Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Cannabis and the law - the essential issue

The authorities and their backers want the only available cannabis to be on prescription and through the pharmacy such as the likes of Sativex and Bedocan - same as they want to get rid of herbal and homoeopathic medicines - they want us as their slaves whilst they continue to pollute and destroy and then want us to pay through the nose one way or another for the medicines.

"They" do not want us to even choose our own seeds or foods.

Sadly, in my opinion, far too many campaigners, activists and patients are falling into the trap of trying to differentiate between users and talk about "medical cannabis" which can only mean Sativex and Bedrocan (as opposed to "non-medical" cannabis / users) whilst saying all cannabis is medicine (different to calling it medical cannabis).

I fear that their campaign, if successful, would lead to more prescriptions - increased availability of the "medicines" - and do nothing about the RIGHTS of all people to choose their own lifestyle and beliefs, and right to a private life.

Such differentiation of types of cannabis / users is not only heading in the wrong direction, bordering on accepting a level of prohibition, limiting choices but reflects a misunderstanding of the law (it is about people not substances or reasons of use - it is about what the law sees as "Misuse"), it would also be contrary to human rights to treat people differently in law because of state of health.

The media talk about "skunk" as if "Satan" - again distracting from the real legal issue - people.

EVEN IF / JUST BECAUSE Jon Snow or a relatively small minority of users may be over-sensitive or react badly to a substance is NO REASON to ban it - no reason to punish users unless they have done harm.

For me the issue of cannabis and the law always has and still is mostly about NO VICTIM NO CRIME - all else is a distraction.

Stepping towards legalisation

The first step, for me, would be to convince the public, press and politicians and judges, of the INJUSTICE of punishing people for cultivation or possession for own use in their own homes if they had not put at risk or harmed others, their Rights or their property.

That is akin to something they may understand if it was mint instead of cannabis.

But that it is for own use, the invasion of private life and practice of personal beliefs is contrary to Human Rights law (whatever the activity is) UNLESS it is illegal AND (the important word) puts at risks or harms public health, public order, national security or the Rights of others.

In other words, unless those criteria are met, the bust itself is illegal.

To get that point across we need to show that whether the plant is mint or cannabis, the criteria is the same - the risk to others is the same = none.

The JUST APPLICATION of the law is essential.

So it's not even a case of whether it is legal to grow or illegal to grow - at home, in private and for own use - that is part of PRIVATE LIFE and chosen beliefs, lifestyles.

Beyond that we move to consumption in public, sharing and supply.

l argue that for those unable to grow their own, there will be  a market, either legal or illegal.

It seems obvious to me that a contained system of outlets that are licensed to protect consumer rights and health and safety with tax on profits is preferable than a free-for-all on the street where there are no age restrictions, no guarantee of quality or purity, no accurate indication of strength and possible associated with crime and other drugs.

Economically the benefit is a massive drop in cost of policing and courts, freeing up billions annually plus the VAT and tax on commercial profits

Leave the Government to start adding its own tax and no need to push for it.

In the ideal, cannabis should be available free of charge to all in need through their doctor's prescriptions - it's just a plant and its use would save the NHS many billions.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Cannabis for Medical Use - Where to Draw the Line?

Well there seems to be some confusion here:  the heading says "legalise medical cannabis" but of course "medical cannabis" (Sativex, a whole plant extract: cannabis in alcohol) is already legal to supply here in the UK, under prescription especially In Wales.

More correctly, Pippa Bartolotti says "Cannabis should be legalised for medical use" which is agood statement but suggests that somebody somewhere will have to draw a line between when it is medical use and when it is  non-medical use and presumably Pippa is not talking about how that is going to be defined in law and what would be done with those that choose "non-medical" use, whatever that is.

Would we end up with a a section of ill and injued people being allowed to grow, buy and possess - and another lot of victimless people being prosecuted for the same activities?

 NO Victim NO CRIME, Justtice for Cannabis Justice for Cannabis Users, Equal Rights for all.

But at least Pippa has the bottle to speak up.

Election 2015: Pippa Bartolotti's call to legalise medical cannabis
Cannabis should be legalised for medical use, according to Wales Green Party leader Pippa Bartolotti.
Ms Bartolotti will make the case for a change in approach in a speech at Cardiff University on Thursday night.
Legalising cannabis has been Green Party policy for some time.
Ms Bartolotti said: "No one has yet died from using cannabis, in fact the health benefits of cannabis in the treatment of epilepsy and cancer are already well documented."
She added: "Commercial organisations in the UK are already allowed to patent and sell cannabis extracts, whilst the population as a whole is criminalised for using it - even if it saves their life. This simply has to be changed."
Ms Bartolotti said cannabis is wrongly labelled as a gateway drug to harder substances like cocaine and heroin and it is the criminalisation of it which is the gateway.

Monday, 6 April 2015

When is skunk not skunk - the cannabis scare

Reefer madness has once again raised its ugly head in the UK.   Following a study on a limited number of mental health patients,it has been announced that 25% of them took strong varieties of cannabis.   That is 25% of those diagnosed with problems, itself a small percentage of people.

Of course there is no data on people with such problems that found help using cannabis and never had to go to a doctor or psychiatrist in the first place!

So the gutter press pick up on the report and in their usual way misrepresent the data to suggest that strong cannabis poses a significant risk to the general population, a greater risk than would weaker strains.

They also choose to perpetuate the "skunk" myth.

I don't know anyone that smokes skunk, it's just a particular strain isn't it?

Calling all strong varieties of cannabis "skunk" is like calling all vacuum cleaners "hoovers" or calling all ball-point pens "bics" - some may know what we mean but it is the sort of inaccuracy that experts and journalists ought to avoid

If supply was legalised, people would have choice and buy the strains most suitable to them, just as those that drink have choice of flavour, alcoholic content and brands. In the last ten years or so, in the UK and elsewhere, many growers have chosen big-return and powerful crops, the likes of Cheese, that contain high levels of THC but low CBD ratio. This seems not to suit some users that enjoy and benefit from varieties with a higher CBD ratio. Most buyers then do not have a choice and may buy "bud" not even knowing what it is at all - it smells, they call it skunk. 

That is no excuse whatsoever for those conducting studies and writing reports to make the same mistake - they are supposed to know better - was it really skunk those poor people smoked? I doubt it, even if they called it skunk.

On the other Colorado shops or Californian clinics, cannabis social clubs and cannabis clubs, Dutch coffeeshops - there is choice and there seems fewer claims of incidences of psychosis associated with cannabis - if they don't like it they buy something else.

And because the whole supply chain in the UK is illegal, there is no quality control, advice on THC: CBD ratio, no tax derived from profits and no lower age restrictions.

If indeed there is such a bad influence on mental health, albeit for a tiny percentage of the population, it is indeed a reason to legalise.

Glasgow bureaucrats trying to stop freedom of speech in case it promotes cannabis!

Glasgow bureaucrats trying to stop freedom of speech in case it promotes cannabis!

I guess the council would not object if it was a pro-tobacco campaign and people were smoking that plant openly, despite the fact that tobacco is untold more dangerous than cannabis and kills hundreds of thousands a year - so it must be down to law - bad law - which is what the protest is about, the very hypocrisy - that and information that could be given out that cannabis plant provides massive (and even life-saving) benefit to hundreds of thousands of people in the UK - shame on you ALL that supports the punishment of victimless people for possession or cultivation of a plant in their own homes and for their own use.

The arguments for repeal of change in law or how it is presently applied is essentially supported by several political parties standing candidates in the forthcoming elections in Scotland - CISTA (Cannabis If Safer Than Alcohol), the Scottish Green Party and the LIb Dems and, I think, the SNP - so is the council going to try to stop them broadcasting their calls for legal change too - are they going to stop them proclaiming the benefits of cannabis and the hypocrisy of the law?

It seems to me that since no offence has been committed until the time somebody lights a joint and then it is the duty of the police to react, this ban must be purely political in nature and not based upon law at all.

The laughable thing is the fact that cannabis is smoked in the park almost daily and police do nothing.  The sad thing will be the cost of policing the event as it will undoubtedly go ahead anyway - protests tend to ignore nonsense like this from politicians and civil servants.

Edinburgh Times, April 6 2015

George Square cannabis 'celebration' blocked by council

PLANS to stage a "cannabis celebration" in Glasgow's George Square have been blocked by the council.

The annual '420 event' sees campaigners come together in a public place on April 20 to call for the legalisation of the Class B drug.
Last year Glasgow Cannabis Social Club held a gathering of 150 people at Glasgow Green despite the council denying the group permission.
Five people were reported to the procurator fiscal for flouting the law by lighting up in full view of police. The maximum penalty for possession of cannabis is five years' imprisonment.
Organisers of this year's event have set up a page on Facebook and more than 3000 have already agreed to descend on George Square.
Among the speakers will be a former Strathclyde police officer who campaigns for the legalisation of drugs.
However, The Evening Times has learned that Glasgow Cannabis Social Club has not been given the green light to use George Square.
A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: "They applied for permission and we refused. We told the applicant we were refusing permission because the event appeared to encourage the use of cannabis and it was felt that this would not be appropriate."
If the event goes ahead a range of drug paraphernalia, such as pipes, bongs and rolling papers, will be available to buy in George Square.
Speakers are expected to promote the so-called health benefits of the plant as well as encouraging people to "grow their own".
Among those taking to the stage will be retired Glasgow police officer Jim Duffy, a former chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, who now speaks for pressure group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).
However, the planned event has been criticised by Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont who said: "Festivals openly promoting and championing illegal behaviour cannot be tolerated, particularly in one of Glasgow's focal points.
"Last year, people were openly smoking cannabis on Glasgow Green, and it seemed the police were powerless to do anything about it.
"That cannot be allowed to happen this time round."
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: "We are aware of the potential for events and gatherings related to cannabis on April 20. If events are to take place they will be policed appropriately."
Glasgow Cannabis Social Club declined to comment.