Monday, 21 March 2011

UK: War on drugs has failed, say former heads of MI5, CPS and BBC - me too!

There are a number of criticisms of the current regime of prohibition of the possession, production and sale of some drugs in the UK

Whilst many drug users themselves may call for freedom of choice and (rightly) claim that what they consume is a matter for them and Government ought not to try to control that, so long as credible and accurate advice is available - along with consumer protected supply from reputable outlets, and provide the users are doing no harm.

Alongside this many argue that to punish drug users when they do no harm, is an unjust consequence of attempts at enforcing prohibition.  The victimless drug users become the victims of the law - and they are the very people that the law is meant to protect.

Prohibition, many say, does more harm than good; it fails to reduce harm from drugs and actually increases it by leaving the supply firmly in the hands of uncontrollable, un-taxable, unknown and often unscrupulous dealers and producers.

Whilst the cost of this prohibition to the British taxpayer runs into almost £20 BILLION annually, the profit from drugs finances crime and attracts an endless line of people willing to step in to replace the few that are caught.

We ask - who gains from this prohibition?  The answer is the drug producers, the drug sellers and those employed to try to catch them and lock them up.

We ask who pays for this prohibition?  The answer is the taxpayer and the drug user that suffers.

So I was pleased to read the headline in The Telegraph (21 March)
"UK: War on drugs has failed, say former heads of MI5, CPS and BBC"

The "war on drugs" has failed and should be abandoned in favour of evidence-based policies that treat addiction as a health problem, according to prominent public figures including former heads of MI5 and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Leading peers – including prominent Tories – say that despite governments worldwide drawing up tough laws against dealers and users over the past 50 years, illegal drugs have become more accessible.

Vast amounts of money have been wasted on unsuccessful crackdowns, while criminals have made fortunes importing drugs into this country.

The increasing use of the most harmful drugs such as heroin has also led to “enormous health problems”, according to the group.

The MPs and members of the House of Lords, who have formed a new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform, are calling for new policies to be drawn up on the basis of scientific evidence.

It could lead to calls for the British government to decriminalise drugs, or at least for the police and Crown Prosecution Service not to jail people for possession of small amounts of banned substances.


The chairman of the new group, Baroness Meacher – who is also chairman of an NHS trust – told The Daily Telegraph: “Criminalising drug users has been an expensive catastrophe for individuals and communities.

“In the UK the time has come for a review of our 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act. I call on our Government to heed the advice of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime that drug addiction should be recognised as a health problem and not punished.

“We have the example of other countries to follow. The best is Portugal which has decriminalised drug use for 10 years. Portugal still has one of the lowest drug addiction rates in Europe, the trend of Young people's drug addiction is falling in Portugal against an upward trend in the surrounding countries, and the Portuguese prison population has fallen over time.”

Lord Lawson, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer between 1983 and 1989, said: “I have no doubt that the present policy is a disaster.

“This is an important issue, which I have thought about for many years. But I still don't know what the right answer is – I have joined the APPG in the hope that it may help us to find the right answer.”

Other high-profile figures in the group include Baroness Manningham-Buller, who served as Director General of MI5, the security service, between 2002 and 2007; Lord Birt, the former Director-General of the BBC who went on to become a “blue-sky thinker” for Tony Blair; Lord Macdonald of River Glaven, until recently the Director of Public Prosecutions; and Lord Walton of Detchant, a former president of the British Medical Association and the General Medical Council.

Current MPs on the group include Peter Bottomley, who served as a junior minister under Margaret Thatcher; Mike Weatherley, the newly elected Tory MP for Hove and Portslade; and Julian Huppert, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge.

The group’s formation coincides with the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which paved the way for a war on drugs by describing addiction as a “serious evil”, attempting to limit production for medicinal and scientific uses only, and coordinating international action against traffickers.

The peers and MPs say that despite governments “pouring vast resources” into the attempt to control drug markets, availability and use has increased, with up to 250 million people worldwide using narcotics such as cannabis, cocaine and heroin in 2008.

They believe the trade in illegal drugs makes more than £200 billion a year for criminals and terrorists, as well as destabilising entire nations such as Afghanistan and Mexico.

As a result, the all-party group is working with the Beckley Foundation, a charitable trust, to review current policies and scientific evidence in order to draw up proposed new ways to deal with the problem.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Locking up people that use cannabis to alleviate pain - is that what people want?

Do any Government really imagine that prison will stop people using drugs, let alone medicinally beneficial and essential ones, like cannabis? 

Even though they have done no harm to anyone or anything?

As soon as they are released, they will re-offend, so in that sense it is delaying what is inevitable because it is also the essential.  Just like all people that find a particular plant or medicine effective, they will use it when they can.  It is a necessity.

So the taxpayers have to pay to unjustly imprison a medicinal cannabis user, which is futile - or the user has to resort to more expensive and more dangerous ineffective pharmaceuticals - which is futile.

If given the choice of financing the imprisonment or the pharmaceutical drugs,  or allowing the person to produce and use their own cannabis, or a carer to do it for them, cannabis that the user claims as highly beneficial to them at no cost to the taxpayer - what would most people chose? 

Everyone I ask says the third choice - let them grow safely!

So it cannot be in the public interest to imprison such a user (or in fact punish them at all) - and if it's not in the public interest, who's interest is it really in?

Can anyone on earth honestly answer that?

UK Government waste millions on Sativex then Health Authority refuse to allow it for MS!

The Midlands Therapeutics Review & Advisory Committee has issued the first blanket ban in the UK for prescribing Sativex, claiming that there is inadequate evidence for the drug’s efficacy and safety. This flies in the face of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's decision that the drug is both safe and effective.

Sativex is a licensed treatment for people with MS who experience symptoms of spasticity and it should be prescribed to people for whom other treatments have failed.

Jayne Spink, Director of Policy and Research at the MS Society said: "Sativex has undergone extensive clinical testing over many years. This decision beggars belief. It is not the remit of local committees to overwrite the judgements about the safety and effectiveness of drugs made by the official regulators. Banning access to Sativex will condemn those people with MS who rely upon it to a life unnecessarily limited by spasticity; a potentially devastating and distressing symptom of the condition."

In my opinion, Jayne is correct:.  For the Midlands Therapeutics Review & Advisory Committee to deny access to so many suffering people is simply atrocious and ignorant, when the hard evidence from studies and trials have shown beyond doubt that Sativex, the cannabis-extract solution, is both effiicacious and safe.  Those were amongst the strict criteria all medicines have to satisfy - which Sativex has - in order to gain a license (which Sativex has).

So we, the taxpayers, contribute willingly to cover the salaries of these ignorant and cloth-eared bureaucrats

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Malaysia: Vegetable Farmer Gets Death For Cannabis Trafficking

It's atrocious to read these terrible articles announcing the impending horrific death of a human being for doing nothing more than selling cannabis.

Despite the fact that cannabis may be illegal in Malaysia or elsewhere, Ahmad Roslan, appears to have done nothing more than most people try to do - earn a profit - and the truth is that the cannabis was extremely unlikely to have done harm to anyone including the ultimate buyers. To be given the death penalty for such a comparatively "safe" crime - is entirely disproportional and atrocious in any civilised country or culture.

Of course this is not the first sentence of this severity to be handed out for cannabis and Malaysia is not the only country to do so.

Below is the article: I hope that you will join me in writing to the Malaysian paper expressing your feelings about this; write to Editor- in-Chief Bernama

BERNAMA - Vegetable Farmer Gets Death For Cannabis Trafficking

March 17 2011

ALOR SETAR, March 17 (Bernama) -- A vegetable farmer was sentenced to death by the High Court here Thursday, when he was found guilty of trafficking in 26.35 kilogrammes of cannabis, two years ago.

Judge Datuk Zakiah Kassim delivered the sentence on Ahmad Roslan Mat, 46, after the prosecution established a prima facie case against him.

Ahmad Roslan, who hails from Selama, Perak, was alleged to have committed the offence at 5.15pm on May 1, 2009 by the roadside at Kampung Tebing Tinggi in Baling.


Tuesday, 15 March 2011


Maybe the People of Britain and of other countries do not fully realise the price they are paying in tax and other sorts for the on-going but failing attempts at enforcing drug prohibition, most of which is aimed at cannabis.  It runs into BILLIONS of pounds annually, even in these times of so-called financial crisis.
Illegal drugs cost the country £16bn a year, says charity Transform :
(7 April 2009)
Transform said measures to tackle prohibition were a waste of money and called for all drugs to be legalised, claiming it would save more than £10 billion a year.
Then of course there is the cost of environmental damage caused by the making and use of damaging synthetic alternatives to the many products that could safely and more cheaply be made from hemp.

Plus the additional cost to the health service due to the presence of adulterants or contaminants in cannabis bought on the street.

So one should ask then:  why this huge expense, why target cannabis, who profits out of prohibition.?

Maybe those that profit from prohibition are easier to identify than the reason for prohibition itself - or maybe the profit reveals the motivation.  ( see side 1 and side 2)

The profiteers of prohibition include not only illegal dealsers and gangs, but also those massive multi-national petrochemical and pharmaceutical companies that hold us to ransom at inflated prices for our fuel, our medicine and our well-being; and of course the many employees of the Criminal Justice Industry

For some years now the United Nations has by international agreement set out to eradicate not only to put a halt to the so-called “drug” use of cannabis, but also to actually eradicate the hemp plant from the planet – apart of course from their own uses.

This, of course, is nothing entirely new. Ever since the “industrial revolution” there has been an elite of profiteering megalomaniacs who want to run the world, and to do that they had to create a world where the people became totally dependent on the products of industry, not agriculture.

The US Civil war was a war between the industrial and the agricultural. Huge numbers were working as slaves and when the slaves were freed they began to seek work for a pittance in the factories being set up in the victorious North. The war on hemp is down to the same greed and power struggle that was behind so many wars.

Now consider what measures you would want to take if that was part of your aim:

You would want to prevent the production of seeds / clones.
You would want to attack the farmers, limit cultivation.
You would want to prevent sale
You would want to limit production
You would need to mis-educate the public in order to get away with such a scheme.

The so-called “mind-altering” properties of cannabis could certainly be one way to scare the people into believing that the plant was dangerous and that it had to be banned, despite it’s many beneficial uses.

So is any surprise that we have witnessed such bias and deceit about the plant that even our own Government is confused as to just how dangerous it is in comparison to other substances, whilst authorising extreme force against those who choose to cultivate it.

In the last few years, we have watched the following developments around the world:

In the UK, medical cannabis supply operations like THC4MS and medical users prosecuted.
Increased number of raids on Cannabis “Factories” (strange that they call them factories yet they contain plants, whereas many chemical factories are often called chemical plants!”
The Police are arresting cannabis growers whilst doing nothing to stop the real gangster-profiteers contaminating cannabis with grit, glass and who-knows-what – all the Government has done is warn doctors and clinics, not the users themselves.

Closure of Dutch Coffeeshops - talk of restricting sale to Dutch Nationals.
Strict contracts and laws on eviction of tenants or mortgage holders who are caught growing cannabis, even with confiscation of property.
Dutch seed producers attacked

Swiss seed companies attacked
Over 300 Hemp shops in Switzerland closed down.
Swiss hemp activist and farmer André Fürst and others arrested and imprisoned. When masked men attacked the hemp farming community, police closed down the community!

In Southern Australia, they are banning books and magazines with articles about growing cannabis, and making it a requirement that owners of hydroponics equipment explain their uses. They will be watching and closing down hydroponics shops.

In Nepal, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco and elsewhere, attacks continue on cannabis farmers, often destroying their livelihoods.

In China, Malaysia, Indonesia and several Arab states, they still execute people for cannabis possession. In many countries sentences in excess of ten years in prison are given out frequently, where there is no crime other than the cannabis crime committed.

Meanwhile, what have we really done in the face of this resolution by the UK and these attacks on otherwise law-abiding people and farmers?

The vast majority of those who use cannabis have sat by and done nothing. In the UK alone there is said to be somewhere between 1.5 and 4 million regular cannabis users- and as many as 1 in 3 adults have tried it. It’s probable that the majority of the House of Commons have at one time tried it.

There have been petitions - there have been marches in London with over 30,000 people turning up in the 1990's and less than 100 to static protests organised by ProtestLondon in the recent years. Membership and support for every campaign group or campaign tactics has, in short, been pathetic.

For sure, most people who now ignore the law would continue to ignore the law, grow, even sell, and use at their own risk of being busted. I know that those of us that choose to fight prohibition do so because of what we feel about prohibition despite all those tokers who don’t.

In the future, I believe, the situation regarding cannabis will worsen both here and abroad. Why do I think that? – Well,  back to my opening statement – because “the United Nations has by international agreement set out to eradicate” cannabis - Governments are spending many BILLIONS of pounds trying to enforce prohibition, eradicate the plant and boost the profits of the Pharmaceutical companies.

We will see continued attacks on growers, and them growshops, magazines and medical users who go public. And if we’re not lucky enough to be growing our own and getting away with it, we will have to choose between contaminated cannabis like grit weed or nothing.

Since campaigning for 15 years, I have seen that many of our enemies are not just the profiteers of prohibition which includes industrialists and drug dealers, as well as those employed in busting us, but many are able growers and users who seem either disinterested or too worried about their stash or crop to actively campaign for a change in law.

We need to wake people up, especially the tokers – that quite simply it’s not good enough to sit back and rely on a few dozen people to campaign for legalisation. 

It is time that the questions are shouted from the rooftops - why do you arrest people that have done no harm - why do you spend so much public money propping up the failed policy of cannabis prohibition?
In short - why do you want to eradicate such a useful and beneficial plant (Cannabis / hemp) - a plant that can be used to make cheap, effective and safe medicines, fuels, plastics, foodstuff and so many other products (literally thousands of them)?

What is the Government's true motivation for spending our money in this way?  Is is to boost the profits of those huge companies that are said to pull their strings?  For sure, anyone examining the cause and effects of cannabis prohibition will soon realise that it is not in the public interest.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

When prison for cannabis can mean a death sentence - how can it be Just?

I am concerned to read about 51- year-old Peter Davy who is suffering from cancer for ten years and whose partner suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and needs his care 24 hours a day.

So I have written to the Prime Minister, Deputy PM and Minister of Justice in New Zealand asking for a pardon for Peter Davy.   I hope that you too will write .

Peter admits to having cultivated cannabis for his own use and says he has studied extensively the breeding of rare strains of cannabis for specific medical conditions.

On February 5th, Peter pleaded guilty to cultivation of cannabis at Timaru court; this was his fifth conviction and the judge has told him he will be sent to prison.  Peter has also threatened to go on strike and not take his cancer medicines if he is sent to prison.

Of course, a prison sentence for a man that grows a plant, albeit contrary to law, for his own medicinal use and to ease the terrible suffering of his partner is unjust - surely there can be no doubt in that?

If Mr Davy has done no harm - in fact, if all he has done is break a law that enables him to do GOOD,  how can he justly be sent to prison.

In addition, not only will his own health suffer, but it could cost his partner's life"

It is surely the equivalent of a death sentence?

May I humbly request that Peter Davy be given a pardon.


Write to John Key Prime Minister

Write to Bill English, Deputy Prime Minister

Write to Simon Power, Minister of Justice

Write to The Press

The Alternative Home Office Drug Strategy Blog - WRITE HERE!

Since James Brokenshire MP and his colleague have decided to censor their Home Office Drugs Strategy Blog to disallow comments from those that do not agree with their strategy of prohibition and treatment, I've decided to give people a chance to write what they really want to say here.

As on the Government Blog itself, I request that you keep you language decent and in check and not to make abusive or libelous comments - however tempted you are!

The Home Office are keen to hear from people that support their feeble, illogical and constantly failing efforts to recognise the REAL CAUSES of problematic drug use and halt drug use.

This is the introduction to the Home Office Blog:

Welcome to the Drug Strategy blog!

Posted on March 7, 2011 12:01
As the Home Office Minister with responsibility for drugs and alcohol, I'm delighted to be launching this blog pilot and to invite your comments as key delivery partners.
The new strategy is aimed at supporting and enabling those dependent on drugs and alcohol to recover fully, reducing the demand for drugs and taking an uncompromising drive to crack down on those involved in the drugs trade.
It also addresses the issue of so-called "legal highs" through the development of temporary banning orders, improving the forensic analytical capability to detect new psychoactive substances and establishing an effective forensic early warning system.
As we shift power and accountability to local areas to tackle the damage that drugs and alcohol dependence cause our communities, we really want to hear from you, on your challenges and successes in achieving the ambitions of the strategy.
I know you'll be keen to be updated by us too, particularly on centrally led areas of strategy delivery as they begin to get underway.
For example, there has understandably been considerable interest in the Payment by Results (PbR) pilots for drugs recovery that are being led by the Department of Health. Sixteen local areas in England were short-listed as potential pilot sites, twelve of whom submitted full proposals last week. You can see the list of partnerships that have chosen to go to full proposal stage at the bottom of this page. Next month the successful pilot sites will start work with the PbR project team to begin co-designing the detail of the pilots, with the aim that they are up and running from October 2011.
I'm aware there is some concern being expressed about the process of setting up the PbR pilots, primarily a misconception that we are deliberately excluding providers from being considered as part of the pilots. This is not the case. Local partnerships hold the budgets and so must be in charge of creating their own offer to ensure it meets local needs. That is why we are working through these partnerships whilst recognising the absolute need to draw upon the expertise of providers, commissioners and others in the sector.
I know some of you are worried that local partnerships will not change their commissioning to support the new strategy's greater ambition for recovery. Let me make it clear, as we did in the strategy, that to build a recovery focussed system, local areas will need to jointly commission services that deliver "end to end" support. Close links will need to be built between community, in-patient and residential treatment and rehabilitation providers, who in turn will need to forge close links with aftercare services.
There are clear indications that some areas are already developing this approach, in order to deliver recovery outcomes. For example David Oliver, the Head of Drugs and Alcohol at the Home Office, visited Liverpool recently and saw a service which has refocused its efforts from a harm minimisation to a recovery approach.
I've asked David to take forward the blog over the next two weeks. Whilst he won't be able to acknowledge every comment personally, he will respond regularly on the main themes arising from your comments, so please do get involved.
Finally, you will remember that we sought the views of those involved in the drugs sector to support the development of the new drug strategy. A big thank you to those of you responded. The publication of the strategy established the framework to deliver our ambitions to restrict supply, reduce demand and build recovery. As we move forward into implementation, I hope that the blog will develop as a useful way to continue to engage with you. It will run initially for two weeks and then be evaluated to see if this is a helpful way to share views and ideas, successes and challenges.
I look forward to reading your comments.
James Brokenshire
 This is the recent hypocrisy

David Oliver - Head of Drugs and Alcohol Unit said...
March 8, 2011 14:40
There have been a number of posts along a similar theme, advocating liberalisation and decriminalisation as a way to deal with the problem of drugs and we have published a representative sample. I hope that those who have taken the time to comment understand the need to keep this blog focussed on its aim as a forum for key delivery partners to share ideas about the implementation of the drug strategy. This Government does not believe that liberalisation and legalisation are the answer and this blog is not intended to be a discussion forum around the drugs legal framework, on which this Government has already made its position clear.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


Surely after all these years of "fighting" drug addiction and problems, whether through law enforcement or treatment, somebody i Government has the common sense to realise that these tactics alone are not working.

So long as there are people willing (in fact eager) to make money out of the illegal drugs trade, the supply will remain out of control, with no accurate point-of-sale advice, no quality control, and no tax on profits.

The line of people willing to replace those small percentage of dealers and especially the people at the top - as soon as one is locked up supply and demand and profit motivation fills the gap.

Meanwhile those that fall prey to those dealers suffer through addiction, impurities and the cross-drug gateways (actually dealers and other users).  Often more than one drug may be just as easily available from the same supplier!

And all this costs the tax-payer BILLIONS of pounds each year, not to mention the amount of crime committed to raise funds to by dirty drugs on the street.

The SOLUTION - just like alcohol - take the supply out of the hands of criminals - put it into the hands of qualified doctors and pharmacists, for the class A drugs, and chemists and adult shops for others.  Introduce different systems of supply for different substances to adults.


STOP PUNISHING THE USERS - those that the law ought to protect as it does those that choose to drink alcohol.

That is the only way this battle against drug-caused harms will ever be one.

At it's time that the Governments of the UK and other countries woke up to this simple fact:  the prohibition causes more problems than the drugs themselves.

As for cannabis - I echo the words of the late Eddie Ellison, retired head of Scotland Yard's Drug Squad: "Cannabis ought never have been illegal in the first place."

The above was my comment left on the Home Office Drug Strategy Blog

I wonder if it will be published?

Monday, 7 March 2011

Heroin on NHS would save a fortune on crime

The cost to the NHS of the legal and medicinal supply of heroin to users would be a small fraction of the cost to society of the crimes committed to buy it illegally - and purity and strength can be assured along with clean needles and credible advice, which would reduce the risk of further damage to users health.

At a recent Lib Dem conference in Perth, Scotland, , delegates voted for the introduction of “diamorphine maintenance treatment” instead of fines or prison for heroin users, reports The Express.

This is not a new idea, but it makes sense.
In the early 1999's, Dr John Marks conducted authorised trials by supplying heroin to addicts in his area in Merseyside.  It was notable that several problems associated with heroin were eased.  For example, many addicts started taking employment or education;  associated crime fell; the rate of new addicts fell.  Yet, despite its success, the programme was stopped - and within a year many of his clients died, were sent to prison, or took up a life of crime again.

I always find it raises serious questions when Government trials prove such a success but are then stopped and the positive results ignored but nowadays, in the time that our Government both Conservative and Labour chose to ignore the advice of its own panels of experts such as the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) and upgrade the cannabis plant to a class B drug.  They have their own motives.

Problematic drug use and drug users ought to be treated as a health problem, not a legal one.  The prohibition of drugs merely drives the whole culture of drug use underground, straight into the hands of unscrupulous criminal dealers and gangs (even terrorists) that are, in truth, mostly beyond the reaches of the arm of the law, at least until something goes drastically wrong, which is so often does with the hard drugs.

The profit motivation, as is the profit itself, is massive, and so long as prohibition laws enable it, there is an endless cue of people willing to step in to replace the relatively small number of dealers that are caught..

Meanwhile, the vast majority of the "poorer" users and those addicted to hard drugs like heroin are so often forced to resort to crime to raise the funds for their next hit or bear the brunt of withdrawal.

Under the plan, addicts would be given diamorphine – the medical name for heroin – to cut down on deaths from tainted street drugs and deter them from turning to crime or prostitution to feed their habit.
Callum Leslie, the Holyrood candidate for Mid Fife and Glenrothes, said: “For drug offenders, fines and jail time simply don’t work. Controlled diamorphine treatment is a method that works where others fail.”
Last year, at least seven people died after a tainted batch of heroin landed on Scotland’s streets. However, the plan for NHS heroin prescriptions – the motion means that the Lib Dems as a party are now committed to campaigning for the idea – provoked a scathing response.

Conservative leader Annabel Goldie said: “I have never been convinced that state-funded heroin is the answer. There is already an over-reliance on another opiate, methadone, as a treatment. "

But Annabel seems to have ignored the cost to the community of crime committed to raise funds, and the cost to the health of the individual (even to loss of life) through dirty supplies and contaminated needles.   Methadone, however, brings problems of its own and many addicts say it is harder to withdraw from Methadone that it is from heroin.

I am not a supporter of the Lib Dem Party but at least this is one sensible policy they have adopted.  I hope they look at this and reflect on their apparent lack of interest in realising a few of their other policies in particular to take action to bring an immediate halt to victimless users caught in possession of or for cultivating the cannabis plant for their own use.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Poll: Should Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan be growing cannabis?

Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, deputy for Roscommon-South Leitrim, is already making his mark by saying that he illegally grows a cannabis plant for his own consumption. He told Fiona Hynes in The Star today that he grows his own so that he doesn’t support the violent drugs trade.

What do you think of Flanagan’s open admission? Should he be growing his own cannabis and smoking it?

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

UK Government Favours Drugs over Plants Remedies

It is now surely 100% obvious that there is something happening behind the public eye that makes this Government refuse to acknowledge the medicinal value of the cannabis plant - it is MONEY from the big Pharmaceutical companies that will make fortune out of their extracts whilst supporting the punishment of people that grow exactly the same type of plant that they use to make their blood-money.
In a letter received by an associate recently, (see page 1 and page 2) writen to his MP by James Brokenshire MP of the UK Home Office, he sates that despite Government's plans to re-schedule the cannabis-extract preparation called Sativex under the Misuse of Drugs Act Regulations 2001, which will make it medically available (at huge cost) in the UK, the Government stubbornly and ignorantly refuse to accept that the cannabis plant itself has medicinal value.

Mr Brokenshire wrote: "I should make it clear that the ACMD's advice on 'Sativex' and the future scheduling of this product do not effect, in any way, the scheduling of raw cannabis.  Cannabis is and will remain a schedule 1 drug under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, as we do not recognise that it has any medicinal value"
Where have our  MP's been?  The fact is, the cannabis plant has been used medicinally for thousands of years and in fact was available over the counter in the UK until 1971, when it was banned supposedly to try to halt the so-called "recreational use".

The Home Office ruling is nothing other than a bias towards big industry that have so much power over us as individuals.  For the price of one short course of Sativex many many therapeutic plants could be grown and supplied to the many many thousands of people that could benefit from it.

Shame on the UK Government!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The Law – is it always Just?

It’s often easy for people to see that repressive laws in other countries are in some way wrong. Maybe they contravene Rights, are bias or give preferential treatment one section of the community, or just don’t make sense – they are not in the public interest.

But what about here in the UK? Are of Governments, whatever the political party, somehow divinely inspired and never make mistakes? Or do we also have bad and unjust laws to?

And if we do have bad laws, how do we get them changed or repealed? What happens when our Government refuses to listen to protests, petitions, letters? What can we do to change the law?

In short, next to nothing! We can elect a different Government (or try to) and hope for the best. That’s all folks! But is that the end? Does that leave us at the mercy of the politicians and the lawyers? Not quite: read on.

The POWER of the JURY

A few years ago, (1998), I wrote to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, asking whether the jury had the right to judge the justice of the law itself, after reading of such powers in the US. The reply from the Court Service stated that although the jury cannot judge the law itself, it is up to them “to apply the law as they see fit”

So it is quite clear, that as member of a jury, whatever the judge or anyone else says, it is your duty and responsibility not simply whether to ascertain guilt or innocence through the evidence presented in the trial, but also to consider whether or not the law has been correctly applied.

If you think the defendant should not even have been taken to court, despite the evidence, then you can say NOT GUILTY!


So what sort of case are we talking about here?

One obvious case would be seen if you watched the trial of a man for breaking into a house when clearly his purpose and intention was to rescue people from a fire. Or if he broke into a car to save a life. The evidence of forced entry – a criminal offence – would be clear enough; the man may even have admitted everything. But should he be punished?

Another case would be if a police officer, forensic scientist, were prosecuted for possession of an illegal drug when clearly it was in the course of his duty. Or in fact, a teacher, parent or doorman who had confiscated the drug with the intention of handing it in.

In both cases it would be unjust to find them guilty and punish them, if not simply silly. Fortunately such prosecutions are rare – but what about individual cases? How should we decide whether the law has been correctly applied? One thing is for sure – neither judge, prosecution nor defence lawyers are likely to be of much help in the courtroom; after all, they earn their money by appearing there.


You may have heard of holidaymakers taking their medication abroad where it is illegal, and getting prosecuted? Is that RIGHT? Is that JUST? Even though the laws of that country are quite explicit and those laws were broken (ignorance is no excuse).

What about a person in this country who is using a banned (illegal) substance to relieve intense pain, having found no alternative? That is: out of dire necessity?

In the case of cannabis, a plant grown and used medically in the UK and around the globe for hundreds and thousands of years – a plant known to relieve suffering from many ailments yet it has never killed any and has no fatal overdose? What would you do, faced with intense pain? Break the law or suffer agony and humiliation?

The Government flies in the face of literally MILLIONS of people who testify to the medical properties of cannabis, also known as hemp and marijuana, by denying that it has any medical value at all, despite licensing research into extracts. Furthermore, the High Court in London has ruled that the defence of medical “necessity” whereby people could hope to escape conviction is not valid.


How can you, the JUROR, decide whether or not the law is being correctly applied in the case of possession, cultivation, or even supply, if it was for medical reasons?

Maybe a good starting point is to ask whether anyone has been helped, or hurt. Has there been any malice or threats, has there been any victims, has there been any property ruined or Rights infringed, has society been upset, has the safety and security of the country been put at risk?

It would be very hard to say yes to any of those questions in most cases where cannabis is being used as a medicine to alleviate symptoms, so why are the cases happening?

Surely the law is meant to protect the people, their houses and possessions, their rights, and the security and safety of the environment and the society we live in.

If the law is not doing that, why the court case?

As a member of a JURY (most of us will be at some time during our lives) you have the POWER to see JUSTICE prevail over unsound laws.
If you think the law has been MIS-APPLIED (and I am thinking specifically of medical cannabis possession or supply here when it prevents agony and suffering), it is UP TO YOU.

You can return the JUST verdict – NOT GUILTY. Nobody is allowed to pressurise you into doing otherwise.

THAT is certainly one way to halt the senseless prosecutions that cost sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds, do many-fold times more harm than good.