Tuesday, 24 April 2018

TIME FOR CANNABIS - THE PRISON YEARS 1991 TO 1995 - INTRODUCTION

TIME FOR CANNABIS - THE PRISON YEARS 1991 TO 1995 - INTRODUCTION

Ever wondered what it's like to spend time in prison for helping not harming - this book may give an insight into the harm done by the system and how it could be changed to bring out the goodness.

Now at Amazon as PAPERBACK and Kindle

Time for Cannabis - The Prison Years" is a true-life story of the journey through arrest, time on remand, trial and conviction and time served in 4 UK prisons.
This book is a valuable comparsion of prison regimes and personal experiences of the damage and the healing possible, and how the treatment of prisoners can affect them upon release.                                           
All this in prisons that claim their aim is to treat inmates with humanity.



 This book is not meant to be humorous, although a certain amount of humour is unavoidable, partly because the nonsense and inconsistencies which I came up against during my time served, and partly because sometimes it hurts so much that one has to either laugh or cry. I fully intend to criticise the prison and the court systems, but not, I hope, unnecessarily, and, I also hope, positively.

This is not meant as a horror story, a fiction, or an analytical work, although I will admit in advance to colouring and flavouring events, changing names, and interspersing actual events with thoughts of the occasion. This is to increase the readability of what might otherwise be a very 'flat' book, considering the flatness of the system.

I consider myself very fortunate, even in this experience, as I have previously travelled to many different countries, and witnessed the different languages and customs therein, which I feel has enabled me to adopt a more detached and somewhat enlightened attitude to the strangeness which I constantly experienced. Many inmates are either the well learned ‘old lags’ who have been in and out of the system for years, or else are younger and more naive.

I was also fortunate to have already received an education, thus being able to further it using the institution's facilities and classes, able to write and read easily, unlike many of my comrades, and thus help the time pass easily and productively. I was also fortunate enough, for want of a better phrase although it may sound as selfish as it is, to have first arrived at a prison along with some acquaintances, and to recognise a few faces already there who I could turn to for help with day to day life. Once again I sympathise greatly with the young, scared and lonely convict or detainee.

Although it is only natural that I feel some anger and resentment against the way I have sometimes been treated, in particular by the courts, this emotion has never overwhelmed me.

I see so many things wrong with the world that Mankind has created, not least the way in which selfish and greedy individuals have polluted our beautiful planet and continue to do so, perhaps to the point of no return and the devastation of possibly all life. I fail to see how the Governments on this world, who often seem to me to be evil, can allow the future to develop in this way, ruining the chances of happiness and health for their descendants. In the sixties I grew up under the constant threat of nuclear devastation imposed by individuals so many miles away, whose identities would never be known to most of us. But this being bad enough, at least there was a chance of survival.

As the sixties have become the nineties there are so many problems in this world, any one of which will destroy us as individuals or as a race, including Aids, acid rain, radiation poisoning, the 'Greenhouse Effect', the ozone depletion, the pollution of the air, sea and land, space junk, chemical additives in our food and water, and on and on and on.

Add to this unemployment and the violence shown on TV, in video’s and in the press, to the point of saturation and ‘normality’, and it is less surprising what is happening on our streets. It has been said that by the age of twelve the average American child has witnessed several thousand murders on the screen, and doubtless a similar figure is true for British children.

In the East they say life is cheap, and death is all around, and certainly it seems that in many countries where overpopulation has become such an everyday burden, there are constantly civil wars or violent freedom fighters whom the various governments call terrorists. But do the governments and industrial bosses realise the terror which they daily cause us in our lives, through their greed? Is it surprising there is so much violence and crime in the country?

Advertising is a strange practice to apply to people who are unable to afford the goods or services advertised, and although increasing sales amongst the select few, causes nothing but unsatisfied desire amongst everyone else. Consider this story. It concerns a village deep in the heart of the Egyptian desert near Libya. I forget the name, but that is unimportant. This small oasis settlement had been there for hundreds if not thousands of years, the locals content to grow what they could, and keep their livestock. In years past they may even have profited from accommodating the occasional traveller. They were certainly unlikely to attract any tourists, unless some big archaeological discovery was ever made. Being short of power, having no electricity and little means of producing it, they were unlikely to attract much big industry.

The locals remained poor people, but never starved. They were basically content, having what they needed and most of what they wanted. This is the point: they had most of what they wanted, or rather most of what they knew about that they could want. Of course they may have wanted a better doctor, a panacea, a magic carpet, but these were merely dreams.

One day however, one of the locals had to traverse the desert to Cairo, for personal reasons. Suddenly, instead of being surrounded by friends and sands, he found himself in a huge city, some fifteen million souls, tall buildings, thousands of cars, buses, trucks, bicycles, people in all style of dress, restaurants, businesses and even more foreigners than the population of his home village. What did he see? Advertising. Somehow he managed to get hold of a television, battery operated, and having been shown how to work it, he took it home with him.

Fortunately, or maybe not so, they could pick up signals in the village and they were able to watch films, news and documentaries about a country and a world they never new existed. The children and young men were, of course, able to watch too. And what did they see? Advertising Young mini-skirted girls drinking cola, cowboys with their special cigarettes, the blond bombshell in the tight jeans, the fast car and the gorgeous lady who went with it, watches, stereos, holidays, household appliances and magical gadgets, and so on.

So, what happened to their simple needs and desires? They multiplied out of all proportion. They wanted all these things too, but of course they had no money so they could only dream on in frustration. Until one day three or four young men themselves set off to Cairo, where the streets were paved with gold and one could make enough money to buy some of the well and ‘successfully’ advertised wares. Unfortunately when they got there they found not thousands but millions of people in the same position, unemployment ridiculously high, the city impersonal and apparently uncaring, and their chances of even getting enough food for tomorrow rapidly dwindling. But not everybody was poor. Some people had cars, wore expensive watches and clothes, and drank cola, and presumably had many more modern goods to make their lives apparently easier and happier. So what did our young and impressionable brothers do? They stole. They broke into a house and took what they could. Unfortunately these men were nothing of the professional burglar, knew nothing of finger prints and forensics, and were soon caught. The result? Four more inmates in the hell hole of Cairo prison. Once again the advertising agents had done their job well, convincing the people that they needed the junk they had to sell!

Of course the situation in Britain is not as extreme, but nevertheless it is surely obvious that if one successfully creates an intense desire for something, in the minds of often uneducated and impressionable people, in a time of unemployment when their cash is hard come by, at the same time blasting them with crime on the TV, something somewhere is going to give. A percentage of them, being unable to earn an honest buck, will hit the streets, either taking what they want through robbery and theft, or dealing in drugs or stolen property, prostitution, or any of the many other ways of getting a ‘few readies’.

This is why the prisons are so full. Add to that the people who drink and drive, maybe take drugs steal to get money for their next hit to lift them out of their boredom and fears, everybody taxed beyond what they can afford, and the prison population begins to overflow.

Having stated that as my beliefs as to why so much crime occurs, I now have to say that this was only a very minor cause of my conviction. I will not in this book, attempt to discuss my personal level of guilt or innocence, but I would like to stress the view I had of my offences at the time.

My charges were concerned with cannabis, a so-called drug. Having consumed it for a number of years, and met untold people in nearly every country I ever visited, smoked with young and old, people new to it and those who had smoked very heavily for very many years, for social, recreational and also ‘spiritual’ purposes,

I did not and do not understand why it remains illegal! In its pure uncut form it certainly seems to have done me no harm, or anyone I have met.

No matter how much one consumes there is no danger for a reasonably balanced person. It has been said that the fatal dose is two kilos, dropped on the head from a great height! There is no heavy withdrawal, no side effects.

The real problems are that it is often cut with possibly damaging impurities, ranging from sawdust to barbiturates, solvents to boot polish and evencow shit, by the less than scrupulous illegal suppliers; that it is normally mixed with the legal and deadly poisonous tobacco; and that it remains illegal and therefore in the control of the underworld. The so-called controlled drugs are controlled not by the Government, who should concern themselves with the lack of purity of consumables, but by crooks.

Added to this are the many acclaimed medical benefits of cannabis to sufferers of ailments such as multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, asthma and arthritis, its pain-killing properties, and relaxing properties, and the uses of the plant - hemp, for the non-polluting manufacture of paper, linen, rope - all the old maps, Bibles, sails, ropes etc were made from hemp - its use as a food supply (seeds crushed to make gruel are highly nutritious) for humans and animals, and its use as a clean, renewable (two crops a year) and highly efficacious fuel, cannabis is probably the most versatile God-given substance on earth! Of course, it makes some people apparently lazier, but not all, and many of these become more creative even if only privately.

There is a vast amount of music and art forms produced under the effect of cannabis.

About 5% of the population admit to having used it regularly, and in private a great many barristers and other professional men. In private a great many individuals agree that it should be legalised, but are, like the majority of people living under Nazi control who witnessed the inhumane treatment of the Jews, too afraid for their own careers, and freedom, to speak out. The anti-legalisation lobby seems to be left, nowadays, with the completely unfounded statement that it ‘leads to other drugs’. True, 95% of hard drug users confess, when asked in a weighted question, that their first illegal substance was cannabis. But only 5% at most, of cannabis users ever take hard drugs. It is rather like using the argument that 99% of convicted armed robbers admit to owning water pistols as children, to bring about the prohibition of possession and sale of water pistols! Meanwhile, whilst those in authority and positions of respect usually remain silent, and the various campaigns for legalisation are left in the hands of often unemployed and outcast folk who have little or no experience of organisation, thousands of users and dealers remain in prisons, and millions risk their health by consuming street ‘crap’.

Let’s face it, even with the risk of incarceration, people still use it and will continue to use it, and continue to line the pockets of crooks, so it is really time that some government opened its own eyes, legalised it, took control of quality, gained revenue through taxation, and saved the time of police, courts and prisons. So, having said that, why was it suddenly made illegal in the 1920's? Some political reasons? Strange how the banning of cannabis and hemp suddenly created a vacuum in the supply of ropes and fabrics, shortly before the industrial giants put nylon on the market, and the huge petrochemical companies marketed their synthetics and polluting alternatives. I sometimes wonder if there was a connection.

I am not trying to excuse breaking the law. The law is the law, right or wrong, and the country cannot survive without laws. Judge Pickles, himself an advocate for the legalisation of all drugs, was correct when he said that people should not be allowed to pick and choose which laws to keep and which laws to break, that sort of freedom would be disastrous. Neither should such offenders be given leniency. In prisons there are many who would legalise all sorts of unpleasant things which they have been incarcerated for. Yet it is true, in the cases of the suffragettes and also the homosexuals, who sought to change the law by breaking it, that it can eventually lead to publicity and success.

I would, however, stress that very many people with similar experiences to me, never had any intention of hurting anyone, and mostly have never broken any other laws. Their preference for cannabis over alcohol and sedatives, has, nonetheless, resulted in their doors being kicked in, humiliating strip and personal searches, hours of solitude in filthy police cells and extended interviews often interspersed with secret threats and insults, confiscation of assets, collapse of businesses or careers, long periods in prison equivalent to sentences for armed robbery and often greater than for rape offences, and general alienation from their families, friends and society in general.

Why? All because they wanted to get high! Cannabis is used in prisons probably more than on the outside. The staff, I have been told more than once by members of that elite group, tend to turn a blind eye - it keeps the inmates quiet.

So, back to this book, like I say it is not the place to discuss guilt or innocence. Although I can hardly avoid ‘having a dig at the system’ and those who perpetuate it, that is neither my purpose.

Rather I want to present the prisons through my eyes, the eyes of an educated and travelled, non-criminally minded, and, as those who know me will agree, harmless forty year old male from Wales. I felt that by helping to organise contacts and introductions between suppliers and customers, I was helping people by enabling them to get a clean supply, by keeping them away from alcohol, hard drugs, and the dreadful tranquillisers and sedatives, benefited people.

Educated as a scientist at university, I was taught to examine the facts for myself, and not to blindly accept everything I was told.

This is all I ask of you the reader, to consider the evidence with an open mind; those who accept orders and laws without question are the true fascists.

The book is divided into four sections: the first will cover the nightmare of remand in custody.

The three prisons which I entered were category B, a maximum security, and a low security C category. I was on wings separated from the so-called vulnerable prisoners, as we call them, ‘nonces’, guilty of horrendous crimes which should not ever be even imagined.

Amongst the prisoners with whom I lived the hatred of the nonces was universal.

As for the others it seems that the longer the sentences the more respect the inmates had for each other. A man two or more years into a ten or twenty year sentence has an entirely different attitude towards his surroundings than a short-timers who is only ‘passing through’.

The main problems for the long-timers are the poor living conditions, being isolation from family and friends, and institutionalisation.

Frustration and helplessness, anger at the treatment of self and others, an authoritative hypocrisy, are what causes violence amongst these men.

This book is an attempt to portray what I saw and felt at the time.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Harm from Cannabis v Harm from Bad Laws

For every person that even claims to have been harmed by cannabis substances, there are thousands that have been harmed by a bad law that punishes people for possession or cultivation of a plant without license despite them having done no harm to others - they have been given criminal records and limits on employment, travel and even insurance.

Furthermore, the law has not prevented that harm that people say cannabis caused them through their own choice to use it; the law did not prevent access; rather it opens the door to illegal profiteers who often care little about anything but profit often selling contaminated products or offering to sell other illegal substances. The law exposes people that have chosen cannabis to the world of crime where profits are not taxed, devoid of consumer protection.

The fear of repercussions may well delay people from seeking medical help when they need it.

What sense is there in punishing those that claim to have suffered through their use of cannabis and what sense in punishing those that testify that cannabis has benefited their health?

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Blood on the Streets, blood on her hands

I was thinking of getting some red paint and just throw it all over the streets to remind people of the blood that our government is spilling in Syria

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

The Need for a Cannabis-Focussed Political Party

The need for a cannabis-focussed political party.

I sincerely believe in our need for a political party that puts cannabis policy at its forefront to enable cannabis activists to enter the political arena.

I say this in the knowledge of opposition within the cannabis campaigning communities! I know full well that people will say that we should instead support the Green Party, the Liberal Democrats or other political parties that have a positive policy on cannabis. They have been saying that for decades but although those parties do create waves, they do not exactly represent the freedom and recognition of Rights that we want. They do not give us a chance to represent ourselves at election times. Instead they seldom mention and do not prioritise their cannabis policies enough: they do not recognise the any benefits of the plant and potential benefits to individuals, the Nation and the world.

I know that people will also say that a single-issue party will fail to gather man votes or that those votes will make no difference. Yet the type of party that I propose, although prioritising cannabis issues and uniting people under a single banner (legalisation of possession, cultivation and supply), allows candidates to hold and express their own opinions and policies on other issues: a single-issue party with multi-issue candidates. Their policies on other those other issues will attract or lose votes too. The chances to be heard will certainly make a difference.

Cannabis has an extremely wide range of associated issues: the utilisation of the plant has direct relevance to Human Rights, health and medicine, pollution and the environmental, farming, industry and employment, taxation and revenue, culture and religion.

Such a party did exist in the not-so-distant past: that was the Legalise Cannabis Alliance Party (LCA), 1999 to 2006. During that time, candidates fought in over 80 elections and although seldom gaining more than 3% of the vote in Parliamentary elections, doing better in local elections, in an all-up council election in Great Yarmouth in 2004 Michael Skipper received a vote from over 16% of the voters. http://www.ccguide.org/lca/lca.php

As well as enabling all those candidates to have their say, the LCA also distributed about one million fliers and had a presence on many news and other programs on radio and TV (including the Fastest Political Party race on Top Gear in which Mark Gibson for the LCA came second), spoke at universities and schools attended rallies and protests, produced a series of informational pamphlets and publications including “Cannabis: Challenging the Criminal Justice System) that gained thousands of signatures in support and a copy was sent to every MP including a copy in Braille to then Home Secretary David Blunkett. LCA also spoke at the Oxford Union and testified before a government panel set up to look at drugs law.

The aim of the LCA was primarily to give people a platform in the political arena and the support of a party focussed on cannabis.

Also its aims were to stimulate debate and to remove cannabis from the Misuse of Drugs Act.

LCA certainly provided the platform and certainly stimulated debate, yet of course the law on cannabis has not changed. Yet I consider it relevant that under David Blunkett cannabis was downgraded to class C and after LCA deregistered as apolitical party in 2006, cannabis was soon upgraded again: both changes were under a Labour Government.

Why did LCA deregister? Mainly because, after the invasion of Iraq and bombing of Afghanistan, with debates on such as ID issues, many members felt that other issues were immediately of greater importance. With de-registration though, came a loss of direction and unity and although LCA continued to exist as a campaigning group it became less active.

In 2011 Peter Reynolds was voted as leader (previously their was no single leader and candidates became leaders in their own community). Reynolds changes the name and policy, got rid or alienated many of the previous members, and formed his own party, the Cannabis Law Reform Party, badly-led dismal failure.

Then came CISTA: Cannabis is Safer Than Alcohol party, founded by Paul Birch who funded just over 30 candidates. CISTA and Birch found a great deal of opposition and not everyone agreed with their main policy of calling for a Royal Commission. As I have said, I believe in the need for a political platform.

I also acknowledge that when it comes to voting, many people may decide that by voting for one prohibitionist party, Labour, they may help oust a worse prohibitionist part, the Conservatives. BUT forming and running a party focussed on cannabis, which none of the others do, is not about getting elected or winning votes, it’s about raising the issues at election times, being heard, representing ourselves. I was one of the two founders of the LCA, Jack Girling being the other, in 1999, and active in both its administration and campaigning. 

Now at over 68 years-of-age, I am not enthusiastic on doing it again. All it takes though, is a team of half a dozen people, including one to name as leader and one as treasurer, a short constitution and all else will follow.


Tuesday, 27 March 2018

YOUR Right to choose and practice your religion or beliefs. Your Right to a Private Life.

UK law and International Treaty protect the Right of every person to choose and to practice his own belief. There is no stipulation on what that belief should be; there is no list of acceptable religions. Each to his or her own. The practice of that belief, alone or with others, is also part of that Right. In addition, we have the Right to a Private Life.  
 
These Rights are being abused by the way in which The Misuse of Drugs Act is applied, by invading the Private Lives of people who pose no risk or do no harm due to their possession or cultivation or non-commercial sharing of cannabis alone or with consenting adults in their private, in belief that such activites improve the quality of their lives.
 
The Law and the Articles in the Treaties quite specifically limit and set criteria for when authorties are allowed to interfere with those Rights. Unless they can show that the criteria demanded is satisfied, then those authorities are themselves accussed of breaking the law.
 
There is no evidence to suggest that the possession or cultivation of cannabis for own use or sharing in private poses a risk to public health or the Rights as others. 
 
The UK Human Rights Act 1998 states
 
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
2. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. 
 
Right to respect for private and family life
 
1 Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2 There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. 
 
Prohibition of abuse of rights
Nothing in this Convention may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the Convention. 
 

Thursday, 15 March 2018

SHAME on MP's that voted against free school meals for the poorest families in the UK

SENT to my MP Chloe Smith, Norwich North

School meals

According to the press, you voted out free school meals for even the poorest of children.  Blindly following party whips and instructions AGAIN! 

YOU do not represent me or anyone else I know.

You ought to be full of shame.

You need to be ousted and rest assured, many people are working on that - the next election is not far away now, that is if the tyranats allow it.

SHAME ON YOU ALL

These are all the MP's who voted for a cruel cap on free school meals for low income families

Friday, 9 March 2018

Phone call: I want to help you with your computer"

J: "Good morning, my name is Jack and I want to speak to the owner of your computer."

Me: "I am the owner of my computer"

J: "Can I speak to you?"

Me: "You already are"

J: : "Yes but I want to speak about your computer."

Me: "Which computer?"

J: "Your main one."

Me: "Who did you say you are?"

J: "Jack"

Me "Jack?"

J: "Yes Jack"

Me: "And what do you want?"

J: "I want to help you with your computer."

Me: "Which computer?"

J: "The one you are using at the moment."

Me: "I'm not using a computer, I am on the phone with you."

J: "Yes but there is a problem and I want to help."

Me: "What sort of problem, I feel fine."

J: "The problem is with your computer."

Me: "Who did you say you are?"

J: "Jack"

Me: "Jack who?"

J: "Jack Williams"

Me: "Jack Williams?"

J: "Yes"

Me: "I don't know you"

J: "Yes but I am trying to help you"

Me: "What with?"

J: "With your computer"

Me: "I don't have a computer"

J: Hangs up.

BEWARE OF THESE SCAMMERS, THEY WILL ASK YOU TO GIVE THEM ACCESS TO YOUR COMPUTER AND THEN RIP YOU OFF."

Thursday, 8 March 2018

One way or the other, the UK Government is teling lies about cannabis

IF the UK Gov are to be believed when they say cannabis is a plant with no meedicinal value, and yet grow and produce and export so much "medcine" from it, one way or the other it must go down on one of the biggest cons in history

https://news.sky.com/story/uk-is-worlds-largest-producer-of-legal-cannabis-11278131

UK is world's largest producer of legal cannabis

A drug reform group slams the Government for "maintaining cannabis has no medical uses" while allowing its export abroad.
The UK is the world's largest producer and exporter of legal cannabis for medical and scientific use, according to a new report from a UN body.
The UK produced 95 tonnes of legal cannabis in 2016, more than double the total of the previous year, reveals the UN's International Narcotics Control Board. This accounted for 44.9% of the world total.
The nearest competitor is Canada, with 80.7 tonnes.
Some 2.1 tonnes was exported from the UK, making it responsible for 67.7% of the world total, followed by the Netherlands (16.4%).
A drug policy reform lobby group has criticised the UK government, saying they have "consistently refused to allow medical cannabis in the UK on the basis that it has 'no therapeutic value'".

Steve Rolles, Transform's senior policy analyst said: "It is scandalous and untenable for the UK government to maintain that cannabis has no medical uses, at the same time as licensing the world's biggest government-approved medical cannabis production and export market.
"UK patients are either denied access and suffering unnecessarily, or are forced to buy cannabis from the criminal market.
"Countries with proper access to medical cannabis do not have this problem, as standardised cannabis products are in the hands of doctors and pharmacists."
A significant part of the UK's legal cannabis production goes towards a cannabis-based medicine called Sativex, produced by GW Pharmaceuticals.
It is available on prescription for patients such as those suffering the effects of multiple sclerosis, but it is only on the NHS in Wales.
 Alfie Dingley, aged six, is a British boy who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy, something his parents say can be treated with cannabis oil.
Alfie, from Kenilworth, returned from the Netherlands last month, where he had been receiving this treatment.
His parents want the Government to let him use the medication in the UK but it is banned.

Friday, 1 December 2017

The Government has responded to the petition – “Legalise cannabis for medical and recreational use.”

So the government still stubbornly insists that the cannabis plant itself has no medicinal value, hence classifying those kind souls and profiteers alike that manage to extract edicinal compounds from a plant with no mdeicinal value as MIRACLE WORKERS. 
The only way to get a government to legalise is to persuade Labour to adopt the policy NOW so that when elected, they may make a move - and THAT IS UP TO YOU - write now to Jeremy Corbyn 

Dear alun buffry, The Government has responded to the petition you signed – “Legalise cannabis for medical and recreational use.”.
Government responded:
This Government has no plans to legalise cannabis. Raw cannabis is not recognised in the UK as having any medicinal benefit.
There is clear scientific and medical evidence that cannabis is a harmful drug which can damage people’s mental and physical health, and harms individuals and communities. The evidence from the Government’s independent experts, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), is that the use of cannabis is a ‘significant public health issue and can unquestionably cause harm to individuals and society’.
The decriminalisation of drugs in the UK would not eliminate the crime committed by the illicit trade nor would it address the harms associated with drug dependence and the misery this can cause to families and society. Decriminalisation or legalisation of cannabis would send the wrong message to the vast majority of people who do not take drugs, especially young and vulnerable people, with the potential grave risk of increased misuse of drugs.
When a police officer finds someone in possession of drugs, it is an operational matter as to the appropriate response. We have confidence in our police officers to assess as appropriate any enforcement action, where there is a public order or protection or local drug issue that needs addressing, rather than seek them out for drug possession offences. It is not always appropriate or conducive to the public good to arrest every person they find with a small amount of cannabis and although the police can charge individuals with a criminal offence, they can also issue a warning or an on-the-spot fine of £90 if an individual is found with cannabis.
It is important that medicines are thoroughly tested to ensure they meet rigorous standards before being placed on the market, so that doctors and patients are sure of their efficacy, quality and safety. There is a clear regime in place administered by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (‘MHRA’) to enable medicines (including controlled drugs such as cannabis) to be developed, licensed and made available for medicinal use to patients in the UK. For example, the cannabis-based medicine ‘Sativex’ has been granted Marketing Authorisation in the UK by the MHRA for the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis. Sativex was tested for its safety, efficacy and quality before receiving Marketing Authorisation approval for this application.
The MHRA is open to considering marketing authorisation approval applications for other medicinal cannabis products should a product be developed by a manufacturer. As happened in the case of Sativex, the Home Office will consider issuing a licence to enable trials of any new medicine, providing it complies with the appropriate ethical approvals.
We continue to monitor international developments on the evidence base around cannabis. The World Health Organisation’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence has committed to reviewing the scheduling of cannabis under the UN’s 1961 Convention. This is due to consider the therapeutic use as well as dependence and the potential to abuse constituent parts of cannabis.
Home Office
Click this link to view the response online:
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/200021…
The Petitions Committee will take a look at this petition and its response. They can press the government for action and gather evidence. If this petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the Committee will consider it for a debate.
The Committee is made up of 11 MPs, from political parties in government and in opposition. It is entirely independent of the Government. Find out more about the Committee: https://petition.parliament.uk/help#petitions-committee
Thanks,
The Petitions team
UK Government and Parliament