Peter Reynolds

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Review. ‘Drug Use for Grown-Ups’ By Dr Carl L. Hart

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“I discovered that the predominant effects produced by the drugs discussed in this book are positive,” Carl L. Hart writes in his new book. “It didn’t matter whether the drug in question was cannabis, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine or psilocybin.”

Carl Hart is a tenured professor of psychology at Columbia University, an experienced neuroscientist and a father. He believes that if “grown-ups” like him would talk freely about the role of drugs in their lives, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in, a mess brought about by our ruinous drug policies, which have had such profound — and profoundly unequal — consequences for those who fall afoul of them.”

I’m reading Carl Hart’s book. Like him, I’m fortunate to have avoided any legal consequence from my ‘hobby’.  I share his advantage of having a decent education but I’m also white and from a relatively privileged, solid, two parent, loving family background.  If it wasn’t for this I doubt I would have been so lucky.  At one point in my life my hobby did become a habit but it was my advantages that got me through.
The older I become the more I realise that our appalling drugs policies are about class and race discrimination and they only serve to make these divisions worse. This is why our politicians do nothing because they, like me, can get away with doing as they wish.

Written by Peter Reynolds

February 28, 2021 at 3:15 pm

Review. California Hybrid CBD Oil

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If you’re one of the millions of people in Britain who have found CBD oil helpful, there are some big changes on the way and they’re not good news at all.

On the basis of no evidence at all, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has decided to impose massively expensive new regulations on CBD suppliers and it may mean the products you find most effective will no longer be available.

This excellent, THC-free oil, from CBD-UK, should be OK.  Its manufacturers have applied for a ‘novel foods authorisation’ which means they can continue to sell it. It’s what the FSA calls a ‘novel food’ because it has had even the smallest traces of THC removed.  Now you might think the authorities would regard that as making it safer.  After all, for decades they have been treating THC as the devil’s potion but you shouldn’t expect any logic or real responsibility from this regulator. The FSA is simply acting on behalf of the big companies that missed out on the CBD boom.  They have applied pressure and so these new regulations have been drawn up for no other purpose than to shut out the smaller businesses.

Thankfully, some smaller companies have managed to source supplies that will meet the new regulations but still work effectively.  California Hybrid oil is a good example of this and over the past six weeks or so I’ve been testing it.  It’s delicious and that is one of the most important qualities of CBD oil because unless you take it, little and often, on a regular basis, it will never work effectively.  The taste but also its effectiveness is because it is a whole plant extract (just with the THC removed).  Under these new FSA regulations, most products are going to be ‘isolates’ where all the goodness has been stripped out. Avoid these at all costs. They are just a waste of your money.

As well as the taste, it’s also a sensible level of concentration. It’s a 12% oil which means in this 10ml bottle there are 1200mg of CBD, providing about 6mg per drop, so two or three drops, two or three times a day, is just about ideal dosage. It is for me anyway. I weigh about 90 kilos, so you may need to adjust the dose if you’re bigger or smaller than me.

The inside information I can give you is that 12% is an “honest” extract. It’s about what you would expect from a straightforward extraction with no messing about. Weaker concentrations have been diluted. Stronger forms have been processed to increase concentration.

So I would strongly recommend this product if you want ‘real CBD oil’ but without any THC.  That will be very important to you if you’re subject to drug testing at work because even tiny amounts of THC, which will have no effect on you, can show up in a drug test.

In a few weeks time, high street stores are going to be stripped of good products like this.  Always check the label first.  Do not buy isolates.  They are nasty, ineffective and a waste of time and money. Only buy products that are labelled ‘whole plant’, ‘full spectrum’ or ‘broad spectrum’.  That may well mean you have to shop online.

Buy California Hybrid oil here.

Written by Peter Reynolds

February 15, 2021 at 3:07 pm

As the Best of Britain Dies, the Evil Spectre of Anslinger Rises in Steve Moore, Government Stool Pigeon and Traitor to the Cause.

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Harry Anslinger. Steve Moore.

They say bad news comes in threes and this morning we were greeted with the appalling news of another ignorance-based clampdown by the Home Office on CBD products.  Then, shortly after lunch, we heard that the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) which has been collaborating with the Food Standards Agency to destroy all the small businesses that created the CBD market, has gone into partnership with Trading Standards.  It will train Trading Standards officers to assist them with enforcement action against the small businesses which compete with ACI’s big business clients. These small businesses sell ‘real’ CBD, genuine whole plant extracts, while ACI is bulldozing regulators towards nasty, ineffective, isolate and synthetic-based products.

Finally we hear the terrible but not unexpected news that Captain Sir Tom Moore has succumbed to pneumonia, exacerbated by Covid-19.

RIP Captain Sir Tom Moore

Where Captain Sir Tom Moore represented the very best of British and was a symbol of hope and endurance for us all, the gone-to-seed figure of Steve Moore, head of the ACI, is the very opposite.  What cruel irony that they share the same surname!  When Paul Birch, the multimillionaire stoner, gave Steve Moore the funding he needed to launch his Big Pharma-inspired assault on the British cannabis market, he cannot have realised that he was unleashing a tyrannical, bullying monster, almost the reincarnation of Harry Anslinger, the evil force behind ‘reefer madness’ and the father of the war on drugs. The Birch-Moore cartel now has its tentacles into every aspect of the British cannabis market and is eyeing Europe as its next target. We must see that our neighbours are warned. A tie up with the EU bureaucracy would be exactly in line with Moore’s modus operandi.

Birch, who is known to suffer psychotic episodes, once resulting in an intervention from anti-cannabis advocate Lord Monson, provided Moore with the cash to buy up a long list of highly qualified scientists, lawyers and PR consultants. They have taken his thirty pieces of silver and set about the systematic destruction of the wonderful story of British enterprise and innovation that led the world in CBD products.  The contrast between the great Captain Tom and the ignoble, self-serving Moore could not be greater. The coronavirus has taken so much from us and only an individual tied to the sleaziest end of the Conservative Party could exploit it and turn it to his own disgusting advantage.

We should not lose heart though because now the enemy has revealed himself in all his sordid reality.  Across the Atlantic, a new, decent administration is about to decriminalise cannabis federally.  Moore’s advantage will be shortlived.  The prohibitionists in the Home Office and British establishment will shortly be trounced by market forces that are more powerful even than their dead hand, with resources that far exceed anything that Birch and Moore can muster.

It may be a few years yet but the immense benefits of real cannabis which for few short years as ‘real’ CBD have helped so many people in Britain will return.  When the day comes for Birch, Moore and their Gestapo of assistants to meet their maker, they will not do so with the honour and righteousness of Captain Tom but with a squalid record of ignominy and disgrace.

Written by Peter Reynolds

February 2, 2021 at 6:59 pm

My Predictions for Cannabis in the UK in 2021

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On medicinal cannabis, the senior clinicians and bureaucrats at NHS, NICE and the professional medical bodies will continue to do all they can to block access. Until key individuals are offered fat fees to run clinical trials they will continue to insist that this is the only form of evidence that is acceptable. They will continue to ignore and reject all evidence from overseas. The clamour from more and more patients will grow. The private clinics will boom but our political ‘leaders’ will continue to be impotent in the face of the vested interests of the medical establishment.

The Cancard will take off and police forces will welcome it as a sensible solution.  More and more people will grow their own and cannabis will become completely decriminalised by default.  Only if you’re behaving like an idiot or are engaged in large scale commercial grows and/or gangsterism will the police be interested.  Again our political ‘leaders’ will be useless and too scared of the tabloid media and their bigoted, poorly-informed backbenchers to do anything.  Meanwhile the cannabis trade will continue to drive county lines, knife crime, prostitution, modern slavery, all off the back of profits from cannabis but Boris and his buffoons will refuse to understand this or follow the evidence that legal regulation is the solution.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA), in collaboration with the big business lobbyists, The Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) , will succeed in getting all the multiples and major retailers to stop selling whole plant CBD extracts, which are what work and what consumers want. Dozens of small CBD companies who actually built this market will be put out of business by the FSA/ACI and hundreds of people will lose their jobs.  FSA/ACI will continue to ramp up their false propaganda that CBD can be toxic despite a complete absence of any real world evidence – all this with the intention of pricing small, artisan suppliers out of the market. Nasty, ineffective, isolate-based products will come to dominate the high street. Despite this, whole plant extracts will continue to be available online and the FSA will discover that it can’t enforce its rules because its definition of ‘novel food’ doesn’t actually fit genuine whole plant extracts.  They will bring prosecutions against some suppliers but these will fail once expert evidence is adduced.

The legal British cannabis market will continue to develop in faltering steps because of the obstacles inherent in the way the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 is applied. The government is terrified to undertake the wholesale reform that is urgently needed because of outdated and ignorant attitudes.  It’s so transfixed by the drugs issue that it won’t even make the small tweaks to regulations on industrial hemp, exempt products and licensing that would give a massive boost to business prospects.  I can see no chance of any progress until the Covid crisis is over and ministers have more bandwidth to look at other issues.  Even then it’s going to need some new blood in cabinet.  Although Boris Johnson himself probably does have the instinct for reform, he is surrounded by third rate ministers, most of whom could never be considered progressive and are hardly visionary or ambitious thinkers.

The Birch-Moore cartel will continue to try and monopolise the entire British cannabis space.  Paul Birch, the multimillionaire stoner who landed a fortune from shares in his brother’s business, provides the cash and Steve Moore, former architect of David Cameron’s damp squib ‘Big Society’ project, runs the show. Volteface, Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, the ACI, Hanway Associates, Familes4Access are all different faces of the same core team, all characterised by generous funding, a young, aggressive team and an arrogant disdain for everyone else in the market.  Birch’s money has definitely brought some welcome benefits and was the missing ingredient in achieving the media coverage which led to the legalisation of medicinal cannabis in 2018.  They took ideas and policies developed by other groups and added a well-funded PR operation because the reality is that however important your message, without the hard cash you just don’t get coverage on daytime TV and the main news programmes.  Aside from causing great division, particularly amongst the families campaigning for their epileptic children, the negative and malevolent aspects of their work is best demonstrated by the ACI’s manipulation of the CBD market and bullying of many small businesses.

I’m hopeful that at least in Scotland, which has the worst drug deaths record in Europe, there will be some progress on dealing with problematic hard drug use and its consequences.  The heroic actions of Peter Krykant, who is illegally running a mobile drugs consumption room in Glasgow and saving lives every day, have had a big impact.  This man deserves every bit as much praise as Captain Tom, Marcus Rashford or anyone else who has engaged in altruistic campaigning in 2020. He deserves a knighthood. As I write this, the latest reports suggest Nicola Sturgeon might even defy the dinosaurs in Westminster and fund appropriate harm reduction measures which are so desperately needed.

Until our political ‘leaders’ wake up to the fact that the entire criminal drugs market and the tens of billions it costs the UK are driven by the prohibition of cannabis there will be no real progress either on reducing the cost or improving public health.  The kids who are being stabbed on London’s streets, the young people who are trafficked and the vulnerable hard drug addicts who are being cuckooed as part of county lines dealing, it all starts with the criminal trade in cannabis.  That’s where the money comes from and until the market is taken away from the gangsters and properly regulated, things will only get worse.

Although we’ve all despaired about some aspects of the US political system, the progress on cannabis, even in Republican states, shows what real democracy can achieve. Local ballots have forced reluctant and often hostile politicians to comply with what the people want and make cannabis legally available.  The Biden-Harris team have promised federal decriminalisation and expungement of criminal records for all non-violent cannabis offences.  I think this will happen.  Even if the Republicans retain control of the Senate this issue has built up a head of steam that won’t be stopped. Remarkably, the one issue that transcends the terrible divides in American politics is cannabis.  If the Senate goes Democrat we could see much more far-reaching change.  And once the federal law on cannabis changes, you watch all the slimeball politicians throughout the rest of the world pretending that’s what they wanted all along.

Overall, I am optimistic. Hopefully, as we head through summer and into autumn next year, Covid will be behind us, we’ll all be back to earning a proper living and a lot closer to enjoying our cannabis in freedom, for pleasure, medicine or both.  My very best wishes and the compliments of the season.

Written by Peter Reynolds

December 24, 2020 at 12:51 pm

Review. Karma Coast CBD

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Karma Coast 1500mg CBD OIl

I hope you’ll take my word for it, that here are two of the best tasting and most effective CBD products on the market.  Karma Coast’s CBD oil and vape pen cartridges are as good as you can get and I have the experience and knowledge of this market to be able to make that statement with confidence.

Karma Coast CBD Vape Cartridge

I first sampled CBD oil back in about 2012.  Nobody knew anything about it back then and I wasn’t at all sure that this new angle on cannabis wasn’t just another scam or some internet myth.  There were some pretty extraordinary claims being made around Real Scientific Hemp Oil (RSHO) but with its deliberate play on the famous RSO (Rick Simpson Oil), that simply reinforced my scepticism.

Then a good friend of mine with an appalling catalogue of health problems, fibromyalgia, ulcerative colitis, sciatica and more, started to experience some amazing results.  It wasn’t quite raising Lazurus from the dead but it he did get up out of his wheelchair and walk across the room – something he hadn’t been able to do for years.

Fortunately, I’ve never had any severe health problems myself but I’d already been campaigning on medicinal cannabis for many years and this felt like a breakthrough.  Back then there was little prospect of legal access to medicinal cannabis but here was something that was legal and offered many of the same benefits.  It was revolutionary.

It was the medicinal benefits of CBD that caused this market to take off.  Still today the reason people buy CBD is to deal with health problems and whatever the law and the medical establishment says about it, it works very effectively for millions of people.

One issue that has always been a problem is the taste of CBD oil. It can be vile and although some like their medicine to taste bad, it’s been something that has put many people off.

So I am delighted to have discovered Karma Coast products.  The oil is delicious.  Not just bearable or OK but quite genuinely it has a gorgeous cannabis flavour.  It won’t be any hardship taking this every day and holding it under your tongue for four or five minutes to absorb it most effectively.  It’s also supplied in sensible strengths and sizes at reasonable prices.  The basic 10ml bottle contains 1500mg of CBD in a genuine whole plant extract for £75.00. That means that each drop is equivalent to 7.5mg of CBD. For me, four or five drops per day is the perfect dose and this little bottle will last well over a month.

The crucial point is that this is a genuine whole plant extract.  It preserves all the compounds that were in the low-THC cannabis plants (industrial hemp) from which it was extracted. Experience and an increasing amount of research shows that this is how to deliver the benefits of CBD. Isolate-based products simply don’t work as effectively.  The bad news is that if the Food Standards Agency (FSA) gets its way then isolate-based products are going to take over and dominate the market. It is being supported by a big business lobbyist organisation, the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI), which is intent on taking over the market and wiping out the small businesses like Karma Coast that are delivering products that actually work.  The good news is that the FSA has slipped up in its definitions. It doesn’t really understand what CBD products are and a genuine whole plant product like Karma Coast won’t be subject to the ‘novel foods’ rules it has introduced.

So to the vape cartridges. Vaping CBD is the most effective method of absorption there is.  It can get three or four times more CBD into your bloodstream than ingesting the same amount of oil. The effect doesn’t last as long though, so if you’re using CBD for pain, anxiety or as a sleep aid, you should take your main dose as oil and use a vape to top up or accelerate the effect you need.

The brilliant thing Karma Coast offers is a range of flavours and, harking back to my hash smoking teenage years, I chose the Moroccan Hash variety.  Wow!  It really does bring back memories and the taste is exactly right.  This is achieved by addng terpenes to the oil to match the cannabis flavour you’re looking for – and it really works.

So I’m very fortunate in that I get offered a lot of CBD products to try.  The best I can say is that I am very happy to spend my own money on Karma Coast.  I highly recommend these products.  Go to the company website for more details and to order: https://www.karmacoastcbd.co.uk/

 

 

 

Written by Peter Reynolds

December 8, 2020 at 5:01 pm

Review. ‘The CBD Book. The Essential Guide to CBD Oil’ by Mary Biles

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If you are looking for a basic guide to CBD, then this is the book for you. If you’re looking for a more advanced guide, with in-depth detail about research, then this is also the book for you.

In fact, even if you’re a doctor or scientist, looking for the most comprehensive, user-orientated information about CBD, this is a remarkable achievement by the author, Mary Biles, who I am fortunate to count as a friend and she can justifiably be very proud of it.

As writers in the cannabis space, Mary and I have followed similar paths, so I understand exactly the challenges she will have faced in writing this book and she has handled them wisely.  It is easy-to-read, not in the least dry but manages to pack in a great deal of valuable information, clearly explained scientific evidence and sensible advice which will be of great benefit to all readers.

Contents include the basic science of cannabis, cannabinoids, CBD and the endocannabinoid system; an excellent section on research into using CBD for many medical conditions; wellness; how to take CBD and some useful case studies.

Mary sticks to the science but has a deeper understanding that is not found in simplistic objectivity.  Experience, both her own and learned from others, shows that the absence of evidence does not mean CBD doesn’t work but also that more extreme claims need to be treated with healthy scepticism.

Highly recommended and I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

 

Written by Peter Reynolds

October 29, 2020 at 4:45 pm

Five Reasons Why Boris Johnson Should Legalise Cannabis Now

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1. Popularity

Polls confirm that a majority of British voters support reform of our cannabis laws. More than three-quarters are strongly supportive of medicinal cannabis.  There has been a sea change in attitude, also strongly accelerated by the rise of the CBD market, itself born entirely out of small, entrepreneurial British businesses. Boris could catch this wave, delight more than half of the electorate immediately with a bold, radical move and dispel much of the ‘nasty party’, authoritarian mood that has come out of the Covid crisis. Properly explained, a new policy can also deal with the concerns that still remain about cannabis. It should be presented as a solution to the four further reasons set out below and because, in 2020 no one wants to see their son, daughter, mother or father turned into a criminal just for cannabis.  A large majority of electors support this.

2. Mental health

For many years, politicians have been advocating that mental health should be treated with the same priority as physical health. The Conservative Party has promised it repeatedly over the past decade. For those that fear cannabis contributes to young people’s problems, legal regulation is, without doubt, the solution. Age limits and licensed rather than criminal distribution channels will minimuse underage use. Proper labelling and limits on THC content of licensed cannabis will protect against the negative effects of so-called ‘skunk’.  For the millions that we know already use cannabis actually to help with their mental health, particularly during lockdown, it will enable access to new, safely controlled and designed products with ideal ratios of CBD and other ingredients. These will be far preferable to the massive bill both in NHS expenditure and side effects that we currently pay for tranquilisers, anti-depressants, sleeping and anxiety medicines.

3. Tax revenue

The potential for an enormous net gain to the British economy, turning what is now only a drain on resources into a new revenue stream is huge. Serious, erudite work has been completed by a number of well-respected institutions. The most pessimistic estimate a net gain of about £1 billion. The most optimistic projections are 10 times as much. Looking to actual experience around the world, most likely is somewhere in the middle, perhaps around the £6.7 billion that the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit calculated in its 2011 study. As we emerge from the Covid crisis into a deep recession, cutting our costs and increasing our income are going to be vital and cannabis isn’t going away. We have to choose whether to waste money on it or make money from it. Cannabis legalisation won’t just cover its own costs but provide billions more that can be added to the public expenditure budget – and we are going to need every penny.

4. Jobs

About 250,000 people work in the legal cannabis industry in the USA and numbers are expected to grow significantly as legalisation expands. That’s equivalent to creating about 50,000 new jobs in the UK. A legally regulated cannabis industry would create huge investment in sophisticated cultivation and production facilities, distribution and retail channels. The CBD industry has already created hundreds of new businesses and thousands of new jobs in the way that only new industries can. We can already see that the push back from big business and big pharma that have missed out on this boom is about destroying jobs and stifling innovation. The path that the EU and the FSA are trying to force the CBD industry down is really about protectionism for the established pharmaceutical and supplement industries.  We are going to need new markets, new thinking and fresh ideas to create new jobs.

5. Crime and violence

The long held ‘gateway’ myth that consuming cannabis ‘leads on to harder drugs’ has been disproven over and over again by science. It’s still strangely prevalent amongst the poorly informed but even the UK government’s expert advisors formally rejected it in 2008. The laws against cannabis and the £6 billion criminal market that they have created is the gateway to deliquency, knife crime, county lines exploitation and hard drugs. The police and our political leaders have found themselves on the same side as organised crime, for they share the desire to keep cannabis banned. The public demand is not going away and a responsible government would act to regulate the market, to make it safer and to protect consumers. The criminal cannabis market is how young people get groomed and enticed into county lines and it’s what drives knife crime. It drives and funds much more serious crime. It is undermining our society. It really is one of the most idiotic, irrational and counterproductive of all government policies.  A legally regulated market will pull the rug from under this nightmare scenario.  As Canada has proved, within two years, around 50% of the market has already moved to legal channels and the damage caused by nearly a century of prohibition is gradually being undone.

Written by Peter Reynolds

October 3, 2020 at 4:30 pm

Seeing Green. A Film About Perspective, Family and Weed

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CLEAR is proud to present a new campaign film, in partnership with the filmmaker Tom McNie, whose work paints a portrait of cannabis use among ordinary British families, in ordinary British households up and down the country.

As the law stands; these characters – whose actions, rather than an act of curiosity or need – have made them criminals, face prison and an unlimited fine. Such is the prevalence of cannabis in British society that these laws have become untenable, with former Metropolitan Police Chief Bernard Hogan-Howe urging for reform and, in 2018, Mike Barton, Durham Chief of Police arguing that the prohibition of cannabis damages public safety, puts users in more danger and gives billions of pounds to organised crime and gangsters which in turn drives knife crime and county lines exploitation.

We hope that this film shines a spotlight on the issue and fosters positive debate about cannabis use in Britain.

Enjoy the film. Share it with friends and family and help us put an end to criminalisation of cannabis consumers.  Let’s get the dealers off the streets and into regulated, licensed retailers for a safer, healthier Britain.

Written by Peter Reynolds

September 21, 2020 at 11:18 am

Priti Patel on Poppers Demonstrates How Corrupt and Irrational Is UK Drugs Policy

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Priti Patel wants to legalise ‘poppers’, a drug with dangerous effects on the heart and eyes, in order to help the sex lives of gay men who account for around 3% of the population. Yet she refuses to legalise cannabis, a drug that is generally very safe, even though it can provide real medicinal benefits for 100% of the population.

‘Poppers’ is the well established street name for alkyl nitrites, a type of drug that is inhaled, producing a massive and almost instantaneous ‘hit’ by relaxing ‘smooth muscle’ which results in the dilation of blood vessels in the brain. This leads to a drop in blood pressure which the heart immediately responds to by increasing its rate and so a huge amount of extra blood surges into the brain.  Crucially, another smooth muscle that is affected is the anal sphincter and so the gay male community has found poppers a useful aid to anal sex. They can fairly be described as making anal sex safer and more pleasant, preventing ruptures or tears.

It would be a good thing to legalise poppers and to regulate their production and supply so that use of them is as safe as possible.  Alongside legal regulation, information on harm reduction could be offered and the whole environment surrounding their use could become much more sensible and civilised. It would be a even better thing to legalise cannabis. All the same benefits of safety and the environment would result but they would affect many millions more people.  In addition, the £6 billion criminal cannabis market, which feeds violence, gangsterism, county lines, hard drug dealing, modern slavery and much more serious crime, would be dealt a terminal blow.  It wouldn’t stop immediately but it would be the beginning of the end and it would transform many aspects of British society. I believe the benefits would be much wider and more far reaching than we can even imagine.

So what can possibly explain this move?  Why would such an irrational policy be proposed by the Home Secretary?

Priti Patel is quite possibly a very pleasant woman and she is to be admired for rising to dizzying heights in  political life despite the prejudice towards both her gender and race.  She has an unfortunate manner and glint in her eye that seems to appeal to to the authoritarian side of the ‘nasty party’, probably exactly why Boris Johnson made her Home Secretary to appease the hard right, for he is essentialy a libertarian.  Why is she so keen to move on poppers but not on other drugs where reforming their legal status is far more urgent and would deliver benefits on a far greater scale?

It’s instructive to recall what happened in Parliament when it first seemed that poppers would be banned under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.  Crispin Blunt, the Conservative MP and a prominent advocate for drugs policy reform, declared himself a user of poppers and sure enough, within a few weeks the Home Office had found a way to exclude them from the Act.

 

I expect no one would agree more with me than Crispin Blunt on the urgent need for cannabis to be regulated and, indeed for other drugs, far safer than poppers, such as MDMA (ecstasy). Present policy maximises the dangers of all drugs and while a fatal cannabis overdose is impossible, people do die fom MDMA overdoses because in an unregulated, criminal market no one knows the strength of what they are taking.

There can only be one reason why Ms Patel is making this irrational move on poppers and it’s because she has been subject to lobbying, probably from other MPs who hold the same position as Crispin Blunt.

So while I welcome the legal regulation of poppers, cannabis and MDMA should come first.  It’s no surprise that once again our politicians pursue drugs policy that is irrational and corrupt.

 

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 17, 2020 at 5:25 pm

Facebook Moderation and Censorship AKA ‘Community Standards’ Going Haywire

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It may be automated systems going wrong or it may be another misguided crackdown on legitimate

posts but as usual with Facebook it’s impossible to get any answers, explanation or guidance.

The CLEAR team has run a Facebook page now for 10 years.  According to Facebook data it’s the second most ‘liked’ page on cannabis and drugs policy and its ‘engagement’ is usually in the top three of all similar pages worldwide.

We’ve experienced everything crazy that Facebook has thrown us over those 10 years.  But in the past few weeks the inexplicable and quite ridiculous censorship has reached new levels.

Over the years, our page has been hijacked three or four times by breaches in Facebook’s (not CLEAR’s) security. On each occasion it has taken up to a month to regain control which has involved endless unanswered messages and emails.  Most recently Facebook has required notarised statements and evidence to restore control to our admins even though they have 10 years history on record.  On one occasion, whilst the page was out of our control, Facebook took no notice at all of a stream of hardcore porn videos that were posted day after day.

Facebook’s attitude to cannabis and drugs policy is wildly inconsistent. It goes through periods of not taking any notice at all to what’s happening at present, which is where even the most innocuous mentions get sanctioned.  Even links to academic, scientific and medical papers or research get removed on the basis that they are ‘promoting drug use’ or even more absurd, ‘selling drugs’.

Today, it has removed one post in which Lisa Quarrell has been told that the NHS will not pay for her son’s medicinal cannabis because she had previously ‘gone private’ to obtain it and it would be an ‘improper use of NHS funds’.  It has also removed a post about a designer who has been ordered to pay Starbucks $500,000 because he designed a bong that looks like a Starbucks coffee cup.

Peter Reynolds was recently blocked from posting, first for three days and then for seven days for posting a meme inviting subscriptions to our email newsletter, the CLEAR Daily News.  This, apparently, is ‘selling drugs’.  We’ve been posting exactly the same meme regularly for over two years with no problem at all.

What’s really worrying is that two long online ‘chats’ with Facebook concierge support (available to advertisers) achieved nothing except for mindless repetition that the post ‘goes against community standards’.  These are real people constrained to the role and inteligence of a bot, unable to think or exercise any discretion.

Meanwhile the endless, lunatic, conspiracy theories on vaccines, Bill Gates, 5G, coronavirus, etc. fill up the newsfeed.  Reports indicate that child porn,  fraudulent scams, misuse of celebrities’ images, terrorist ideology and violence are still not under control.

Facebook is an essential tool for any business, NGO or campaign.  You simply have to be on it. It’s a monopoly that is out of control.  In reality it seems to have more power over governments and regulators than they have over it. It needs to be broken up. The fact that it is also Instagram and WhatsApp is a ridiculous state of affairs.  How have Zuckerberg and his bots been able to get away with this?  Their ‘community standards’ or at least the enforcement are clearly an abuse of US constitutional rights and that is the only jurisdiction of which they take any notice.

CLEAR has put many tens of thousands of pounds into Facebook advertising.  Pages now have to pay if they want to reach their followers.  Before the algorithms changed all our posts would reach thousands of people, sometimes hundreds of thousands. In the last couple of years in many instances that has gone down to single figures. All the time, money and expertise we have invested in Facebook is being wasted.  We have been cheated out of it by this out-of-control, arrogant monolith.  As of this week our executive committee has stopped all Facebook advertising for good. It’ll make no difference to Facebook of course, until thousands of others do the same thing but we are not going to give them any more of our members’ money.

We will continue to do our best to bring our followers the news in the face of this draconian censorship.  All our posts are also on Twitter which is in many ways (not always!) a better and more adult forum but, of course, it’s very unfocused and inflexible.  The minute that there is a viable alternative to Facebook, CLEAR will be off.  It’s a phenomenon that has run its course. We need more intelligently managed and properly regulated online media to communicate through.

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 9, 2020 at 2:11 pm