabis. In Canada and Israel, hospitals provide elderly patients with cannabis vapourisers on trollies, so strong is the evidence for its beneficial effects on aging and dementia. Here of course we prefer to let them lie in their own excreta while feeding them with scaremongering nonsense, distortion and exaggeration of scientific studies.

Sugar, peanuts, hay fever remedies, aspirin, paracetamol and traffic fumes cause far more health harms than cannabis.

In Colorado, in 2014, $44 million in cannabis tax revenue was ringfenced for schools and hospitals. Since legalisation, crime and fatal traffic accidents are down 15%, murder is down 50%.

Far too sensible for Britain isn’t it? And it’s the work of our gutter press that prevents such progress here because politicians still give newspapers far too much respect.

Another Pathetic And Embarrassing Display From The Stoners.

with 21 comments

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

Horrible Pictures From Hyde Park Cause Dreadful Damage To Cannabis Campaign.

with one comment

Yesterday, the annual Hyde Park 420 event took place.  420 is an American term for cannabis and these events take place all over the world on 20th April.  Why?  For very obscure and esoteric reasons! They are variously described as celebrations of cannabis or protests for legalisation.  Yesterday in Hyde Park was a disaster.

Violent arrests, open dealing of cannabis, hash cookies decorated to appeal to children – these are terrible images that will cause immense harm to the way that cannabis and cannabis users are seen.  CLEAR will not be publishing any of these pictures.

It matters not that these arrests were fundamentally unjust.  The police officers concerned were only doing their job.  The Daily Telegraph and other media are ramping up hysteria over two deaths in Colorado associated with ‘edibles’; so cannabis cookies in kids style was a spectacular own goal. Close-ups of bags of weed being sold alongside the names of the organisers is not just stupid, it is crazy.

We will never win the support of the public by behaving this way.  Inevitably, of the hundreds there, many seemed barely out of their teens.  The images and messages this sends through the media and to our political leaders are destructive of all the positive work that is being done towards reform. These demos, protests,  ‘smoke ups’ and ‘smoke outs’ have never had any positive effect so what makes anyone think they will now?

I know that many involved with the organisers are sincere but if I wanted to plan how to subvert and undermine the campaign, yesterday in Hyde Park would be a good model.

We have MPs, opinion leaders and powerful people on our side but unsurprisingly they will not be associated with such events.  Let’s move on and put this as far behind us as we can. The key to winning this war is to demonstrate that we can behave responsibily, to win hearts and minds which have been subject to propaganda for nearly a century.  Reform in the US has been achieved despite, not because of such events.

So what can you do? Write to your MP, arrange to meet your MP, ask your MP to arrange a meeting with a minister. This is what works. This is what is actually making progress. Let’s not mess it up.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 217 other followers