Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

The Drugs Debate

with 20 comments

It won’t go away will it?  It seems like at least once a month now some new high profile figure comes out against prohibition.  The latest, Sir Ian Gilmore, outgoing president of the Royal College of Physicians, is hot on the heels of  Nicholas Green QC, chairman of the Bar Council in July and three eminent co-authors in The Lancet in May.  The National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee have also criticised government for failing to implement an evidence-based drugs policy and instead giving more weight to opinion.

Meanwhile the Humpty Dumpties at the Home Office keep on building their big walls, refusing to listen, refusing to think, refusing to care.  Their response is no, no, no, out of the question, no and no again.  In fact, I don’t think the ministers even think about it at all.   They just replay the same old no, no and no again as written by some civil servant, probably in the days of the golf ball typewriter.  Remember those?

It won’t go away though.  I first submitted a report to the Home Affairs Committee on the cannabis laws in 1978.  It was called “An Unaffordable Prejudice”.  I’ve been giving them the facts and the evidence ever since and so have hundreds of other individuals and organisations.  I’m in direct correspondence with the Home Office at the moment.  I’ve received one three page response and replied with four.  That’s how long it takes to get a dialogue going with our “responsive” government.   I started in May, immediately after my new MP was elected, and it takes a good three months to get anywhere – or perhaps I mean nowhere.  Still, I expect it was worse in the USSR.

It won’t go away.   Aside from the Home Office the only people in favour of our current drugs policy are the drug dealers and the Taliban.  They certainly don’t want things to change.

The Home Office can’t even get its story straight.  Today its latest pearls are: “Drugs such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis are extremely harmful and can cause misery to communities across the country.”  This is nothing short of crass stupidity and irresponsible misinformation.  Lumping in cannabis with heroin and cocaine is simply ridiculous.  Describing cannabis as “extremely harmful” is in direct contradiction to every one of the Home Office’s own scientific experts.  These are the people who are supposed to be protecting our children, the vulnerable and the uneducated.   They should be ashamed of themselves.

When Proposition 19 passes on 2nd November (see here), the world will sit up and take notice.   Even Humpty Dumpty will have to engage his brain then because when 37 million Californians get the right to enjoy God’s herb without interference, well it ain’t gonna stop there.  If for no other reason than that our avaricious politicians will soon put aside their “principles” when they realise the oodles of cash and brownie points they’re missing out on.  California reckons it will create up to 110,000 new jobs, £1.4 billion in new tax revenue and a saving of $200 million in law enforcement costs.  When Humpty Dumpty takes off his blindfold of prejudice, ignorance and propaganda he’ll soon be gagging for the cash.

There are a million quotes from world leaders, politicians, doctors, scientists and “experts” of all sorts stating how ridiculous and self-defeating current drugs policy is.    It never seems to make any difference though.  David Cameron and Nick Clegg have both called for change many times but once they get into power what happens?  However, just to get right up the nose of Humpty Dumpty (that’s right, snort it up there), here’s what one very, very senior civil servant said just two years ago:

“I think what was truly depressing about my time in UKADCU was that the overwhelming majority of professionals I met, including those from the police, the health service, the government and voluntary sectors held the same view: the illegality of drugs causes far more problems for society and the individual than it solves. Yet publicly, all those intelligent, knowledgeable people were forced to repeat the nonsensical mantra that the government would be ‘tough on drugs’, even though they all knew the government’s policy was actually causing harm.”

Julian Critchley, Director, Cabinet Office UK Anti-Drug Coordination Unit. 13-08-08

It won’t go away.  Just Say No has become Just Say Now and the slimy dissembling oiks who insist on running our lives (and ruining many) will soon be in retreat.  It won’t go away.

20 Responses

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  1. If there is one thing that is really starting to grate now is that the same old thing is being reiterated back to us (as you’ve said Peter) the mantra is now so dusty that it is becoming embarrassing. It is also interesting that the argument has not progressed past “drugs are bad mmmkay?” Not forgetting, “think of the children”.

    There is a real sense of people power now, more and more people are getting it. Prohibition doesn’t just effect the UK, our bad laws and habits are directly hindering the plight for survival in many other countries, most notably, Afghanistan.

    If the government really wished to gain respect, they would engage and listen, but instead they opt for same old same old. I fear for the peace of the country if they persist in this manner.

    As you mentioned in your piece Peter, I too am currently in dialogue, but mine is with the department of health, the letter is beyond insulting and one in which I am to address in the next few days. We simply are not treated with respect in this country, the patronising tone can be read from space in the letter I received.

    Jason (HomeGrown Outlaw)

    August 17, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    • The drugs issue is gaining huge momentum. Government policy looks increasingly ridiculous. More and more people are, as you say, “getting it”. Prohibition just doesn’t work. Cowardly politicans have failed to grasp this nettle for years. I do believe change is coming but it always takes longer than we expect.

      I think medicinal cannabis is a door waiting to be pushed open as soon as the arguments are properly presented. It is the thin end of the wedge that we need to drive home until liberty is restored and common sense prevails.

      With the recent approval of Sativex, why can’t we have a medicinal cannabis policy like America, Holland, Italy, Spain, Gemany, Israel and many others? In these countries patients can get pharmaceutical grade cannabis for one-eighth the cost of Sativex.

      The coalition government has promised to repeal “illiberal, intrusive and unnecessary” laws. There can be no better example of this than the laws against personal use and cultivation of cannabis, particularly for medicinal reasons.

      Peter Reynolds

      August 18, 2010 at 10:49 am

  2. Do we all turn into hop-heads if drugs are legalised? The Chinese used them as currency back in the Opium Wars. We needs protecting? We never have any sensible debate and yet have loads of people pretending to be knowledgeable and sensible. I don’t know what we should do, but this has to be better than pretending to know in almost total ignorance.
    Our political system fails almost entirely now and no one is interested in listening and acting in evidence. I suspect a leadership psychology that lacks grace and an understanding leaders are not very special.

    On drugs we need to understand the money and who really takes the profits. I believe benefits fund a lot of the distribution work, but am left wondering where the bigger flows are and what they feed into.


    August 17, 2010 at 11:51 pm

  3. The example of prohibition in the US during the 1920’s is often cited as a reason why prohibition doesn’t work. Yet today’s politicians continue to ignore this lesson from history. Why? Is it because they stand to gain from criminal enterprises? I find their opposition to the liberalisation of the current drug laws baffling in the extreme. Surely the legalisation of drugs will lead to more money for the Exchequer via excise duty and will ensure quality for those who use drugs.


    August 18, 2010 at 9:07 am

  4. Part of the problem, as you point out, is that there is no debate. Whenever a high profile figure comes out for relaxing drugs laws the debate is immediately shut down. The government, of whatever party, just says “No, no, no.”

    There is an assumption by politicians that any debate, let alone relaxation of the rules, will lose them votes. But they don’t even know what public opinion is on the issue.

    I don’t know of any polls or surveys that indicate the public’s view on the matter. My suspicion is that the majority of the public would like to see things changed, but, as I said, I don’t think there is any data that supports either this or the opposing view.

    Martin Budden

    August 18, 2010 at 7:08 pm

  5. I came over here to read what you had to say about drugs – anticipating the start of a ‘robust’ debate – and bugger me (not literally, please), I agree with all you say !


    August 18, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    • Well how thoroughly boring!

      Mind you there seems to be an awful lot of buggery going on at The Mad Hatters tea party. Can’t say I approve of that. Particularly not after I watched “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” last night. Now there’s revenge for you boyo!

      I’ll stick to the deep throat seeing as all the girls at your party seem to be up for it – or down on it, or whatever the correct expression is.

      Peter Reynolds

      August 18, 2010 at 7:51 pm

  6. I also agree, good work peter. People need to wake up and listen to those who do not want to be criminals but like to smoke cannabis.


    August 21, 2010 at 4:21 pm

  7. Hi Peter,

    great website. Not usually a one for reading blogs however you appear to be a voice of reason so I will keep my eyes on your work.

    I fear that whatever the evidence, our beloved leaders will continue to make criminals of us all. We hear talk of change and all dream of the same yet, dreams I fear are all we have. The argument is clear and simple but I think that even with the consultation paper there is likely to be little movement. I hope that as so often in the past I am wrong. Wouldn’t it make millions of people that much safer.


    August 23, 2010 at 3:22 pm

  8. Hey Peter, I’ve just found an article I read recently which is worth a read, about a study:

    Just more reasons that cannabis should be legalized!

    Nuff Said.


    August 23, 2010 at 8:40 pm

  9. ‎”Meanwhile the Humpty Dumpties at the Home Office keep on building their big walls, refusing to listen, refusing to think, refusing to care. Their response is no, no, no, out of the question, no and no again”.

    CAMPAIGN is the single answer – every town in the UK. An army of people making a LOT OF NOISE. The UK gov have well proved that they are not going to give us our civil rights on a plate.

    Since 1969, the recommendations of the Wootton Report have been ignored by successive UK governments. Various groups have come and gone and the ones that remain render themselves ineffective by misunderstanding what the campaign is about. Such groups are typically (though not exclusively) organised by left-wing people who allow “anything goes.”

    It’s time to take cannabis out of the left-wing perception. It’s time to get rid of the ideology. It’s time to pro-legislate cannabis.

    Many mainstream people (non-cannabis users) agree that the cannabis laws could and/or should change. What puts them off the Campaign is that after a couple of decent statements, campaigners tend to go into a diatribe of cannabis ideology: Druidry, tobacco-free joints, whatever. For many people, it is at these points when the blinds come down. People don’t necessarily want to be a part of an ideological agenda that sits hand-in-hand with pro-legislation.

    We need people of vision and clarity to work in the campaign to pro-legislate cannabis. People who can clearly see a single-focus issue and who will not allow themselves to be sidetracked into the Black Hole of Class A, B, C or to allow the debate to degenerate into cannabis advocacy and/or cannabis ideology.

    THE CAMPAIGN ANSWER TO CANNABIS PROHIBITION IS SIMPLE: REMOVE CANNABIS FROM THE MoDA 1971 AND TAX & REGULATE FOR ADULT CONSUMPTION. If you are a campaigner for cannabis pro-legislation, please don’t allow anyone to sidetrack you from this one single important issue. Hard drugs and the rest are for the UK gov to go figure – we are the cannabis community and campaign ONLY for the pro-legislation of cannabis.

    I believe it is because of this lack of focus towards pro-legislation, on the part of campaigners, that an ineffective campaign has been run, over the past 40 some years. INEFFECTIVE CAMPAIGN = CONTINUED PROHIBITION.

    I read this on a campaign group’s web page last night:

    “That’s why I said unless something significant is done soon someone else will do it and you’ll be left behind!”

    My response to this comment is simple and to the point:

    I don’t care who, or which group, or whatever gets this cannabis pro-legislation onto the law books in the UK. I have no personal ambition whatsoever and try to keep a low profile and work hard.


    Jayelle Farmer
    Pro-Legislate Cannabis UK

    Jayelle Farmer

    August 26, 2010 at 12:57 am

  10. Hi Peter,

    Medical user here, I get Sativex on script from my Kensington GP. Yes, I’m lucky, but it isn’t the whole answer. It suits a particular time of day (bedtime), and leaves a foul taste for a long time.

    I have found several different types of cannabis suit different times of day, and recommend ‘Yummy’ and ‘Kalimist’ for daytime pain relief, and relief from the anxiety that the pain causes. Vaporisation is the best delivery method I have come across, of the dried herb, with no other extraction method needed.

    These are not new revelations, I know, but I feel sorry for the people having to go to Holland for prescription, and wish the best in these battles with the law.

    I have wondered if the way through the regulations is if medical users were to apply to the Home Office for a licence to grow. At the moment, I understand that GW pharmaceuticals has the only licence. What do you think about this angle, and is it worth pursuit? I have experience of winning in the Court of Appeal ( a grotesque family court decision needed overturning), and did this without benefit of a barrister.

    I believe that the law will only change if it is challenged in court. Those presenting to police stations will find it may be the hard way to go, and criminal charges need not be the starting point.

    My health is questionable, to say the least, but I am interested in joining any ‘think tank’ on the way forward. Kind Regards, Phil


    November 1, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    • Thanks for your comment Phil. I think there are possibilities for legal challenges on medical issues, particularly under EU law. I’ve been a “litigant in person” myself and it doesn’t frighten me but I think we should be able to get some lawyers on board, don’t you?

      I’d be interested to hear more of your experience. Please email me if you wish:

      Peter Reynolds

      November 3, 2010 at 5:16 pm

  11. Hi Peter,
    Good post, wish that the lawmakers would stop denying the truth about drugs.
    Funny how they allow two of the most dangerous tobacco and alcohol.
    Cannabis is much maligned, it is according to neurologists here in Holland the best medication for pain for people , like me with MS. I have primary progressive ms for wshich there are no meds so my neurologist suggested cannabis.
    It helps me with pain, spasms eating, sleeping and staying calm and cheerful and optimistic with a progressiv e disease.
    Good luck trying to get change in the law and attitudes about drugs.


    November 19, 2010 at 11:12 am

    • Good to hear from you Herrad.

      There is an interesting legal case happening right now in the UK where both the Home Secretary and the Advisory Council on the Misuse Of Drugs (ACMD) are being challenged for their failure to regulate alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Nothing challenges the integrity of any government more than its attitude towards drugs. There is corruption, hypocrisy, denial of science, perversion of truth, oppression, outrageous injustice and colossal amounts of money to be made. The disastrous experience of alcohol prohibtion in 1920-30s America is eclipsed by the catastrophic results of cannabis and cocaine prohibtion in the modern day.

      Cannabis, as a gentle, recreational enjoyment is one of God’s greatest gifts and, importantly, provides medicinal relief for many conditions with no significant side effects. It is far, far better for you than dangerous Big Pharma alternatives. Cocaine is certainly no more harmful than alcohol but its prohibition has created an illegal market worth $500 billion per annum with violence, death, misery and degradation beyond compare.

      Repeatedly, there are those who take power in government but fail to grasp this nettle. They, as individuals, in their cowardice, are directly responsible for so much evil in our society.

      We must reject these Humpty Dumpties. Jimmy “Broken Britain” Brokenshire is just the latest dissembler, liar and propagandist in this travesty.

      He cannot be forgiven. He fails to understand or even consider the injustice that he supports.

      Your contribution has inspired me again to tell the truth and to shout it proud and loud until it prevails.

      Peter Reynolds

      November 19, 2010 at 11:48 pm

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