Advertisements

Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘regulated

“Outrageous Scaremongering” Over Cannabis

with 15 comments

Last October,  36-year old Julie Ryan was found dead in bed by her three children, now aged 14, 13 and 8.  At a coroner’s inquest in Oldham last week, pathologist Dr Sami Titi said “The direct cause of her death was cardiac arrest because of a history of smoking cannabis”.

Dr Sami Titi

Julie’s family claims that this is not true, that Julie’s cannabis use has been blamed because the Royal Oldham hospital failed to treat her properly. In Britain, there has only been one previous occasion when a death has been attributed to cannabis. In 2004, Lee Maisey, 36 of Pembrokeshire, who smoked half a dozen “joints” a day, was found dead on his living room floor after complaining of a headache.

At the inquest in Oldham, the coroner, Simon Nelson, was said to be surprised at the pathologist’s story and questioned him closely. Dr Titi insisted that “smoking of cannabis is well known to have a negative impact on the heart and can cause heart attacks in young people”. The coroner said that in 15 years he had never heard a pathologist so confident that cannabis could be fatal. He recorded a narrative verdict of “death from cardiovascular complications induced by cannabis smoking”.

Coroner Simon Nelson

Julie’s brother, Kevin Ryan, says that the pathologist’s remarks are “outrageous scaremongering”. Her mother, Linda, is bewildered by events. As planned, Julie’s children had stayed with her while the inquest was taking place. Now they have returned home to the furore of this extraordinary verdict and are extremely distressed.

Julie had visited the Royal Oldham hospital several times complaining of chest pains but been sent away with a diagnosis of heartburn. The post mortem examination revealed she had a severely enlarged heart and had suffered a previous heart attack which had not been diagnosed. Family sources said “It’s a cover up. Cannabis doesn’t kill. They made a big mistake.” Mary Burrows, Julie’s cousin, who was very close to her, said she preferred to smoke cannabis rather than have a drink and that “she was a wonderful mother and her kids miss her so much”.

Dr Mark Eckersley, a local Manchester doctor, said “More and more pressure is being piled on medical professionals to propagate this type of untruth by the powers that be.” He said doctors need to maintain credibility with the community and that “this type of nonsense makes my blood boil”.

A spokesman for the Royal Oldham hospital said “Miss Ryan died from a heart attack and cardiovascular problems. Our thoughts and sympathy go to her family.”

On 2nd November in California, Proposition 19 is expected to permit the personal use of cannabis for the state’s 28 million adults. As a result, new tax revenues of $1.4 billion are anticipated, up to 110,000 new jobs and a boost of up to $18 billion to the state’s economy from spin-offs such as coffee shops and tourism.

In America, any health concerns about the plant are far outweighed by health benefits. Medical cannabis is already regulated in 14 states with another 12 in the planning stage. In Britain, Sativex, a whole plant extract of cannabis, was recently authorised as a treatment for MS. It costs about eight times what medical cannabis costs in America, Holland, Spain, Israel and very shortly Germany, where there is a fully regulated supply chain. In Britain, despite a House Of Lords Scientific Committee recommendation, the government refuses to consider such a move. Many patients whose doctors have prescribed Sativex have been denied funding from their health authority. In some of these cases, criminal prosecutions have been brought against them for cultivating their own plants.

A spokesman for GW Pharmaceuticals, developers of Sativex, said “The therapeutic ratio for cannabis is so high that it is virtually impossible to ingest a fatal dose”.

Prof. David Nutt

Professor David Nutt was sacked as chairman of the Home Office’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs last year after claiming that cannabis was less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. His successor, Professor Les Iversen, also maintains that cannabis has been “incorrectly” called dangerous and says it is one of the “safer recreational drugs”.

On Friday, Professor Nutt said cannabis “seems to cause much less harm than alcohol and that banning the plant is “unjust and therefore undemocratic”. He added: “The previous government’s policy to deter cannabis use by forceful policing increased convictions for cannabis possession from 88,000 in 2004 to 160,000 in 2008. As well as ruining many lives through getting a criminal record, this added massive costs to taxpayers in extra policing and prison costs.”

Prof. Les Iversen

Dr Sami Titi, the pathologist, was unavailable for comment and did not respond to emails. It has not been possible to identify any scientific support for his conclusions.

Julie Ryan’s family is left bemused and uncertain by this verdict. Three children are without a mother and confused about contradictory messages. The 13 year old has been posting on websites about her concerns. Meanwhile, the Public Accounts Committee and the National Audit Office have criticised the government for basing drugs policy on opinion rather than evidence. James Brokenshire, the Home Office Minister, in direct contradiction to his own advisers, continues with the story that cannabis is “extremely harmful”.

James Brokenshire

Both David Cameron and Nick Clegg are on record over the last 10 years as consistently calling for reform in drug policy. The Your Freedom website has been overwhelmed with requests for evidence based regulation of drugs and the legalisation of cannabis but the government is riding roughshod over this public outcry. A consultation document on a new drugs strategy was issued just over a week ago but it seems meaningless and dishonest as all the big decisions have already been taken. Cannabis campaigners, working on behalf of six million regular users in the UK, are outraged at what they see as hypocrisy, misinformation and regressive government action.

Dr Mark Eckersley, exasperated and concerned at the pathologist’s evidence said “This is simply not true. Hearing this story is more likely to cause a heart attack than the ingestion of any cannabinoid”.

Advertisements

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 31, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Posted in Health, Politics

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

There Are Lies, Damned Lies And Then There’s Gordon Brown

with one comment

How he has the bare faced cheek to claim that he’s been saying “for months” that the banks should have been more tightly regulated!!  The man has been incredible for some time but even for him this latest, astonishing volte face is truly astounding.

The Big Fibber

Our Prime Minister is nothing short of a liar.  When he appears tonight on the first ever great TV debate let us hope that his true colours are revealed.  Messrs Cameron and Clegg have the opportunity to drive home the coffin nails into Gordon Brown’s premiership.  Let them strike hard and true.  The country needs relief from this shabby little man, his putrid ideas and his shameful politics.

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 15, 2010 at 2:20 pm

OFT – Incompetence, Conspiracy, Paper Tiger Or All Three?

with 3 comments

I’m one of the lucky ones.  I recovered over £2000 of illegal penalty charges from the Nationwide and HSBC a couple of years back before the High Court stayed all the claims.  I had the great pleasure of walking into HSBC’s Kilburn branch with a judgment stamped by the Bow County Court (local to its Canary Wharf headquarters).  I demanded my money there and then and created a right hiatus in the branch!  I didn’t get it then but I did the following day in crisp £50 notes.

Den Of Thieves

It goes without saying that the banks are all, without exception, cheats, thieves, liars and lowlife scoundrels.  That’s why millions of people were relying on the Office Of Fair Trading to stand up for them.  The OFT’s decision now to drop their action against the banks is a national disgrace of monstrous proportions.  Although we cannot be sure of exactly who is behind this scandal, the fact that dishonesty, corruption and theft are at the root of it is manifest and crystal clear.

The banks were making around £7 billion a year in charges, most of which were for unauthorised overdrafts.  Claimants would have been able to claim for six years of charges so the banks have been let off a £40 billion hook.  Never have the British people been so let down by those who are supposed to protect them.

The High Court first made the extraordinary decision that these charges were not penalty charges.  This is nonsense.  HSBC actually described many of their charges to me as “card misuse” – so is that a penalty or not?.  Of course they were and as such were illegal and unenforceable at law.  When the banks debited your account like this they were committing theft and they’ve got away with it scot free.

It has now been well established that the actual cost to the banks of these transactions were less than £2 each when they were charging their customers up to £40 a time.

It must be truly astonishing to any right minded person that the OFT has backed down.  Even in the last Supreme Court judgement the OFT was given a clear hint, more like an invitation, that it should revert to the Court on a different basis.  So what possible reason can there be for abandoning the claim?

There can be no doubt that this decision is improper.  I wonder why it was announced on 22nd December when the entire country was at the peak of its pre-Christmas mass hysteria?

Two Faced Coward

John Fingleton, the OFT’s chief executive, should resign immediately.  He is either corrupt or weak.  He certainly has no integrity because whatever pressure or bribery has been put upon him he should have fought to his last breath to stop this massive crime by the banker robbers.

We cannot rely on these paper tigers of consumer protection.  We certainly cannot rely on government.  It is doubtful that our self-serving, whipped and bullied MPs will do anything meaningful.   It seems the only option now may be molotov cocktails through the door of every bank premises throughout the country.   How else are we supposed to protect ourselves when we are so badly let down?

We live in an entirely monetised society.  It is impossible to function without a bank account.  Therefore, the banker robbers must be regulated virtually to death.  Their policies and profits must be ruthlessly controlled.  Their crimes must not be overlooked but punished severely with massive multi-billion pound fines for the institutions and long prison sentences for the responsible executives.