Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Home Office Backtracks On Cannabis

with 26 comments

A fortnight ago Sir Ian Gilmore, the outgoing president of the Royal College of Physicians, famously denounced drugs prohibition as a failed policy.   He said “”Everyone who has looked at this in a serious and sustained way concludes that the present policy of prohibition is not a success.”  He then went on to advocate decriminalisation and regulation.

The Home Office immediately issued a statement saying “‘Drugs such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis are extremely harmful and can cause misery to communities across the country.”   This statement was reproduced on the Home Office website and has sat there for the last two weeks in direct contradiction to the governments own scientific advisers.  Anyone who has even the smallest knowledge of the subject knows that the idea that cannabis is “extremely harmful” is absurd and a lie.

Within the last day or two the Home Office website has been quietly edited to remove the word cannabis from the statement.  See here.

Charades, Fibs And Porkies

This correction is very welcome.   However it calls into question the honesty, competence and intelligence of the Home Office and the government’s drugs policy.  James Brokenshire, the Minister for Crime Prevention has been looking increasingly ridiculous in the last few weeks, contradicting his advisers, spouting pre-Reagan “war on drugs” propaganda and conflicting terribly with the wise words of both David Cameron and Nick Clegg, both of whom have called for drug policy reform consistently over the last 10 years.   Young James has made himself very unpopular with the country’s six million regular cannabis users and embarrassed the government and the Tory party with his antics.

Whoever was responsible for this smart and very discreet editing, let’s hope they get to have a look at James’ Drugs Strategy consultation document too.  It needs some intelligent correction and adjustment as well.  See here for more information on what’s really a very silly game of charades, fibs and porkies.

26 Responses

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  1. Great spot!

    Duncan Stott

    September 1, 2010 at 11:18 am

    • Thanks for noticing Duncan.

      Peter Reynolds

      September 1, 2010 at 11:23 am

  2. I’m not one to judge people on their appearance, but Brokenshire looks like the sort of smug twat that I’d happily cross the street to slap.

    There – I’ve said it. Now I’ll hand over to others to get back to more serious debate of the topic.


    September 1, 2010 at 11:54 am

    • Nobbly! I’m shocked! Far be it from me to descend to such reprehensible behaviour but in his case I’ll make an exception. I’ll race ya to slap him first!

      Peter Reynolds

      September 1, 2010 at 12:22 pm

      • Ill win the race, unless I get sidetracked by having to stop and slap either (or hopefully, both) of the Millibands, Ed Balls, Cameron, Clegg, or that obnoxious twerp Osborne on the way.

        Should such a delicious opportunity present itself, I’ll gladly let you have first dibs at Brokenshire.


        September 1, 2010 at 1:01 pm

      • Alright then it’s a deal! Mind you don’t get confused though. How are you going to tell the difference between the Millibands, Osborne and Brokenshire? They all look the same to me!

        Peter Reynolds

        September 1, 2010 at 1:10 pm

      • Good point. I’ll just slap ’em all.

        As confucious’ mum (a right old slapper, by all accounts…) used to say – “Better to have a stinging palm than rue a missed opportunity”


        September 1, 2010 at 2:46 pm

  3. What a joke, you’d think it being a democracy that people would have some opinion on whether the laws need to be looked at in regards to drugs prohibition..but no, the home office doesn’t think its the right thing to do, so nobody else’s voice counts.

    James Brokenshire, you are an embarrassment to your party and to your country with your backwards views on drugs prohibition. You seem to have based political models on Harry J. Anslinger, and that just cannnot be seen as a good or progressive thing. I hope that you read this and realise that I am one of six million people i the UK seriously disillusioned with your views, and I think its time you either left office or seriously readjusted your viewpoint, at least taking into account credible research on cannabis rather than blanketing all drugs as dangerous substances.

    I like to get high. I go to work, dont smoke cigarettes, don’t drink and generally don’t break the law (except for possession of cannabis, of course).

    Do I have to be a criminal? Am I that much of a burden on society? SORT IT OUT MATE.

    Nuff Said.


    September 1, 2010 at 12:01 pm

  4. Oh and if everybody could get their cannabis legally in coffeeshops, or grew it themselves, then wouldn’t new cases of addiction to harder drugs become rarer? After all, isn’t it the situations people find them in when procuring drugs which allow them to be in contact with dodgy people who would see them anything to make money, rather than the drugs themselves?

    I personally would never touch drugs like crack and heroin but even those who would be tempted are much less likely to have access to them if cannabis was regulated, having no need to go to scary dealers to get some weed..


    September 1, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    • Not nearly ’nuff said mate. Keep up the good work!

      Peter Reynolds

      September 1, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    • Letter i fired off last night to my MP, excuse the mix up with the date:

      Dear Philip Dunne

      Thank you for forwarding my concerns regarding the legal status of
      cannabis to Mr. Brokenshire.

      I got the bulk standard response on the issue from him, i did not
      expect anything different.

      I did Enjoy the debate he took part in with Bob Ainsworth, i watched it
      on parliament TV.

      Ainsworth for once speaks sense – whilst Brokenshire continues with the
      same sad old policies, is this the change we voted for?

      Even the Daily Mail and it’s readers seem to have come to there senses
      on the issue.

      I will be asking my Doctor to prescribe Sativex a cannabis based
      medicine ( GW Pharma) when i see him on Friday 10th Jan 2011 for an
      illness i suffer from.

      I dont hold out much chance of getting it because of it’s prohibitive
      cost which is 3 times that of illegal street Cannabis, which leaves me
      with no alternative but to continue to risk criminalization – Thanks

      I do look forward to the day when we can have a grown up debate on this
      issue in this country, i do hate being patronised by young wet behind
      the ears MP’s (not yourself). Call me cynical, but lets face it, Large
      rich vested interest’s govern this country and what the people think is
      secondary. There are 6 million recorded Cannabis users in this country
      and probably about 10 million all in all.

      That’s about the same proportion of people that voted for the
      conservative party in the last election – all being criminalized or
      face potential criminalization for a victim less crime of wanting to
      unwind after a hard days work with a joint.

      Alcohol is everywhere i go, i am subjected to it daily as i wander
      through every supermarket and corner shop, alcohol was pushed at me on
      TV all over the Christmas period. Alcohol is one of the most dangerous
      drugs available in modern British society – but it’s legal and is not
      even included in the misuse of drugs act.

      Following a path similar to that of California would be very sound
      policy making.

      The coalition would raise to new heights, it seems non of the Lib dems
      or conservative manifesto’s have come to fruition and yet again since i
      first got the vote back in 1983 i have been lied to for almost 30 years

      No wonder one is cynical about politics

      Best wishes and happy New Year

      Yours sincerely,


      January 7, 2011 at 8:19 pm

      • Go for it Smiffy! You are the salt of the earth. Just the sort of supporter and advocate that the cause needs. If only every MP was receiving such impassioned and sincere messages from their constituents!

        Please stay in touch.

        Peter Reynolds

        January 7, 2011 at 8:37 pm

  5. Good find Peter! Well noticed.

    The statement was ridiculous and glad they’ve had the sense in amending it.

    The point the powers at be seem to miss is the “comparative” harms of cannabis. When addressed from this angle, they have no leg to stand on with the current MODA. As well they know.

    It is a democratic shame that the number of cannabis users in the UK is comparative to the number of people who voted conservative in the 2010 election, and on a par with the total Lib Dem votes. How can such a democratic voice go so unheard? Take cannabis out of the contested equation, and that does not bode well for a free society by anyone’s standards.


    September 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    • Credit goes to my commenter OllyMolly here

      Peter Reynolds

      September 1, 2010 at 4:16 pm

  6. […] leave a comment » See the original article here. […]

  7. thats certainly a strange one. Cannabis obviously can be extremely harmful for a small minority of vulnerable individuals (esp wehn very young, associated with heavy use etc) – but lumping it with heorin and cocaine is pretty daft. Odd though that they would remove it – i wonder what provoked that, not that we will ever know.

    But thats hardly the worst thing about their woefully inadequate reponse – that totally and deliberately fails to engage with the points made by Gilmore or my BMJ piece he cited. Pathetic.

    Steve Rolles

    September 7, 2010 at 11:53 am

    • Do you think it is productive to press them to engage on particular points? For instance, either by writing, repeatedly if necessary, or by having one’s own MP pursue them. Do you think this sort of campaigning is worthwhile?

      I would be interested in your views.

      See Part 2:

      Peter Reynolds

      September 7, 2010 at 6:40 pm

      • Its certainly worth writing – even better if via a sympathetic MP. I would generally steer clear of the medical harms stuff where possible – focus on the fact that risk is assumed – what decrim/regulation does is respond to that risk, and the reality of demand as it exists based on evidence of what will reduce it, and overall harm – rather than outdated ideologically driven punitive legislation from 50 years ago – etc. Just saying that drugs are risky (even pot albeit less so in relative terms) misses the point – its because they are risky, and because illegal supply demonstrably makes them worse – that a meaningful debate on alternatives is needed.

        dopnt expect much though. we have been writing letters like this for over a decade – you get an standard brush off: an acknowledgement then a cut and paste from the strategy.

        best to include a very specific question. I can suggest some if useful

        you might then atleast get something daft out of them you can use in a critique.

        the more letters they get the better though – so even a duff reply doesnt mean the effort is wasted.


        Steve Rolles

        September 7, 2010 at 6:51 pm

      • I’ve been writing for 30 years now and I’m not about to stop any time soon!

        Peter Reynolds

        September 10, 2010 at 12:10 pm

  8. “‘Drugs such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis are extremely harmful and can cause misery to communities across the country.”

    He probably wrote that over a glass of wine. 😐


    September 7, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    • Or three?

      Peter Reynolds

      September 7, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    • Synch… that comment is pure class.

      I almost spilled my beer in appreciation.


      September 13, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    • governments cause more misery to communities across the country than cannabis….


      December 23, 2010 at 3:29 am

  9. Just a suggestion for all those who follow such events…

    When you see someone walking a dog in front of you, always pay very close attention to where you step, as if you do so, you will avoid stepping in a steaming pile of “politician.”

    Sames goes for voting…watch where you step, and avoid putting proper shits into positions of power over others. The longer you keep voting criminals into positions they can abuse, they will surely continue to do just that…find the honest man and put them at the helm, and we may yet have a chance to avoid the worst of the rocks before us.

  10. I’ve used this piece if that’s ok Peter:

    You’ve summed it all up. Good find again ollymolly!

    Jason (HomeGrown Outlaw)

    September 28, 2010 at 11:34 pm

  11. these people chat shit, legalising cannabis could help britain get out of the recession….first of all it would boost tourism which would put money into the economy; look how many people go to amsterdam. also they could put a tax on it; meaning even more money…it would also stop the police wasting tax payer money on arresting/prosecuting people with silly little amounts and crime figures would go down; amsterdam have started closing prisons because there is not enough criminals to fill them…..all they have to do is legalise weed….even if its only to over 21`s…


    December 23, 2010 at 3:27 am

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