Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘expert

UK Department of Health Has Neither Requested Nor Received Any Advice On Medicinal Cannabis.

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“I know nothing. I ask nothing. I understand nothing.”

This is the astonishing reality of the way the UK government is responding to the national outcry for access to cannabis as medicine. They are doing absolutely nothing.

Across the world a revolution is taking place as more and more jurisdictions are introducing legal access to medical cannabis. Medical professionals and patients alike are realising the huge benefits to be gained from re-opening access to this most valuable of medicines. Scientific research is proving beyond doubt that cannabis is a safe and effective medicine for a wide range of conditions. Many pharmaceutical companies are investigating different cannabinoids, extracts and therapies. Most of all, citizens are demanding access to a medicine that has been denied to them for no good reason and that can improve, even save the lives of people of all ages, from the baby with severe epilepsy to the grandparent suffering the effects of aging, even dementia. Cannabis can help improve and maintain good health in all of us.

Yet the UK government is not considering the evidence. Despite even a year long Parliamentary inquiry which recommended permitting access, the Department of Health has not considered nor even asked for any expert advice. My Freedom of Information request has established this beyond doubt. See here: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/395319/response/965315/attach/html/2/1078680%20Reynolds.pdf.html

I have been pressing my MP, Sir Oliver Letwin, on this issue ever since I became his constituent two years ago. Early on he was an extremely powerful cabinet minster, generally recognised as number three in the government after David Cameron and George Osborne but he was swiftly sacked when Theresa May became prime minister.  He has already announced he will not stand for re-election to the next Parliament.

Meeting with Sir Oliver Letwin MP

To be fair, Oliver has always listened to me politely and attentively.  We have met on about half a dozen occasions and we frequently exchange emails.  He has been more responsive to me than I had hoped and to begin with he told me he was investigating what was happening in government about the subject.  His answer was that the evidence has been considered, expert advisors have been consulted and ministers have concluded that there is not a good case for reform.

I have pressed him again and again, shown him reams of evidence, shared stories with him from across the world, both of scientific research and patient testimonies.  While always courteous towards me he has remained resolutely opposed.  I could have given up long ago.  Indeed, when I asked him why can’t we simply leave it to the professional judgement of doctors whether to prescribe it or not, he gave me an answer straight out of a ‘Yes Minster’ script.  He said: “But then they would prescribe it.”

At the beginning of this year I asked him once again for assistance in putting me before a minister to advance my case.  He replied:

“We have discussed this issue before, but I am happy to set out the reason why I will not support your proposals. The Department of Health have, as you know, considered this issue, have taken advice on it from their professional public health advisors, and have concluded that the gains in healthcare arising from the legalisation of medicinal cannabis (as opposed to cannabinoids) would not be sufficiently great to outweigh the risk of abuse.”

It seems that, at best, Sir Oliver is mistaken.  I have written to him again asking for comments on the FOI response.

Whatever reply I now receive, I urge everyone to get on to their MP about this.  It is a scandal.  There can be no doubt that it is irresponsible and negligent that the Department of Health is so clearly failing in its duty to the country.  That’s not to say how very cruel and inhumane this failure is or how much money legal medical cannabis could save the NHS.  Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, must be called to account for this.

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Home Office Drug Strategy Consultation – Sham And Deception

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Today I started to prepare my submission to the Home Office in response to its Drug Strategy consultation.  I am sorry to say but it appears to be a complete sham, a deception and merely a sop to public opinion.  The strategy is already decided.  It is not a Drugs Strategy,  it is a Drug Prevention Strategy.  It will create death, misery, suffering and crime.  It is a disaster in the making

At the beginning of the document it says:

Ministers have agreed the new strategic vision and broad themes for the Drug Strategy which will set the framework for the future delivery of drugs policy…The paper sets out the key objectives and themes of the government’s vision for drugs policy…The Home Office will lead the new Drug Strategy to prevent drug taking, disrupt drug supply, strengthen enforcement and promote drug treatment.

That’s right, despite Cameron’s and Clegg’s progressive statements in the past, nothing is to change.  It is an authoritarian, big government, top down approach.  It is the precise opposite of the values which The Big Society is supposed to stand for.  It’s a stitch up and completely undemocratic.  Most important of all, it flies in the face of all the experts, all the experience of the last 30 years and is completely out of step with Europe, America and most of the rest of the world.

In fact the only people who will be supporting this farcical exercise in misinformation will be drug dealers, organised crime drug cartels and countries like China, Singapore and Malaysia that execute people for drug use.

Trying to “prevent drug taking” is like asking King Canute to hold back the tide.  It is a completely hopeless and unachievable goal.  Man has been using mind-altering substances since the dawn of time and no government or strategy is going to change that.  What the new Drugs Strategy should be doing is setting out to regulate drug use in a way that will minimise harms.  All the experts agree on this.

Shame on you Cameron!  Shame on you Clegg!  Only four months in and you’ve hit moral rock bottom already.

Cameron, Clegg and Canute.  Three of a kind

“No More Obvious Waste” Than UK’s £19 Billion War On Drugs

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A Wise Lady

In the House of Lords on 15th June 2010, Baroness Meacher announced a “radical shift of policy” from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.  The UN’s “war on drugs” has been an abject failure creating an illegal trade worth £320 billion and financing civil war in South America for the last 25 years.  British soldiers die almost every day in Afghanistan fighting an enemy financed by the illegal opium trade.

The UK spends £19 billion annually on the costs of drug law enforcement.

According to Baroness Meacher there is “no more obvious waste” of public money.  When will our leaders have the courage to grasp this nettle, to liberalise our pointless, self-defeating laws and free up billions of pounds of our money for more sensible purposes?

Video here.  Text here.

In addition, expert research indicates that a legalise, regulate and tax regime could contribute at least £6 billion annually in additional tax revenue. How can we afford to ignore these huge sums of money which we could make available to the country at little more than the stroke of a pen and with only a beneficial effect on the health of the nation?

Dying For A Stupid Law

Five years ago, while campaigning for the Tory party leadership, David Cameron called for “fresh thinking and a new approach” towards drugs policy and said that it would be “disappointing if radical options on the law on cannabis were not looked at”. Nick Clegg has promised to repeal “illiberal, intrusive and unnecessary” laws and to stop “making ordinary people criminals”. There can be no better example of this than the laws against personal use and cultivation of cannabis, particularly for medicinal reasons.

The coalition government’s new Your Freedom website launched only this morning is already inundated with proposals to legalise cannabis and to end the futile war on drugs. The site is crashing under the strain of a massive outcry from British people for the state to back off and give us back our freedoms.

We don’t just want our freedom back.  We want our money back too.

Abandon Afghanistan Now!

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Our so called leaders don’t listen to us.  They’ve abandoned any pretence of democracy by imposing a new European regime and president on us.  They don’t even listen to their expert advisors.  Instead they prolong an idiotic and discredited drugs strategy that brings violent crime to the streets of every town in the country and funds international terrorism.

Perhaps they will hear the crunch of Gulbeddin’s bullets as they smash into British flesh and bone?

Please listen!  Too many heroes have died or been cruelly maimed.  This foreign land is not worth it and the idea that this strategy is protecting us at home is nonsense.

Now is the time to abandon Afghanistan.  Leave behind the disgusting and corrupt Karzai for, sure enough, whatever we do, he is doomed to suffer a grisly and horrific fate.  Leave behind the Taliban for they are medieval evil but with no interest outside their own borders.  Leave behind the Afghan people because much as we may deplore their treatment of women and of each other that is their problem, not ours.  Bring our boys home!

As for Al Qaeda and the threat of a renegade nuclear Pakistan, let us install a small but powerful contingent of our most heavily armed troops, garrisoned in impregnable fortresses.  In conjunction with our allies they should be equipped with the very best that we have.  Mostly they can observe and use pilotless drones to interdict where necessary.  All movements should be done by helicopter because we have no real interest in “hearts and minds”.  When necessary, overwhelming, unrelenting and merciless force must be used against our enemies and yes, let our men have battlefield nuclear weapons too.  We need to blast these evil Islamists off the face of the earth.  There is no more time for patience or consideration or concern.