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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Archive for the ‘Consumerism’ Category

People of Cannabis, the ‘M’ Word is Exactly the Same as the ‘N’ Word. Rule It Out.

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Written by Peter Reynolds

March 2, 2019 at 9:10 pm

Cannabis and CBD. UK and EU Bureaucrats -v- The People and Parliament.

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For decades, public opinion and knowledge on cannabis has been way ahead of those in Parliament and civil servants in the Home Office and the Department of Health.

In other countries, governments have been more ready to update themselves on scientific knowledge and they are more speedily held to account through more effective democracies. At last, the UK Parliament has acted on access to cannabis for medical use as it should have 20 years ago.  Both Canada and the Netherlands introduced legal access in 2001 and California even five years before that.

But the will of Parliament is being stifled and subverted by bureaucracts in the NHS and the Department of Health.  As MPs are never shy to remind us, under our constitution, Parliament is supreme.  That makes the conduct of these civil servants unlawful.  They are being obstructive about the prescribing of cannabis.  They need to be compliant with the law or they become guilty of maladminstration.  We should have no more patience with this wilful misconduct.  Their responsibility is to facilitate implementation of the law, not find ways to delay it because of their personal opinions.

The same goes for the Home Office which has done absolutely nothing to revise its cannabis licensing policy in accordance with the new regulations.  Well-qualified, experienced, international corporations, willing to make multimillion pound investments in Britain to produce the cannabis-based products (CBPMs) which we need are being refused licences for no good reason. If the products are not available, how will they ever reach the patients who Parliament has decreed are entitled to access them?

For 50 years, the Home Office has run a systematic campaign of disinformation because it is institutionally opposed to cannabis. Until Sajid Javid, civil servants have thwarted the efforts of all minsters that have tried to introduce any drugs policy reform.  Now he has to stand up against the subversive forces within his own department or someone has to fund judical review of the Home Office’s maladminstration of cannabis licensing. Just as in the Windrush Scandal, the Home Office maintains a ‘hostile environment’ based on senior civil servants’ personal prejudices rather than the best interests of Britain and now, the law.

CBD. Big Pharma Protectionism, Bureaucrat Box-Ticking or Both?

Many people are not yet aware of the meddling that is going on with CBD products.  There is a real threat that they could be removed from sale within the next few months.  This depsite their soaring popularity with the public and that hundreds, if not thousands of people are now employed in our burgeoning CBD industry.

CBD products are, in fact, whole plant extracts from low-THC cannabis which meet the criteria under drugs law to be exempt.  They have become very popular because people were seeking a legal way of accessing the medicinal benefits of cannabis which have become widely understood, mainly as the internet has provided knowledge previously suppressed by government and media scaremongering.

Two years ago, the meddling began as civil servants from the MHRA, the medicines regulator, stepped in with heavy-handed threats to close the market down because of unlawful medicinal claims.  To be fair, there was good justification for this.  Medicines regulation is an essential function of government, otherwise we will have snake oil confidence tricksters selling coloured water as a cancer cure.  So CLEAR acted and organised a response to the MHRA from the leading CBD companies.  Now, the responsible and ethical companies have regulated themselves, stopped making medicinal claims and market their products as food supplements, just like vitamins and minerals than can help to maintain health and boost wellness.

So CBD companies have successfully negotiated their way through both drugs and medicines law but now the food police have stepped in with yet more problems.  This time the civil servants objections are entirely unnecessary and unjustifiable but they are the most serious threat that CBD companies and consumers have faced.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) from the UK and its opposite numbers in other EU countries have placed cannabis extracts in the EU Novel Foods Catalogue, which is for products that have not been consumed to a significant degree in the EU before 1997. This means that without going through a lengthy and very expensive authorisation process, all CBD products could become unlawful to sell.

Why?  When I met with the FSA and its novel foods team just over a week ago, it acknowledged that the purpose of the novel foods regulations was to ensure that food products and supplements are safe.  It also confirmed that it had no evidence that cannabis extracts or CBD products are unsafe. So, on the face of it, this seems to be simply a matter of bureaucrats who want their boxes ticked, for no other reason than that is what bureaucrats do.

But the widely-held opinion from those in the know, is that what is really behind this are the vested interests of painkiller companies who are seeing a big impact on sales of their products. Even the World Health Organization has recently given CBD an unequivocal endorsement as safe and effective, whereas the toxicity of paracetamol, ibuprofen, other NSAIDs and opioids is now well understood.

You see, however CBD products are sold, it is an indisputable fact that they are purchased for their medicinal benefit – and that they work.  This is a big threat to pharmaceutical company profits and so they are wielding their big stick.  They tried through the MHRA to close down CBD and now they are trying through the FSA.

Exactly the same thing is happening in the USA.  The recent passage of the Farm Bill has removed CBD from the Controlled Substances Act but now the FDA (which combines the functions of our MHRA and FSA) has stepped in and said it is illegal to sell as a food supplement because it is the active ingredient in a licensed medicine.

We Will Overcome

So a battle royal is starting.  What the outcome will be is uncertain.  It is complex and multi-threaded.  Different strategies are being developed and varying ideas are being put forward as to how to deal with this threat.  Many people now rely on CBD for their health and the imminent threat of it not being available is a danger to individuals and so to our entire society.

Whatever happens, I am certain that commonsense and the people will prevail.  For a century, the use of cannabis as medicine has continued despite every effort from governments and vested interests to stamp it out.  The same will happen with CBD.  Even it it disappears from the high street, it will continue to be available online and if it can’t be sold as a food supplement, it will move into a new category.

Once again, it will take politicians far too long to wake up and out-of-control civil servants will try to pursue their own agenda which, I am quite sure, is under the corrupt and improper influence of big business.  It will be challenging and very difficult but the people have dealt with these dark forces before and we will continue to do so.

Written by Peter Reynolds

February 10, 2019 at 2:19 pm

Daily Mail Profits From Illegal Advertising For Cannabis

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On the same day that the Mail publishes yet another inaccurate and misleading article on cannabis and CBD in particular, it is carrying a full page advertisement for CBD which breaches medicines, food and advertising law.

The ad, from Woods Supplements at https://www.woodshealth.com/, claims medicinal benefits for its product for joint pain, migraine, psoriasis, acne, depression, pain and inflammation.

While there is probably a substantial amount of truth in these claims, it is unlawful to make them without the product having a licence or marketing authorisation (MA) from the MHRA.

Why does this matter? I advocate for the medicinal use of cannabis in all its forms, so why would I object to any company making these claims?

Medicines regulation is essential, otherwise we will have people selling bottles of coloured water as a cancer cure.  Most CBD companies are responsible and understand it is unlawful to make medicinal claims, so irresponsible companies like Woods Supplements need to be stopped.  They are stealing business from responsible companies. So Woods Supplements is NOT a reputable company as it claims in its ad.

But despite the MHRA regularly flexing its muscles and talking tough, it does nothing.  There is simply no enforcement going on. Remember in 2016, it threatened to shut the entire CBD industry down over medicinal claims?  Most companies work extremely hard at considerable cost to stay compliant but the MHRA does nothing to support them.

As for the Daily Mail, scourge of truth about cannabis, profiting by illegal advertising, what should be done?  Well as these offences can result in a two year jail term and the publisher and editor of the Daily Mail are clearly complicit in them, when we can expect to see them marched from their desks in handcuffs?

Presumably the directors of Woods Supplements will be waiting at HMP Brixton to welcome them.

Written by Peter Reynolds

January 30, 2019 at 4:53 pm

Another Attack by Bureaucrats on CBD and its Consumers

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Today’s article in the Daily Mail on CBD follows that publication’s usual pattern – there is a kernel of truth but on top of that is piled inaccuracy upon misleading comment upon nonsense.

So let’s deal with the truth and send the nonsense back to the Daily Mail where it belongs.

Within the last few days it has emerged that the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), has been working surreptitiously with its opposite numbers in four other EU countries to add all products derived from cannabis except hempseeds to the EU Novel Food Catalogue. This step has been taken without any communication or consultation with the CBD industry or the millions of consumers benefiting from the products. It is important to understand that inclusion in this catalogue does not create law.  Suppliers of CBD are entitled to continue marketing their products if they consider they are not ‘novel’.

What does ‘novel’ mean?  The EU novel foods legislation states that any food or ingredient used in foods that was not in widespread use prior to 1997 will be subject to an authorisation process that must demonstrate either evidence of widespread use prior to 1997 and/or that it is safe.

To be clear, the Daily Mail’s claim that this means “experts probe whether it has any real health benefits” is nonsense. It has nothing to do with that at all.

Love Hemp, CBD market leaders

Anyone who has any knowledge at all about cannabis will understand how ludicrous it is to suggest that it is ‘novel’ in any form.  It is even described as the oldest cultivated plant in the Guinness Book of Records. It is widely recognised to have been cultivated for at least 12,000 years.

So this move by the FSA and its equivalents in France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands is, demonstrably, bureaucracy for bureaucracy’s sake. Cannabis is the oldest crop cultivated and used by mankind. Asking for evidence of its widespread use before 1997 is no different and as absurd as asking for the same evidence for wheat or barley.

The CBD industry and consumers faced a similar atack from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in 2016.  Then, as now, it was CLEAR that stepped in and organised the response.  The MHRA quickly backed off, accepted that it had no power to carry out a wholesale shutdown of the industry and the leading CBD companies began a process of self-regulation which has led to the development of a very successful marketplace.  Millions of consumers now gain great benefit from CBD products which help to maintain health and improve wellbeing.

Whichever side of the Brexit debate you are on, it is precisely this sort of overbearing, oppressive bureaucracy at an EU level that led many people to vote leave. There can be no sensible suggestion that CBD is harmful.  In 2017, the World Health Organisation (WHO) published an unequivocal conclusion that CBD “does not cause harm”. It is, therefore, safe and is demonstrated to be so by thousands of years of use.  So why is the EU and the FSA, its agent in the UK, engaged in this spurious and wholly unnecessary attack?  Can it be for any other reason than simply to sustain the bureaucracy and create work for the bureaucrats keeping them in their comfortable jobs?

It remains to be seen whether the FSA will try to explain its actions.  CLEAR’s trade association for CBD businesses, Cannabis Professionals (CannaPro), has been dealing with the FSA for some time and trying, unsuccessfully, to obtain straight answers. We participated in a conference which included the Head of Novel Foods in December 2018 and only yesterday we wrote to him complaining that, if anything, the situation was becoming more confused.  Now, unconfirmed statements from the FSA suggest that it is requesting Trading Standards to work with it on ‘enforcement’ and to remove CBD products from shelves. In our view the FSA and Trading Standards would be exceeding their lawful authority if they took this action as inclusion in the EU Novel Food Catalogue does not represent law.

It’s also important to understand the context in which the FSA bureaucrats are flexing their muscles and trying to talk tough.  For some time, CBD isolate has been in the EU Novel Food Catalogue and it has been genrally accepted by the industry that it is genuinely novel.  All responsible businesses have stopped selling isolate but there are a host of disreputable companies still selling isolate and neither the FSA nor Trading Standards have taken any enforcement action whatsoever.

Similarly, when the MHRA tried to get tough in 2016, it had a legitimate complaint that unlawful claims of medicinal benefit were being made.  All responsible businesses have ceased to make such claims but the marketplace is still full of confidence tricksters and the MHRA has taken no enforcement action whatsoever.  There are full page advertisements appearing in newpapers (including the Daily Mail) making the most outrageous medicinal claims but the MHRA does nothing. And this lack of enforcement severely damages responsible businesses that are working hard to remain compliant.

So, the truth is that even when justified and necessary, no enforcement is taking place.  In austerity Britain, even if you report a burglary or a car theft, the police will do nothing about enforcement.  The FSA’s action may well cause some of the major retailers to step back from the market.  It will certainly cause unnecessary confusion and damage to this burgeoning market but there is zero chance that it will stop people buying and selling CBD products.  Thousands of jobs now depend on the British CBD industry and millions of people find the products helpful and beneficial.

Key Points of Advice and Guidance

Don’t panic.  If you’re using CBD it will continue to be available. You might find it easier to buy it online in future.

Don’t panic.  If you’re a CBD business, the future remains bright, you should be used to a few obstacles in your path!

Don’t panic.  If you are visted by Trading Standards, stay calm and explain that your products contain nothing ‘novel’ and have been in widespread use for hundreds of years.

Don’t panic.  All CannaPro Certified businesses will have support in compiling evidence that your products are not ‘novel’. You are entitled to be given time to submit this.

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A final point that needs to be made on this subject.  When CLEAR organised the successful response to the MHRA’s intervention in 2016, it led directly to the establishment of the Cannabis Trades Assocation UK (CTA).  For reasons concened mainly with the ethical conduct and antecedents of Mike Harlington, who we appointed to run the CTA, we, along with many CBD businesses have disassociated themselves. This is turn led to the formation of Cannabis Professionals.

One of the main concerns about Harlington were his false claims of a ‘special relationship’ with the MHRA and FSA. These events should put the final nail in the coffin of those lies.  He and the CTA have had more than two years to establish a successful working relationship with these authorities but this has clearly been an absolute failure.  More than ever, the UK’s legal cannabis, CBD and hemp businesses need proper and effective representation.  Clearly, the CTA is unable to provide that.

Bring Billy Home. The NHS Has Denied Him His Medicine Again. He Is Back In Canada.

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It’s probably the most shocking outcome of the new regulations on cannabis that the boy whose story created the change is in exile again.

Billy Caldwell, loved and adored by the whole nation, is back in Canada with his mum Charlotte because there is not a specialist doctor in the UK who will prescribe the medicine he needs.

He has written a heartbreaking letter to Santa, saying he doesn’t want any toys this year “My Xmas wish is to go home with my medicine”.


I doubt whether there has ever been a time when the British people’s opinion of doctors is sinking so fast.  Previously held in absolute reverence, more and more are realising that doctors are only human and some of their human characteristics are, frankly, disappointing.  I’ll go further, some are disgusting.

Dr Chad Taylor of Jersey General Hospital

Doctors no longer sign the Hippocratic Oath but they are expected to abide by professional standards. You’d expect ethics or morals to be at the top but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Many are uninformed, frightened, ignorant or ideologically opposed to the use of cannabis as medicine.

In some cases, such as Dr Chad Taylor, they prefer their duty to their professional body than their duty to their patients.  Dr Taylor says he has “no intention of bending to this pressure” and insists that his “only obligation as a medical practitioner is I’m duty-bound to follow my professional guidance”.

Dr Tom Smith of Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital

Another, Dr Tom Smith, falsely claimed in writing that he wasn’t “allowed” to prescribe for chronic pain, despite his patient having previously found cannabis effective when prescribed in Holland.  Strong opioids don’t work for his patient but all Dr Smith could say was that the epidemic in opioid addiction could soon be an epidemic in cannabis addiction.

The level of ignorance, wild misinformation and bigotry amongst these so-called professionals is astonishing.

Returning to Billy’s story,  CLEAR has been able to offer advice and guidance to Charlotte Caldwell which we believe provides a method by which Billy may legally return home with his medicine in time for Christmas.  That’s the Christmas gift we all want – but not just for Billy. We want British doctors to open their eyes and their ears and start learning what doctors all over the USA, Canada and the rest of Europe already know, cannabis is a very safe and effective medicine.  Instead of being afraid of it they need to start putting their patients first.

Written by Peter Reynolds

December 12, 2018 at 4:59 pm

If The UK Government Refuses To Obey Parliament There Is No Longer Any Rule Of Law. Do As You Will.

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The corruption and arrogance of Theresa May, her ministers, her government and the Conservative Party cannot be more clearly demonstrated than in their refusal to comply with the Parliamentary resolution to publish the legal advice on Brexit.

Parliament is supreme.  It is also the highest court in the land, higher even than the Supreme Court. Its will is the law.

And if the deeply corrupt Theresa May pursues this path, the rule of law no longer applies in the UK.  In which case, do as you will. I urge you however to continue to comply with common law and natural justice.  Do nothing that harms or infringes the rights of anyone else.

The most obvious example is grow your own cannabis.  If Theresa May doesn’t want to obey Parliament, there’s no reason why you should either.

Written by Peter Reynolds

December 4, 2018 at 12:13 pm

CLEAR Announces New Policy On Home Cultivation Of Cannabis

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In the past, CLEAR has refused to carry advertising or information from seed banks.  The view we have taken is that although seeds are perfectly legal until germinated, promoting them is precious close to incitement to break the law and the position that we have maintained is to promote reform of the law.

Our position on this has changed.

Typical small grow tent 60cm x 60cm

Cannabis for medical use is no longer a matter for the criminal law. However, the absurd NHS guidelines are preventing doctors from prescribing freely. The entire purpose of the reforms is being subverted by ignorance. The doctors responsible for the guidance are preferring their own cowardice, reluctance to learn and the comfort of established prejudice rather than patients’ best interests.

People who need cannabis as medicine, unless they are fortunate enough to have one of the very few well informed doctors, have only two choices – go private, where doctors will typically make more independent decisions, or continue to source their medicine from the criminal market.

In these circumstances the ethical and economic choice is to grow your own.

With modern equipment, for an investment of just £200 – £300, one or two autoflowering plants can be grown in a purpose-designed tent with a modest power lamp, perhaps 250 watts, and odour filtration.  It takes only a little practice to produce a reliable harvest of 100 – 150 grams of high quality bud every three months, sufficient for most personal needs.

Although technically this remains a criminal offence, provided you are discreet and respectful of others, there is very little chance of detection and there is hardly any enforcement going on anyway.  The police don’t have the time and resources to deal with violent crime and burglaries, let alone someone growing for peronsal use only.  If you have a medical condition for which there is evidence cannabis can help, the chances of being prosecuted for one or two plants are very small.

Written by Peter Reynolds

November 22, 2018 at 6:55 pm

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