It's been quite some time since I read the sort of nonsense written here by H Woods. For starters he suggests that cannabis, a plant, should be classed alongside dangerous drugs such as heroin (and presumably he feels the same way as that highly dangerous and often addictive drug, alcohol, let alone the killer, tobacco).
It sounds a little like mixing sweets with tablets - many people may be tempted after taking a sweet to try a tablet if they are all in the same bag. Likewise, if cannabis was classed in law as of equal danger to heroin and cocaine, surely when person tries cannabis, which is easily found on almost any main street in the UK, discovering that it actually eases stress and pain, has the feel-good-factor, and for the very vast number of people has no bad effects, why not try another drug if they are all equally dangerous.
Woods says he has met cannabis users. Well, I am now 65 and have used cannabis off-and-on most of my adult life, and I have had no problems. I have met literally thousands of cannabis smokers in about 30 countries that I have travelled in and apart from the fact that some may be eccentric, they were all decent people. Of course dealers have led some from one illegal "drug" to another but that is no reason per se to punish either those that have taken other drugs or those that have not, unless of course they have harmed others. It would be like punishing all people that like a drink because of those that became alcoholics or became violent or abusive (something one does not see amongst cannabis users).
Woods goes on to label the millions of people in the UK that do take illegal drugs as in a stupor, and those that supply as "evil". Woods fails to recognise the damage caused by many over-the-counter medications such as aspirin that kills hundreds annually, or the medications dished out by doctors, many pills with serious side-effects (read the warnings on the packets - side-effects ranging from impotence to loss of appetite, inability to coordinate, sleeplessness, depression and even suicide). It is undeniable that many pills need to be taken with other pills to try to counteract those terrible and terrifying side-effects.
So what to do with those (whether in white coats or not) that supply those harmful and killer drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco, as well as pills?
Woods also denies the testimonies not just of people in the UK that claim to find relief to terrible illnesses and find that relief through consumption of the cannabis plant, albeit illegal, being forced to risk prison by growing their own or buying from illegal suppliers: people with MS, epilepsy, arthritis, damage from accidents or just plain stress; more recently those dying from cancers.
Woods fails to take into account that here in the UK, Sativex (which is simply cannabis dissolved in alcohol in an expensive oral spray form) is prescribed by doctors and supplied by pharmacies (it is exactly the same as can be made at home for own use by people that grow their own yet can be sent to prison). Fails to recognise that herbal cannabis is prescribed in countries such as Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy ... and more .. as a pharmaceutical plant-product called Bedrocan.
Woods ignores the dozens of reports from around the world that state cannabis has medicinal value and is comparatively safe ("remarkably safe" in the words of Harvard University Professor Grinspoon; safer than most common foods in the words of DEA Judge Francis Young).
Woods fails to recognise that the UK's own Government-appointed study group, the ACMD, has stated over the years that cannabis should NOT be classed alongside heroin or even class B drugs as it now is.
But most of all Woods has blundered by attempting to promote prohibition policy which has quite clearly not just failed but caused more damage to people's lives than the drugs themselves - even the United Nations Drugs team says that.
Plymouth Herald, 22October 2015