Wednesday, 22 January 2014


Reiterating "The Challenge"

The main reason that the UK Government has given as a basis for its refusal to consider repeal of the cannabis law is that it would pose an extra risk to public health, with particular reference to the possible detrimental effects of cannabis smoking on the mental health and future mental health of young teenagers - the words psychosis and schizophrenia are bandied around as if it were a common place occurance. 

So adults cannabis users that have and pose to problems to others are punished as some sort of deterrent meant to discourage teenagers from smoing cannabis.

EVEN IF cannabis did cause schizophrenia it is obviously in such a tiny minority of users that is is still in dispute, and things are not banned which means people are not generally punished for things that detrimentally effect others.

Alcohol, tobacco, aspirin, pills, sugar, peanuts and even rock climbing and sunbathing can effect a minority is bad ways, sometimes even fatal - marriage can and does have bad consequences on the many - let alone guns and knives - but the law does not threaten to punish all those that participate in the activity or possess or consume the substance or item EVEN then.

No Victim No Crime.

To punish a cannabis user - especially one that benefits from their use - as a deterent to try to stop and unknown and tiny minority of users that may or may not have suffered ille effects is simply nonsensicalThe argument that it leads to hard drugs, again for a minority of users that later tried hard drugs - is no reason even so to punish those that did or those that did not take hard drugs - makes as much sense as punishing kids with toy guns or water pistols because most offences involving real guns are committee by peopele that started off with toy guns.In fact there is no reason not to end prohibtion and the Government refuses to budge because they "fear" the consequences, losing votes, and loss of revenue from the massive profiteering that prohibition enables for pharmaceutical and petrochemicals etc.


We believe that the prohibition of cannabis, presently embodied in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and associated legislation has:
  • proved ineffective in the achievement of its objects, 
  • been counter productive in its side-effects, 
  • wasted public resources, 
  • been destructive in its cultivation of criminality and been inhumane in its operation.

A legal regulated control of cannabis, would:
  • reduce drug-acquisition crime, 
  • facilitate the education both of the young and of adult users, 
  • reduce the incidence of problematic drug use, 
  • facilitate the deployment of therapeutic support, 
  • release public and Police Service resources for other deployment, 
  • constitute a system compatible with the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,
  • and generate a new and acceptable source of public income.

We are concerned by the failure of our current democratic institutions and public authorities (as defined by the Human Rights Act) to address these issues.

To date, in a debate that asks whether cannabis use ought to be decriminalised or legalised, those who support current policies need not utter a single word in its defence. They can simply sit back and wait for their opponents to make predictions, and then challenge the accuracy of those predictions.


We believe this debate cannot proceed sensibly unless it begins with reasons in favour of punishing people who use cannabis.


This document is designed to assist you in you deliberations.

To ensure constructive consultation we invite you to reproduce this document [unedited] and/or forward the URL to anyone who you think needs to know the truth.

Know What You're Getting Into Before Speaking Against Legal Regulated Control


Agree? Disagree?

If we were to ask: "What is the Government's 10-year Drugs Strategy on cannabis controls?" we doubt that 1 in 10,000 of the general public would have the foggiest notion what we were on about!
To increase the public understanding of the cannabis and the controversy surrounding it,we invite you to participate in a open and honest dialogue regarding the future of UK cannabis control policies in which fear, prejudice and punitive prohibition yield to common sense, science, public health, human rights and practicality.

In the past decade there appears to have been a change in opinion about the harmfulness of cannabis.

There has also been a limited debate on allowing personal use of cannabis such as under 'reclassification', 'decriminalisation" and a legal regulated supply. However, it has not been as clear as what would be desirable or what the Government's intentions are.

Laws to combat drugs are like a jigsaw puzzle with the linking pieces missing, being regularly added by the Home Office with little or no parliamentary debate, let alone public discussion.

The public are forced to guess or rely on chat show hosts and media hype to form opinions as to what the legislator has in mind when they resort to punishment for cannabis offences. This has resulted in the general public becoming confused and insufficiently informed.

This is not surprising. Consecutive governments' "War on Drugs" has evolved into a complex and complicated system, misunderstood by most people, including many of those responsible for implementing Government Anti-Drugs policy!

Since the mid 1980s, consecutive UK governments have increased funding and actions to tackle illegal substances on five main fronts: international co-operation, enforcement, deterrence, prevention and treatment.

Estimated UK government funding in these areas for 1993-94 was 526 million. Today this figure is allegedly billions annually but there are no comprehensive figures available! [Tackling Drugs Together October 1994 ISBN O-10-126782-7]

Despite these increasing efforts, there can be little doubt that cannabis suppliers have succeeded in maintaining the supply to satisfy the ever-increasing demand. In fact, it is hard to see how they could have been more successful had cannabis not been banned!

It therefore makes sense to examine the successes and failures of past and present systems of control, to set out the available choices, to examine how they would work if applied in the UK and try to predict their likely consequences!

Is it worth doing? We think it is!

This consultation is for everyone with an interest in our drug policy, [including those who favour retaining criminal sanctions punishments]. We are confident it will:
  • help remove many of the misconceptions about cannabis and the law, 
  • demonstrate that cannabis is so much more than a recreational substance, 
  • show that many long-term social, ecological and economical benefits can be gained by rescheduling cannabis.
We ask you to accept that the current international conventions embodied in The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and consequential legislation no longer constitutes an appropriate form of social regulation, consistent with the UK's Human Rights commitments!

Why is it our legislators have absolutely nothing to say on behalf of the position they endorse? Instead, the public are forced to guess or rely on chat show hosts and media hype to form their opinions as to what the legislator has in mind when they resort to punishment for cannabis offences.

This is not good enough: The burden to produce justification must be placed on government!

However. Despite David Blunkett's request for a rational debate on allowing personal use of cannabis including proposals for reclassification, decriminalisation and a legal regulated supply it has not been as clear what the Government's or the Opposition party?s policies are on cannabis.

The Conservative Party has branded the Home Affairs Select Committee's recommendation to reclassify cannabis and governments proposed liberalisation of disposal of cannabis possession offences to finance the war on addictive substances as "muddled and dangerous policy".

Instead, they back Sweden?s strategy where the public report suspected drug users and a huge expansion of drug rehabilitation facilities and prisons to lock the non-conformist up - an approach described recently by David Blunkett as "unworkable".

George Orwell said: "Political language is designed to make a lie appear the truth and give solidity to wind"!
Today it would appear government is embarked on the dangerous USA coercive abstinence strategy, based on the belief that we can put enough people in prison to effectively control the drug problem. In other words, we will make the drug users get treatment or go to jail and put all the drug dealers or cannabis cultivators in jail.

Let's suppose we agree with this. Now, exactly how many prison cells will we need to build to carry out this plan? How many prisoners is the current plan going to take?

What is the total cost to date for drug testing alone? Is government minded to introduce universal drug testing?

What about human rights? How many people will lose a job or not get one, or have driving licences pulled because they use cannabis? How many children will be expelled from schools for testing positive for cannabis? In short, are we talking ourselves into a 'controlled' society?

If society is to achieve any success in its drug control and awareness programmes, we need to be truthful, use correct terminology and study the evidence and research already available.

We must examine: the failures and successes of present and past control regimes, how the implementation of law conflict with Human Rights, harm reduction, good practice, the need to create a just and workable legislation that reduces harm from cannabis without infringing upon personal privacy and the rights to choose one's own lifestyle or belief, legislation aimed at protection not punishment, our own understanding and attitudes towards drugs use, misuse and abuse.

Note: The overwhelming majority of those who use cannabis are not 'problem users' and normal use ought not be labelled as misuse.

We must ask:  would it be preferable to have a legal system of cannabis retail outlets incorporating all necessary quality control and harm reduction provisions, rather than a criminal justice issue? What is the value, reliability, cost and the need for universal testing? Whether we have good reasons to continue to punish people who use cannabis or grow a few plants for their own use or share with friends at home (non-commercial)?

The point is: Punishment is the most powerful weapon in the CJS arsenal. It is the most terrible thing that any state can do to its citizens. These sanctions should not be invoked casually; they always require a compelling defence.

Any sort to punishment requires a justification. We must always be prepared to show why what we are doing is right. For no individual should be deprived of their liberty unless there are excellent reasons for doing so!

The basic question we ask is not whether we have good reasons not to punish cannabis users but whether we have good reasons to continue to punish people who use cannabis or grow a few plants for their own use or share with friends at home.

Are the laws just? Are they fair?

NOTE: "The Challenge": "Cannabis, Challeging the Criminal Justice System" was authored by Don Barnard and Alun Buffry


In discussing and advocating the repeal of cannabis laws we must go beyond the issues of possession or cultivation for own use: there is clearly no justification for any authority to interfere with Private Life activities that pose no threat to public order, health or the Rights of others.However, when it comes to supply, I think it essential that any future control of cannabis should be based upon consumer protection and taxation (only on profits, to my mind).

Whether the cannabis is gifted or sold, the receiver deserves the protection of law just as everybody does with other goods.So what are the alternative systems of supply that would best suit the customers without putting unnecessary burdens on commercial cultivation or supply.

Presumably there would be a system of license or registrations allowing conditions to be put on businesses to ensure hygiene, freedom from, accuracy of weights, maybe even labelling requirements. There would need to be avenues of recompense for breaches.

“Grow-your-own!” has become a mantra for many within the cannabis law repeal fraternity and “Cannabis Social Clubs” (CSC's)

 ( have been proposed as an extension of that.

A CSC is a non-profit making collective of people that grow communally for their own needs; they are transparent to authority with accounts and details of membership and production and distribution.

Many CSC's now operate in Spain and more are starting up in Belgium, France and Italy. Many are already growing cannabis and distributing to members.

In the UK, many CSC's are newly formed groups of users and campaigners in various counties, cities or towns across the country and it is possible that eventually they may lead to organised growing similar to the Spanish model. Of course that would be no problem after legalisation.

Previous to prohibition though, there were no CSC's. People either grew there own or picked it wild.

Countries such as India had Government shops that sold hashish, and New York once had hashish bars.

Since prohibition and until recently, there has been no country in the world that allows the legal sale of cannabis – even in the Netherlands with all their policy of tolerance for “Coffeeshops”, they have no legal supply routes into the premises. It's a sort of half-way-house (grey area) where adults can go to buy and sometimes smoke small amounts of cannabis but the only control on quality is through reputation. Most are great places to visit and I would love to see them in every city, enabling people to buy and smoke cannabis when away from home, or even in their own towns. It is estimated that 30 to 40% of Dutch smokers buy from Coffeeshops, the rest grow their own or buy from house dealers – there is also some punting of cannabis to tourists on the streets – something likely to increases if the Dutch Government implement their backward-planning for restrictions against tourists and the citing of venues.

Cannabis, grown and irradiated by the Dutch pharmaceutical company under the name Bedrocan, has been available on prescription in The Netherlands and Italy and sold through pharmacies. It is granulated bud. Unfortunately, it is more expensive than the Coffeeshops, and although residents of countries that prescribe Bedrocan can travel freely with it throughout the UK, it remains an offence for residents of the UK to go and buy it and bring it back – the UK Government are still in the stone age when it comes to recognising the true medicinal values of cannabis.

So in the UK the supply of all natural cannabis remains in the hands of “criminals”, whether simply profiteers or people trying to help the sick and injured.

Now, in 2014, changes are afoot in some countries.

In Uruguay the Government has attempted to take control of cannabis and stop the illegal dealing by allowing people to grow a few plants of their own, and otherwise the Government will grow and supply the plant themselves. That said, they still have to work out which strains to grow, packaging and pricing, and how to stop resale.In California and other States in the US, cannabis has been supplied through “clinics” requiring a doctor's prescription for a number of years: unlike

The Netherlands however, prescriptions are much easier to get and the cannabis is not radiated – hash, cookies, foodstuffs and other cannabis products are often sold through the same clinics.. Under federal law, however, it all remains illegal and it remains to be seen what Obama will ultimately do about it – get heavy-handed or turn a blind eye?

After a powerful vote last year, Colorado and has gone one step further in defiance of federal law has allowed cannabis shops to open up and sell the plant in its many forms without the Californian pretence of medicinal prescription for almost anyone – the supply is legal, consumers are protected as are all consumers, profits taxed.  Adults over 21 can buy for “recreational use” and thousands of people in medical need are also heading that way – the revenue raised is already impressive, within days.

Cannabis is subject to the same regulations as all products to which the public is exposed. guess the Colorado legalisation could be called a free-for-all within the law, without the criteria of non-profit making of the Spanish CFC model, beyond the policy of the front room tolerance but back door crime of the Dutch Coffeeshops, side-stepping the question of purpose of use, protecting the consumer, taxing the profits --- it seems just the sort of system many campaigners said we could never have.

We may have to wait a while now to see how it develops in California, Colorado, Uruguay and the Netherlands, and then we need to convince our own Government that such systems are better for everyone except the criminals – just wait and see how they react when we learn just how much revenue is raise through tax on profits and how much is saved on policing! Many people think that in these times of supposed fiscal crisis, money will be the key to change, rather than Rights or health issues – after all, Government raises huge sums from selling cigarettes and alcoholic drinks, why not weed?

Ask which system of distribution I prefer from the above: simple: any and all of them.I would like to see private cultivation, group cultivation,medicinal supply, Coffeeshops for supply and toking and clinics or shops for supply = such systems are not mutually exclusive.