Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

The Guardian Dances To The Home Office Tune

with 16 comments

An astonishing article in The Guardian today on the Home Office’s attempts to prevent UK patients gaining access to medicinal cannabis.  See here.

The Home Office’s position is no surprise.  What is astonishing is The Guardian’s inaccurate and poodle-like treatment of the story.  The article is little more than an obedient reproduction of a Home Office press release.  It takes no account of the gross injustice and cruelty perpetrated by Home Office ministers.  Neither does it challenge a position that is cleary unsustainable under EU law.

No one can have expected the Home Office to give in on this issue without a fight.  I think we would all have expected far more courage and support from The Guardian.

The Guardian’s editor is Alan Rusbridger.  His email address is:  I would urge everyone to write to him now to protest at this weak and rather pathetic coverage of an important story.

This is my email.  Feel free to copy, edit or use it as you will.





Written by Peter Reynolds

October 29, 2010 at 12:39 pm

16 Responses

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  1. Agreed Peter, but sadly, what more should we expect from the “controlled” so called liberal press?

    At least the Internet allows us access to decent journalists with integrity such as yourself. No wonder you hear noises from the government about introducing censorship of the Internet, no doubt in the name of fighting “terrorism” or some other bullshit.

    Pot Seeds

    October 29, 2010 at 12:55 pm

  2. Letter sent ..

    Hello Ms. O’Hara,

    We’ve not corresponded before but I’m a bit of a cannabis activist in my own way and founder of the Cannabis Assembly. I’m also diagnosed with Degenerative Spinal Disease, Cardiac Heart Disease, Vascular Disease and a couple of other conditions considered incurable so I have my medicinal hat on today.

    Anyway, Schengen. I must admit to being slightly disappointed in your article’s acceptance of the government’s position on locking up the sick and disabled without question. After being forced by the EU courts, through the actions of a very brave and unwell Irishman, to accept that they must follow the regulations of the Schengen agreement and related UN treatise, the current position is that they intend to move Sativex to Schedule 2 and leave herbal cannabis as Schedule 1. The government are stating that they have no intention of meeting the requirements the EU has insisted they must comply with.

    For a man who has just suffered the death of a disabled child and who admits to having used cannabis recreationally I simply cannot believe the hypocrisy of using medicine as a political weapon. I wonder how Mr. Cameron would have felt if his child had been denied medicine on the grounds of someone else’s moral compass. The Home Office gave out the correct interpretation of the UK’s duty to allow prescribed medicine to be transported across EU borders. They have now been reprimanded by a higher power and instructed to release the statement in your article. The UK government have made the political choice to force a sick or disabled UK citizen to go to Europe and have them repeat the instructions the government has already been given.

    This lunacy goes on while the sick and disabled suffer in silence as always. Not only are our benefits going to be taken off us we can’t even be allowed the same medicines as other EU citizens. People think the poor are the underclass, try being poor and disabled. Maybe someone should write about it Ms. O’Hara?

    Rev. Paul Farnhill
    Cannabis Assembly

    Rev. Paul

    October 29, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    • What the? Sativex to sched 2 while herbal cannabis remains sched 1?. How can they possibly reinforce that since sativex is a “cannabis concentrate” mixed with alcohol?. Is it just me or does this seem like utter contradictory madness?

      Fair enough if they somehow striped the trichomes from the plant, but from what i understand of the process EVERYTHING is used, ie from base of stalk to tip of plant and its just milled and alcohol added. Seriously, what the hell?


      October 29, 2010 at 4:11 pm

  3. This is an outrage, how can the home office say “Cannabis is dangerous and has no medicinal benefits in herbal form. It remains illegal for UK residents to possess cannabis in any form.”

    When both Dutch and US Medical professionals are prescribing it! I’ve asked RELEASE to provide me with more information I’ll post it when I get it. Why can a sick Dutch man get benefit from it and I can’t.

    I’ve also e-mailed the weak willed Alan Rusbridger.


    October 29, 2010 at 2:03 pm

  4. I find much of the UK news media extremely weak when it comes to standing up for what’s right. They’ll kiss the government’s butt most of the time, rather than speak out on plain governmental idiocy.

    Having said that, I do read The Guardian mostly but, when they get it wrong they get it really wrong, as in this case.

    Leo Sigh

    October 29, 2010 at 4:06 pm

  5. I’ve really lost faith in the Guardian.

    I’ve pretty much begged, literally begged to put across the medicinal side of cannabis as it has been hideously ignored and shunned for so long. Suffice to say, it is simply not an issue anyone is willing to give a platform for discussion.

    It’s also interesting that this story has been sat on until now and this is the version that goes out?!

    My own battle with the Home Office is ongoing and I am sailing very very close to the wind with relating subject matters; my one back up was a bit of exposure so that if I am to come a copper, I mean cropper, I have a little bit of public noise to give me a mini safety net. The UK press and related bodies have done nothing, not a damn thing. And now this article makes an appearance!

    It makes you take hard looks at the country, it really bloody does.

    Jason (HomeGrown Outlaw)

    October 29, 2010 at 5:34 pm

  6. Hands up those who are really, honestly, deep down, surprised – either by the Home Office decision or by the Guardian’s faithful reporting of it?

    But as I’ve mentioned before, this is a sideshow. Now some people can use cannabis openly in the UK without fear of arrest, yet no-one can allow them to do so on any property they own or manage. All this clarification has done is to confirm the mess the whole law is in.

    Anyway for what it’s worth, I sent this to the editor:

    Mr Rusbridger

    Re the item “Home Office gave wrong guidance on import of medicinal cannabis”

    I am amazed and frankly disgusted that The Guardian would see fit to carry a Home Office statement like this without any critical examination of the situation. Assuming this decision is acceptable to the EU, it would seem that people from Holland are now free to bring herbal cannabis into the UK and use it without fear of arrest; how is that going to be policed? It is not legal for anyone to allow the use of cannabis in their house or property they manage, so how does the Home Office plan to enforce this?

    You have also allowed the government to subtly change their position. Previously the government has always stated that “Cannabis is dangerous and has no medicinal benefits”, it is now saying apparently that “Cannabis is dangerous and has no medicinal benefits in herbal form”. I’m sure you are aware of Animal Farm and the subtle way the slogans in that play were changed, is this not an example of just that?

    Finally you quote the government as claiming “It remains illegal for UK residents to possess cannabis in any form.” This is not true, the medicine SATIVEX is whole cannabis – indeed it is the concentrated form known on the street has “oil”, albeit made from a blend of two strains of the plant. In any case, it’s clear that doctors in Holland and Belgium disagree with that statement – who knows best, UK politicians or European doctors?

    I note you report this story has been an issue for some time, why haven’t you reported it before now, instead waiting until you could simple repeat the approved government message?

    I’ll let you know if I get a reply.


    October 29, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    • Right on Derek!

      Peter Reynolds

      October 29, 2010 at 8:48 pm

  7. I don’t think you are sincere about concern for people with MS etc.

    I think you see this as having the potential to legalise recreational drug use through the back door so you can get stoned with better quaolity, cheaper, legal drugs from Europe.

    J J Jameson

    October 30, 2010 at 10:58 am

    • You are entitled to your opinion however wrong it is.

      Peter Reynolds

      October 30, 2010 at 11:24 am

    • Well, I for one am concerned with the M.S sufferers etc – and the disabled aspect of this – as I am in that category.

      Moreover, this issue is flippantly overlooked and it is morally wrong how this is all handled in the UK, so when you find people like Peter who are willing to go to bat for us and make a noise, it is VERY much appreciated and shouldn’t be tainted with negative connotations.

      Jason (HomeGrown Outlaw)

      October 31, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    • You kind of have a point but ultimately, you don’t. I’m chronically ill and use a variety of medications that whilst keeping me alive, have some awful Gastro-Intestinal side effects that cannabis controls. Doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy getting baked with my mates, though! I’m going to the Dam next weak and I can’t wait!
      My parents are glad I’ve had to give up alcohol, but they are not convinced that my new drug of choice & necessity happens to be one that I used before anyway.
      But recreational users are sometimes aware of the potential medicinal benefits of cannabis without actually needing them, using the drug to simply get “high” and not to keep a meal down.
      So when a cannabis user gets sick & finds his drug helps him it convinces very few people, partly I think because there is an intrinsic distrust of illegal drug users in society by non illegal drug users. Good for you all, well done for being so stupidly blind. Another example would be a respectable middle class lady, a housewife in her 40’s say who has become depressed and so having visited her GP relies on barbiturates or benzodiazepines or some other form of SSRI to get her through her day. Twenty years ago, however she only relied on such drugs to get her through her weekend, and whilst some might say that drug use when young is a catalyst of depression in middle age, this does not account for all those suffering with depression now, who have never touched illegal drugs and find respite in a regimen of anti-depressants. So it’s not okay to use a drug unless it’s prescribed by a doctor? But you seem to have quite a puritanical attitude as to what doctors are allowed to prescribe.
      Your opinion should have nothing to do with it, unfortunately government policy appears to be drawn up with chaps like you in mind. Only because it’s a massive racket – but someone else can fill you in on all that.

      Ronnie James

      November 8, 2010 at 8:23 pm

  8. Does anyone remember this?

    The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has stated repeatedly and unequivocally that marijuana has no medical value, and consequently has classified it as a Schedule I controlled substance, along with heroin – even though the synthetic drug Marinol, with the same psychoactive ingredient, is classified as Schedule III.

    David R. Ford challenges both the classification and the fraudulent basis for it – and puts his money where his mouth is:

    In what is now a standing offer, he agrees to pay the DEA one million dollars if it can prove that marijuana has no medical value — on one condition only: that, if the DEA cannot prove its case, the federal government will release all prisoners presently serving time for nonviolent marijuana-related offenses, will cease arresting and charging others with such offenses, and will move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III.”

    “Dave has dedicated much of his life to exposing the myths about cannabis. He offers the DEA one million dollars cash if it can prove its lie that marijuana has no medical value.”

    Click to access DavidRFord-book.pdf

    AFAIK the DEA remained silent.


    October 30, 2010 at 11:12 am

  9. This is a government that is weak and refuses to be fair with the people, which it would rather have suffer. As for the home office, well what can you say. It is absolutely pathetic.

    James brokenshire and the rest.

    They will never achieve the goal of a cannabis free England. They have lost this war.

    keep it strong people and do not give up the fight!


    October 30, 2010 at 7:07 pm

  10. […] Eventually The Guardian took some notice.   See here. […]

  11. Just having read your letter, albeit belatedly, Peter, I can see the connection with the need for the BMCR that has just started up. Life can be strange like that – one piece of bad news that bounces into something that is really positive and beneficial. Kudos to you, Peter!

    Jayelle Farmer

    November 16, 2010 at 1:49 am

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