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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘cannabis

Let’s Nail the Home Office’s Latest Smokescreen About Medical Cannabis

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As the evidence and support for legal access to cannabis for medical use grows, so the Home Office adjusts and reframes its arguments in denial.

This should come as no surprise. The ‘hostile environment’ revealed by the Windrush scandal runs through the Home Office like a stick of rock. The culture of this department is defined by Theresa May and it reflects her character and personality. It is secretive, demands total control and micro management of everything it touches and whenever it is challenged it finds another excuse to maintain its iron rule. It is institutionally dishonest.

A Home Office spokeswoman said:

“We recognise that people with chronic pain and debilitating illnesses are looking to alleviate their symptoms. However, it is important that medicines are thoroughly tested to ensure they meet rigorous standards before being placed on the market, so doctors and patients are assured of their efficacy and safety.”

The truth is rather different. In every jurisdiction throughout the world where medicinal cannabis has been legally regulated, it is through a special system outside pharmaceutical medicines regulation. You cannot regulate a 500 molecule plant-based medicine in the same way as a single molecule synthesised in a lab.

Regulation by the MHRA is the final excuse, the last obstacle to a revolution in healthcare in the UK. We need an ‘Office of Medicinal Cannabis’ as there is in the Netherlands, or ‘Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations’ as administered by Health Canada. Colorado has its ‘Medical Marijuana Registry Program’ and other US states have similar arrangements. Israel’s Ministry of Health has its ‘Medical Cannabis Unit’. In Australia, its equivalent of the MHRA, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, has established its own set of medical cannabis regulations.

Every other government that has recognised the enormous benefit that medicinal cannabis offers has come to the same conclusion: cannabis is a special case. It is far more complex but much, much safer than pharmaceutical products.

So next time you hear this, the last, lame excuse from a government ideologically opposed to this long overdue reform, treat it and them with the contempt they deserve. They prefer that people should continue in pain, suffering and disability than that they should do what science and medicine says is right.

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Written by Peter Reynolds

May 16, 2018 at 1:46 pm

More Lies From The Home Office. A UK Government Department That Is Institutionally Dishonest.

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This deceit from the Home Office needs to be called out straightaway.  Andrew Gilligan, the Sunday Times journalist, did a great job of getting the Victoria Atkins cannabis scandal out into the mainstream and I thank him for that.  I gave him a great deal more evidence of Home Office maladministration than he used but he managed to bring out yet more brazen dishonesty in the process.

The Home Office said: “When she was appointed . . . the minister voluntarily recused herself from policy or decisions relating to cannabis, including licensing.”  This is absolute nonsense.  It is a lie of the sort that you might expect from a small child that doesn’t really understand what is dishonesty.

Ms Atkins was appointed a Home Office minster on 9th November 2017.  Since then she has spoken or provided written answers on aspects of drugs policy which either directly or indirectly concern cannabis.  In fact, for decades our government hasn’t had a drugs policy, it has its inane drug strategy which treats all drugs exactly the same.  The only difference as far as the Home Office is concerned are the penalties applied on conviction.

Ms Atkins has enaged on matters relating to drugs policy which either directly or indirectly concern cannabis on 23 occasions that I have been able to identify since she was appointed.

Organised Crime: Drugs. 23rd April 2018

Slavery: Children. 23rd April 2018

Organised Crime: Drugs. 16th April 2018

Drugs: West Midlands. 12th March 2018
Cannabis: 7th March 2018
Slavery: Vietnam. 20th February 2018
Human Trafficking: Vietnam. 6th February 2018
Drugs: Internet. 5th February 2018
Slavery: Children. 31st January 2018
Drugs: Spain. 31st January 2018
Drugs: Misuse. 29th January 2018
Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. 29th January 2018
Organised Crime: Drugs. 24th January 2018
Drug Consumption Rooms. 17th January 2018
County Lines. 17th January 2018
Organised Crime: Drugs. 8th January 2018
Misuse of Drugs: Minsterial Group. 14th December 2017
Organised Crime. 8th December 2017
Drugs: Misuse. 4th December 2017
Slavery. 30th November 2017
Drugs: Misuse. 27th November 2017
Slavery: Children. 27th November 2017

 

 

 

 

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 14, 2018 at 9:07 pm

Legalising Cannabis WOULD NOT Save £900 Million. A More Realistic Figure Is £6.7 Billion.

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The £900 million figure being touted around by the Taxpayers’ Alliance as the savings that could be achieved from legalising cannabis is a massive underestimate and isn’t based on the sort of model that is currently being implemented in US states.

CLEAR commissioned independent research in 2011 which shows that a model in the UK simlar to that in Colorado would produce a net gain to the UK economy of around £6.7 billion pa and perhaps as high as £9.5 billion pa.

Ben Ramanauskas, who authored the Taxpayers’ Alliance report, has referenced the research we commissioned in his study but has only considered the savings and not the massive opportunities for additional tax revenue which arise from bringing a £6 billion market out of the black economy.

Full study available here: https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/assets.clear-uk.org/taxukcan.pdf

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 14, 2018 at 10:14 am

The UK Government’s Latest Excuse About Medicinal Cannabis Is Yet Another Deception.

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Nick Hurd MP, Home Office Minister

Nick Hurd MP, the Home Office minister, said again this week that as far as any consideration of cannabis for medical use is concerned, the government will “await the outcome” of the report on cannabis due from the WHO in 2019 “before considering the next steps”.

In fact, the results of an FOI request show that the UK government has refused to take part in the WHO committee which will “review cannabis and cannabis-related substances on their potential to cause dependence, abuse and harm to health, and potential therapeutic applications”. This despite the WHO issuing a questionnaire to the Department of Health and Social Care “designed to gather information on the legitimate use, harmful use, status of national control and potential impact of international control”.

Aside from the obvious concerns this raises, it is quite extraordinary considering that the UK is the world’s largest producer and exporter of legal cannabis.

Fundamentally the government’s postion on cannabis for medical use hasn’t changed since 1971. Those who follow the Home Office’s statements will have noticed gradual changes but they all seek to reinforce the fundamental premise that cannabis is a dangerous drug of abuse with no therapeutic benefit.

Recent ‘adjustments’, shall we call them, of the official position have dealt with the now overwhelming weight of evidence that cannabis does have very real and significant medical value.  The response has been to caution that all medicines must go through the etablished system of testing for safety and efficacy.

This is a deception as well.  As CLEAR revealed at the beginning of 2018, in every jurisdiction throughout the world where medicinal cannabis has been legally regulated, it is through a special system outside pharmaceutical medicines regulation.

Theresa May is ideologically opposed to the use of cannabis as medicine, it’s as simple as that.  She won’t permit it to be properly considered, discussed or investigated and every time something forces a response, such as a parliamentary question or an enquiry even from a fellow Conservative MP, another deceptive excuse is conjured up.

Victoria Atkins MP, Theresa May MP. Both Have Family Interests In Cannabis For Medical Use.

CLEAR can further reveal that the Home Office’s public position on prospects for licensed cannabis medicnes is also a deception. The statement that has been published is “As happened in the case of Sativex, the Home Office will consider issuing a licence to enable trials of any new medicine…”  We can’t name names just yet but we now have first hand knowledge that at least one publicly-quoted company with established cannabis production facilities in two other G7 countries has been refused permission by the Home Office even to apply for a licence.

The UK government’s stance on cannabis becomes murkier and murkier the deeper you look.  The stench of corruption becomes overpowering when you consider that Theresa May’s husband’s company is the largest single shareholder in GW Pharmaceuticals and the husband of Victoria Atkins MP, the drugs minister, holds a licence to produce 45 acres of cannabis for medical use.

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 12, 2018 at 6:24 pm

There Was Grenfell, Then The Windrush Generation And Now Theresa May Fiddles While Alfie Dingley Faces Death

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When Will This Tyrant Be Overthrown?

The campaign to save Alfie Dingley’s life looked to have succeeded on 20th March when 108 MPs met Alfie and family at Parliament. That same day, accompanied by Sir Patrick Stewart, a petition of over 370,000 signatures was delivered to Downing Street and Theresa May herself met with the family and encouraged them that everything possible would be done to help. Originally, the Home Office were suggesting that they might issue a licence to allow a bespoke trial of medical cannabis but that changed to a suggestion that they would consider issuing a licence on a ‘compassionate basis’. They also  indicated that they might issue the licence for Alfie within days rather than weeks.

Home Office Minister Nick Hurd MP appears to support the petition delivered to Downing Street. Today (3rd May 2016) the petition has gown to over 650,000 signatures.

A  formal application for a licence was submitted to the Home Office on 16th April 2018 by Alfie’s GP and a consultant neurologist. This was raised at Prime Minister’s Questions two days later and once again Mrs May expressed sympathy and promised that the Home Office would look at it “speedily”.

Now, Hannah, Alfie’s mother, has been told that it could take up to four months for the application to be considered and even then no one can be certain what the decision will be.

Apparently this is because the medical cannabis oil needs to be ‘tested’, whatever that means.  Is this a U turn to requiring a full clinical trial to be undertaken? If so, how can a clinical trial be undertaken on one boy with a particular form of epilepsy so rare that he is said to be one of only nine boys in the world?  Clearly a clinical trial with the normal double blind testing is impossible.  So what other form of ‘testing’ needs to be carried out?

The oil has already been tested on Alfie under the supervision of a consultant neurologist in the Netherlands.  There, having experienced up to 30 seizures per day in the UK, after taking three drops of oil per day he had only two seizures in two months.  The oil is made by Bedrocan, the Netherlands government official contractor for the production of cannabis for medical use and already complies with international standards for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).

The only conclusion that can be drawn is that this is yet more procrastination and deliberate delay by a government that is notorious for its inhumane treatment of many people.  Theresa May has a long standing and well documented record of being opposed to any drug law reform and of dismissing the campaign for access to cannabis for medical use as ‘just an excuse to take cannabis’.  With the sole exception of President Duterte of the Philippines, who is engaged in a murderous campaign of extra-judicial execution of suspected drug dealers, Mrs May is the only world leader still calling for the ‘war on drugs’ to continue.

After scandal after scandal after scandal it is difficult to see what will finally bring Mrs May down.  In Britain, where the idea of democracy has become little more than a bad joke, it seems that infighting within the Conservative Party over Europe is a more likely reason for her downfall than the grave abuses of individuals for which she is ultimately responsible.

Let’s be 100% clear, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 makes specific provision for any action that would otherwise be unlawful under the Act to be permitted under licence by the Home Secretary.  It would take a single stroke of Sajid Javid’s pen to save Alfie Dingley’s life and Theresa May could have ordered that months ago.

Famously, Mrs May is a practising Christian.  Surely, there must be a special place in hell reserved for her.

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 3, 2018 at 3:54 pm

Review: The SteamCloud Mini Vape Cartridge Battery

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This product is genius. It makes vape cartridges even more convenient and easy to use.

Since I first experienced quality vape pen cartridges I’ve become convinced they are the future of cannabis, both as a consumer product for adults and as a medicine. They are neat, clean, convenient and if you choose a reputable brand they are the safest, most effective method of consuming cannabis.  The most important factors are that they are made by a safe extraction  process which nowadays usually means CO2 extraction and that the oil is ‘winterised’.  This means it goes through a secondary process to remove plant waxes, lipids, fats and chlorophyll.  The purified product is then safe for vaping.

Of course, in the UK it’s not easy to get hold of any vape cartridges. There are some good CBD products available and for anyone using these I highly recommend they invest in a SteamCloud Mini from NY Vape Shop.  I had to turn to the delights available in California to give the SteamCloud the sort of test it deserves.  I sampled a few cartridges from Absolute Xtracts.  All I can say is it is an absolute tragedy that these lovely little containers of bliss are not obtainable in the UK, in fact nowhere outside California.  If you get to take a trip to one of the enlighted US states where such products are available, you can certainly find similar cartridges and in my opinion, the SteamCloud Mini is the best way to use them.

It charges up quickly using the usual USB  cable. You have to screw on a small magnetic cap to the cartridge first (two are provided in the box) and then this lovely little device just seems to nestle perfectly in the hand, much nicer than the long and rather flimsy vape ‘pens’ which most people are using. It’s also an extremely powerful battery giving big clouds of vapour and lasting a long time.

So I give the SteamCloud Mini ten out of ten. I’d say for the modern cannabis consumer it’s as essential as your pack of kingsize papers used to be.

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 24, 2018 at 3:43 pm

The Facts About CBD In The UK. April 2018.

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This article is an update to ‘The Facts About CBD In The UK. December 2016.

The past three years have seen a true phenomenon develop around the cannabis law reform movement which has quickly crossed into mainstream society, commerce and general awareness.  It’s the explosion of the CBD market, a trade that has grown from zero to £50 million per annum in the UK in this very short period.

There has been a great deal of nonsense published about the market, the products and their legality both under drugs laws, food and medicines regulation. The facts that are set out in this article are established from close involvement with the developing market on a daily basis as well as consultation with a number of lawyers of all types and levels of experience as well as direct contact with the Home Office, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and other authorities.

The market has been driven initially because of growing interest in the medical benefits of cannabis and the recognition that, within certain constraints, products derived from low-THC cannabis, legally grown under licence as industrial hemp, are a legal alternative.  An important factor has been that CBD is most often consumed by placing a few drops of oil under the tongue. This has avoided the stigma of smoking a joint and is more in line with the way people perceive a medicine or health food.

The CBD market has also exposed the contradictions, inconsistencies and errors in the Misuse of Drugs legislation and particularly in the confused and inconsistent way in which the Home Office attempts to administer it. For instance, currently there are CBD products produced legally in other EU countries and the USA which can legally be sold in the UK but which the Home Office will not permit UK companies to produce.

Ironically, the most significant development has been that responsible CBD suppliers have moved away from claiming the sort of medical benefits that are, in fact, the reason for the market’s existence.  Although everyone knows this is why people are buying CBD, if you’re in the business of supplying the products you can’t say a thing, not even indirectly, about the medical benefits it offers.

18 months ago, all the leading and responsible suppliers of CBD products in the UK joined together to create their own trade association.  The Cannabis Trades Association UK (CTA UK) now represents 80% by turnover of all the CBD suppliers in the UK. It is governed by its members who have established a set of standards on products, labelling and marketing which all abide by.  These standards are designed to protect and inform consumers and to ensure that all CTA UK members are compliant with the law.

The formation of CTA UK was prompted by the MHRA issuing warnings to some suppliers about making medical claims for their products. To remain within the law, CBD products must be sold as food supplements and the most that can be said about them is that they help to improve and maintain health and wellbeing.  Before any product can be marketed with medicinal claims it must have a marketing authorisation from the MHRA. Food supplements must also comply with certain laws and regulations administered by the FSA.

CTA UK is now engaged in a continuous dialogue with both the MHRA and FSA.  Regular meetings are held to consider new suppliers and products entering the market to ensure they comply with the law, regulations and CTA UK standards.

When supplied by a CTA UK member, consumers can be certain that the product they are buying is 100% legal and is accurately labelled and described.  CBD is not a ’controlled drug’.  It does not appear in any of the classifications or schedules to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

There is widespread misunderstanding about the 0.2% THC limit in industrial hemp.  This is the limit in the growing plant and is not relevant to CBD products.  Clearly what may be under 0.2% in the growing plant would be far higher in an extract which is, by definition, concentrated. The Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 make it clear that any product derived from low-THC cannabis grown legally under licence as industrial hemp is “exempt” provided it contains “not more than one milligram” of THC or CBN. This is the limit that matters. See The Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 ‘Interpretation’ 2-(1) (a)(b)(c)

Contrary to suggestions that the market is “in chaos”, “half-legal”, “a bit of a mess” and other spurious claims, in fact, it is a model of self-regulation where the industry itself has put aside its competitive instincts to co-operate for the benefit of consumers and in its own long term self-interest.

No suppliers will be admitted to membership of CTAUK unless they cease making medicinal claims, stop selling illegal products (for instance with high levels of THC, described as ‘indica’ or intended for pets or veterinary purposes).  Indeed, any suppliers that continue such conduct are likely to be subject to enforcement action by the MHRA and Trading Standards.

There are further changes or clarifications in the law relating to some CBD products which have emerged in the last few weeks.  These arise out of regulations from the FSA.  Isolates or pure CBD are now no longer permitted as they have been classified as ‘novel foods’.  This could mean a prison sentence of up to two years for anyone selling them.

It’s a myth, although regularly reported in the press, that there has been any change in the law or that CBD has been made legal or classified as a medicine. CBD products can already be prescribed by doctors without any restriction, just as any other food supplement. When the inevitable cannabis law reform takes place it will still be unlawful to make medicinal claims about any CBD or cannabis product without a marketing authorisation from the MHRA.

Within the next few months, the first CBD medicine will receive a marketing authorisation from the MHRA. Epidiolex, a whole plant extract, refined to deliver 98% CBD, is GW Pharmaceuticals’ second cannabis-derived prescription medicine which is intended for severe forms of paediatric epilepsy. It is not derived from industrial hemp but from high CBD strains of cannabis grown specifically for the purpose. It should be noted that this is to be administered in massive doses of up to 20 mg per day per kg of body weight,  CBD as a food supplement for adults has a maximum recommended dose of 200mg per day.

The CBD food supplement market will continue to grow.  Other medicines may be authorised in the near future, most likely under the MHRA’s Traditional Herbal Registration scheme, which will permit them to be described as medicines for minor ailments not requiring the supervision of a doctor.

Clearly, it remains urgent that our government gets to grips with the reality of the need and benefits of cannabis for medical use in the wider sense. However, even as we begin to make progress the CBD market in its present form will continue to fulfil an important need for many years to come.