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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Mail On Sunday

Last Week The Anti-Cannabis Gutter Press Launched An Attack On Mike Barnes. This Week It’s My Turn.

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Jonathan Bucks

 

 

 

 

An email popped into my inbox this morning announcing the Mail on Sunday’s intention to ‘do a hatchet job’ on me in tomorrow’s edition, just as it did to my friend and colleague Mike Barnes last weekend.  The email and my response are published below.

Evidently, cub reporter Jonathan Bucks took umbrage at my response to his work last weekend. My tweets from my own account and CLEAR’s seem to have upset him.  It’s no surprise at all of course to see a Mail publication using its power to bully an individual. That’s the way the Fleet Street Mafia works.  Six years ago it branded me a ‘cannabis zealot’ because I insisted on some scientific accuracy rather than hysterical scaremongering. See: ‘Boasts of cannabis zealot who forced anti-drugs JP to quit: Campaigner who made complaint says drug is ‘safer than peanuts”

From: Jonathan Bucks <Jonathan.Bucks@mailonsunday.co.uk>
Sent: 15 December 2018 09:37
To: peterreynolds@clear-uk.org
Subject: Mail on Sunday request

Hi Peter

Jonathan Bucks from the Mail on Sunday here.

Tomorrow (16th) we will be running a story naming both you and CLEAR. Specifically, we will be reporting that CLEAR has changed its policy and is encouraging people to buy cannabis seeds so they can grow their own cannabis. This is despite CLEAR’s claims that it ‘does not advocate, condone or encourage breaking the law’ and it ‘exists to promote a change in the law by legitimate means’.

We will also be reporting that in the past you have made anti-Semitic and homophobic comments on your blog. We will be reporting that you described Jewish people as ‘evil’ and Israel as ‘the Nazi power in the world’.

We will also report that you wrote: ‘Homosexuality is a perversion from the norm and gay culture has been allowed virtually to extinguish heterosexual influence in the fashion industry.’

This is a chance for you to make any comments you wish regarding the change in policy, as well as explain the offensive remarks you have made in the past.

I would be grateful if you could please get back to me by 3pm today (15th).

Kind regards

Jonathan Bucks

Mail on Sunday reporter

From: peter@peter-reynolds.co.uk <peter@peter-reynolds.co.uk>
Sent: 15 December 2018 11:29
To: ‘Jonathan Bucks’ <Jonathan.Bucks@mailonsunday.co.uk>
Subject: RE: Mail on Sunday request

Dear Jonathan,

Yes, CLEAR has changed its policy on home cultivation.  It is no longer against the law to use cannabis for medicinal purposes and I congratulate Sajid Javid on taking the law out of the equation completely.  The problem now is an appalling ignorance of the science and the evidence amongst doctors. While lack of knowledge can be excused, bigotry, refusal to educate themselves and placing their caution and fear above the interests of patients cannot.  The dreadful NHS guidelines are preventing patients accessing the medicine they need and it seems only private doctors have the courage to make their own decisions.  In these circumstances the ethical and economical choice is to grow your own.

I am neither anti-semitic nor homophobic. On the contrary, I regard tolerance and liberty as the most important principles. Only those who seek to twist my words make these deliberate misinterpretations.

I do not regard Jewish people as evil.  In some ways they are as much victims of the evil Israeli regime as all the inhabitants of Palestine.  It is a fact that the violent oppression, apartheid and vicious policies pursued by Netanyahu’s war criminal government are closely comparable with the Nazi regime.

Yes, homosexual culture does dominate the fashion industry which is an imbalance that would be better corrected.  The context of my remarks was in discussing dangerously underweight models who look more like boys than women. It will be no surprise to see your ‘newspaper’ publish my remarks out of context. See my full article from 2009 here: https://peter-reynolds.co.uk/2009/06/13/size-0-the-politically-incorrect-truth/

Thank you for asking for my comments.  My remarks are not offensive unless you choose to interpret them that way.  I have been subject to the same and similar fake allegations and smears previously.  The High Court considered whether they could be justified and as a result issued an Injunction prohibiting their repetition in 2014, see https://peterreynolds.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/high-court-injunction-250714.pdf

A very Merry Christmas to you.

Kind regards,

Peter Reynolds

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Written by Peter Reynolds

December 15, 2018 at 11:56 am

‘This House Would Legalise Cannabis’. Reynolds v Hitchens. University Of Southampton, 29th September 2016.

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southampton-uni-cannabis-debate-crop

A vote was taken before the debate started: For the proposition: 49  Against the proposition: 18  Abstain/undecided: 17

A Good Attendance

A Good Attendance

John Pritchard, studying economics. For the proposition.

Jacob Power, studying philosophy. Against the proposition.

Peter Reynolds, CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform. For the proposition.

Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday. Against the proposition.

A vote was taken after the debate finished: For the proposition: 57  Against the proposition: 26  Abstain/undecided: 8

My speech

I start with an assertion that I think we can all agree on – the only purpose of any drugs policy is to reduce harm.

I argue that British drugs policy, specifically on cannabis, causes far more harm than it prevents and that the solution is to legalise. But by legalise, I do not mean a free for all.  In fact, I  mean a system of regulation which minimises harm.

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, cannabis is called a “controlled drug” but nothing could be further from the truth. What every government since 1971 has done is abandon all control. They have abandoned our communities.  they have abandoned our young people and they have abandoned those who need cannabis as medicine.  All of them, Conservative, Labour and the coalition, they have abandoned us all to criminals.

The results are street dealing, dangerous hidden cannabis farms that cause fires, theft of electricity, destruction of rental properties, gangs that exploit children, both by selling them cannabis and getting them involved in dealing, human trafficking, modern slavery, most often Vietnamese children, smuggled into Britain and locked up in cannabis farms to look after the plants. And as for the product itself, it is frequently poor quality and often contaminated with toxic residues.

These are the harms that the Misuse of Drugs Act is supposed to prevent but, in fact, it creates them, promotes them and maximises them.

Now, it may surprise you to know that the law is not about protecting people from health harms.  The exact words of the Act are that it is about the misuse of drugs “having harmful effects sufficient to constitute a social problem”.  It is social harm that the Act seeks to prevent.

Which is just as well because the “harmful effects” of cannabis are very difficult to identify.  Most of what you hear is either wild exaggeration or completely false.  Even the Institute of Psychiatry, the source of many scare stories, admitted last year that its press office was misrepresenting and exaggerating its own research.

Now t’other Peter will tell you that cannabis is a dangerous drug which can cause serious, irreversible mental illness.  In a debate like this it is impossible to compare all the various scientific studies that form the body of evidence on which cannabis policy should be based.  I can certainly answer specific questions later on but for now, let’s rely, not on evidence, but on cold, hard facts.

The populist myth is that thousands of young people are afflicted by this terrible condition called ‘cannabis psychosis’.  The facts are that in the last five years there has been an average of just 28 finished admission episodes in hospitals each year for people under 18 for cannabis psychosis.

Of course these are 28 tragedies and I don’t overlook that but in public health terms it is an insignificant figure.  For instance, there are more than 3,000 finished admission episodes each year for peanut allergy but we don’t spend £500 million each year on a futile attempt to ban peanuts, do we? Yes, that’s how much we spend every year on police, courts, probation and prison services to try and stop people using cannabis.

However, it’s not as simple as that.  Apart from hospitals, thousands of people each year receive what’s called ‘treatment’ for cannabis use disorder from community health services.  Nearly 16,000 young people for the year 2014/15.

Now the only ‘treatment’ for cannabis is counselling but that’s not what this is really about.  It’s actually about trying to force people to stop using cannabis regardless of whether it’s causing any harm. Public Health England, which records these figures, shows that 89% of all those in treatment have been referred from the courts, educational institutions or some other authority.  In other words this is coercive treatment.  You have no option.  If you don’t agree the courts will impose a tougher penalty or you might get expelled from school.  Only 11% of those receiving this treatment actually decide they need it themselves.

Don’t get me wrong now, I’m neither suggesting cannabis is harmless nor that it can’t be a real problem for some people.  But I ask you this, if it has the potential for harm, is it better that we leave the entire market, now worth £6 billion per year, in the hands of criminals, or would it be better and safer for everyone if it was properly regulated and controlled?  Wouldn’t any health harms be reduced, better treated, if we had quality control, age limits, proper labelling of what you’re buying?  Isn’t this obvious, common sense?

We will continue to put most of our effort into the medical campaign because that is what morality and compassion demands   But actually, there is far more harm caused by the prohibition of recreational use.  As well as all the social harms I mentioned earlier, do you know there are one million people in the UK with a conviction for cannabis?  People whose careers, ability to travel, even their credit score can be damaged because they got caught smoking a joint. 

In all jurisdictions where cannabis is legally available, the benefits are dramatic and very easy to see.  In Holland, far fewer children use cannabis than in the UK.  Underage use is declining in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska where cannabis is legal for all adults and in the other 30 US states where medical cannabis is legal.  Crime is down, fatal traffic accidents are down, alcohol consumption is down, overdoses and deaths from dangerous opioid painkillers are down.

The prohibition of cannabis is a great force for evil in our society.  It promotes crime, it maximises the health harms of cannabis, it ruins lives, it denies people medicine that science proves will help them, it blights communities, endangers children, fritters away precious law enforcement resources.

Indeed, prohibition is a fundamentally immoral policy.  It sets the police and the courts against the communities they are supposed to protect.  After all, the demand comes from us and it is not going away.  We are adults, free human beings who are entitled to act as we wish provided it doesn’t harm others.  Our government and our police should serve us.  It is an affront to justice, to the rule of law, to morality and to each one of us that this oppressive, ridiculous, evidence-free policy persists.

Legalise cannabis now!  Please vote in favour of the motion.

The Politics Of Cannabis

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Originally Published In ISMOKE Magazine Issue 1

Cannabis is a political issue.  Make no mistake about it.  The scientific, moral, medical and health arguments have all been won.  What we need to do now is find a way to make change happen.

It’s in the prohibitionists’ interests to keep debating all the ins and outs and going through the evidence because it diverts from the imperative for change. We have to keep repeating the truth.  We have to cut through their deception and scaremongering but above all, we have to demand action.

In the US, they’ve gone way, way past the silly and irrelevant arguments about cannabis being dangerous or harmful. We like to think that we’re smarter, a more mature democracy but so many Brits are still suckers for a Daily Mail scare story. The propaganda and bigotry still prevails here.  In America they simply accept that if you abuse or misuse something it may cause you harm. They rarely even mention the psychosis theory.  Even after Congresswoman Giffords’ shooting and the stories of Jared Loughner’s marijuana use, his friends were quick to step forward and say he’d stopped some time ago and actually seemed worse and more unstable without self-medicating on cannabis.  More importantly than that, the US media reported what his friends said rather than hushing it up because it wasn’t sensational enough.

Peter Hitchens, the Mail On Sunday columnist wrote a disgusting rant about the shooting, blaming it all on cannabis and having nothing to do with the truth at all. Now the US media are ridiculing him about Britain’s Reefer Madness.  He really is an example of the very worst in journalism.  The truth means nothing to him.  He is a liar and a mendacious frightener of the vulnerable, the elderly, of children and their parents.  You will be interested to know that the Legalise Cannabis Alliance has drawn a line in the sand.  We will no longer let such nonsense go unchallenged.  A formal complaint is being made in the LCA’s name to the Press Complaints Commission.  It will be the first of many.  We will no longer allow the British media to distribute lies without calling them to account.

The War On Prohibition Can Be Won!

Prohibition is fundamentally immoral.  It is nothing less than the unjustified oppression of a section of society.  It is as pernicious and evil as racism, sexism, homophobia or any other form of prejudice. It says that, irrespective of facts, evidence, science or justice, just because we disagree with you, we will make your activity illegal. We will criminalise you, imprison you, ruin your career, endanger your family, smear you with unjustified innuendo and suspicion. We will cause you far more harm than the activity you choose ever will.

It is pretty well accepted now, worldwide, that Nixon’s war on drugs can never be won.  It makes Vietnam or Afghanistan look like a little skirmish in some backwater.  It has been responsible for far more death, misery and destruction than any war since Nixon first declared it.  There are still those who cling to its ambitions, like our favourite preppy, baby face minister James Brokenshire   But he is rather like one of those Japanese soldiers, found on some remote Pacific island, thirty years after his Emperor surrendered – still dangerous, still committed to his cause but hopelessly out of touch, in need of re-education, a very, very sad case.

The war on prohibition is now in full flow and this is a campaign that can and must be won.  It is a war that has right and justice and common sense on its side.  It is time that we marshall our forces, determine our strategy, plan our tactics and hold fast to our courage as we advance on the enemy.  I believe that this year or next marijuana will be legalised in at least one state in America.  Once the dam is broken, progress will begin to roll out all over the world.

I believe that the Legalise Cannabis Alliance is the standard around which we should rally.  We are responsible, respectable, reasonable citizens and we need to unite to fight the war on prohibition.

What is vital is that the LCA communicates its messages effectively to the right people. It seems to me that one of, if not the most important audience is members of parliament. They, after all, are the only people who can actually change the law. We therefore have to play their game by their rules.

In the documentary “In Pot We Trust”, Aaron of the Marijuana Policy Project says that one man in short hair and a suit, lobbying congressmen can achieve more than hundreds marching in the street.  I think he’s right.

The LCA must re-launch its campaign.  We must overhaul our image, update the logo and the website.  We must become conscious of our communications, control and deliver our messages with ruthless effect, use all the spin doctor tricks and techniques, just as any other political party or pressure group.

I will put on a suit and tie for the LCA because that’s what is needed to make progress with politicians, through the media and, most importantly, with the great God of public opinion.

I think we also have to consider our name.  Not throw it out for the sake of something new but recognise that “Legalise” is a word that frightens people.  They think it means an uncontrolled free for all, whereas what we argue for is fact and evidence based regulation.  We also need to consider the word cannabis.  People are frightened to have it on their Facebook profile and concerned that it may come up in a Google search when they’re applying for a new job.  We have to consider these things.  I would argue that instead of saying “Legalise Cannabis”, we might say “End Prohibition”.

So we do need to become much more professional about our communications and image. Anything put out in our name needs to be “on message” in every sense of the phrase – look, feel, content, style, etc. Each target audience needs to be addressed on its terms. We need an analysis and a plan for each individual MP and constituency. We need a rota of pro-active media communications. We need to enlist the help of celebrities who support our cause.  This needs to be done consistently and repeatedly. We need a team of people all over the country working together with a plan to succeed.

I also believe that we should re-register as a political party and field candidates in every byelection.  In fact, I would propose that we field the same candidate in every byelection and we build.the campaign and awareness over time.  I don’t expect us to win a seat in parliament but I do expect us to start being taken seriously. I want to see us on Newsnight and on Question Time.  When Debra Bell is asked for a quote or is interviewed about a cannabis story, I want us to be quoted as well and to be on the other side of the TV sofa facing down her mischief and misinformation.

Cannabis is a political issue.  If we get our act together and get serious about the war on prohibition, get serious about achieving results, explain the facts, expose the lies, then we can prevail. We can see the truth revealed.  We can win!

“My Son Played Russian Roulette With Cannabis – And Lost” – More Sensationalist Misinformation From The Mail

with 135 comments

Does Peter Wright, editor of the Mail On Sunday, have any interest in the truth, or is he just trying to squeeze the last drop of sensation, hyperbole and panic from anything to do with cannabis?

Last week, Peter Hitchens penned a disgusting diatribe of untruths which has already been sent to the Press Complaints Commission.  This Sunday’s paper will be the subject of a second complaint.  It is truly appalling, crass and cheap nonsense.  See here for the full story.

This is my response.  Whether the Mail publishes it is up to them but I and the millions of other cannabis users in Britain have had enough.  From now on, no such instance of lies and propaganda will be allowed to pass without being called to account.

My Response To The Mail On Sunday

This is a tragic story but blaming it on cannabis is not justified, nor is it helpful.

Whatever Henry’s story, the data simply does not support the idea that cannabis can cause schizophrenia.  In fact, it more strongly suggests that people who have mental illness may use cannabis to self-medicate.  It is instructive to note that Henry’s crisis arose when he had deliberately stopped using cannabis. Indeed, there is existing and continuing scientific research into cannabinoids as an anti-psychotic therapy.

This is similar to the recent story about Jared Loughner who shot Congresswoman Giffords in Arizona.  He was said to be a cannabis user but, in fact, his friends said that he had stopped using it to self-medicate and since doing so had become more unstable and strange in his behaviour.

The article mentions “Sir William Paton, professor of pharmacology at Oxford University and one of the world’s greatest experts on cannabis” but I am personally acquainted with Professor Les Iversen, a current professor of pharmacology at Oxford University, the current chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and author of many books on the subject of cannabis. Prof Iversen was also the author of an article in The Times entitled “Cannabis. Why It’s Safe” and he delivered a lecture last month entitled “Bringing Cannabis Back Into The Medicine Cabinet”.

The demonisation of cannabis is a grave mistake and a disservice to young people and their parents.  It looks almost certain that cannabis will be legalised in at least one state in the USA either this year or next.  Progress will then roll out across the world.  It’s about time that the  British media caught up to fact that, as Professor Iversen says, cannabis is “one of the safer recreational drugs”, much safer than alcohol.  It also has tremendous actual and potential benefit as medicine and Britain is way, way behind in the world in recognising this.

The Mail On Sunday’s scare stories about cannabis should be replaced with facts and information about this valuable and relatively harmless substance.

Professor Glyn Lewis of the University of Bristol said in 2009 that even on the most extreme interpretation of the data on cannabis and psychosis (a review of all published evidence) that 96% of people could use cannabis with no risk whatsoever of developing psychosis.

Six million people in Britain use cannabis regularly.  We are sick and tired of the lies that are told about us.