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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Uruguay

A CLEAR Response To the Liberal Democrats’ Proposals For Cannabis Regulation.

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libdem Framework_for_cannabis thumbnail

CLEAR welcomes the Liberal Democrats’ proposals which can be seen here. We set out below a few comments which we intend to be constructive.

We represent more than 600,000 people who support cannabis law reform. Our own publication, ‘How to Regulate Cannabis in Britain’ is now in its second edition.

It is based on independent, expert research which we commissioned from the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit, published as ‘Taxing the UK Cannabis Market’.

Comments on ‘A framework for a regulated market for cannabis in the UK’

1. We support a cautious approach and agree that it is better to start with stricter regulation that could, based on experience, be relaxed at a later date if appropriate.

Spectrum of Cannabis Policy

Spectrum of Cannabis Policy

We reject the diagram ‘Exploring a spectrum of options for regulating cannabis’ which paints an inaccurate picture of the effects of a legal market. Evidence from all jurisdictions that have implemented reform does not support the equivalence of ‘social and health harms’ with ‘ultra prohibition’ and ‘commercial production’. It is absolutely clear that legally regulated commercial production is far less harmful than prohibition.

Essentially, instead of a ‘U’ shaped curve, we consider an ‘L’ shaped curve is more accurate.

2. The diagram indicates a fundamental objection to the commercial model implemented in Colorado, Washington and Oregon and the report explicitly rejects the Colorado model in favour of the Uruguay model.

We disagree with this. The Colorado model is a proven success with virtually no downsides. The Uruguay model is still a theory which is yet to be proven in practice. This conclusion in the report is therefore not evidence-based. This suggests that wider political or philosophical considerations have been allowed to trump existing evidence.

3. We are concerned about the undue weight given to restricting commercial enterprise. The UK is not a socialist economy and there is a danger of a ‘nanny-state’ attitude which we cannot support. We repeat the point that it seems wider political or philosophical considerations have been allowed to prevail over actual evidence. There needs to be a balance between a ‘cautious approach’ as in 1. above and over-regulation which will only result in a continuing criminal market. The UK is a market economy and if the legal market is too strict and rigid, the illegal market will flourish.

4. We have very grave concerns about the cannabis social club (CSC) model which provides significant opportunity for the corruption of those involved into major criminal enterprises with exploitation of both workers and customers. The establishment of such ‘clubs’ is entirely unnecessary given the other more controllable methods of supply and will only lead to diversion and perhaps active marketing of excessive production through criminal networks. In other words, CSCs are a golden opportunity for the emergence of ‘drug pushers’ and they undermine the whole purpose of cautious regulation.

5. We regard the recommendation not to permit the production and marketing of ‘edibles’ as an error. If the other recommendations making raw herbal cannabis legally available are implemented then this will inevitably lead to the production and marketing of unregulated ‘edibles’, undermining the whole purpose of regulation. Far better to learn from the mistakes already made in excessively potent ‘edible’ products and introduce appropriate regulations with reduced dosages.

If anything, ‘edibles’ need regulation far more urgently than the raw product because of the potential for very unpleasant overdosing. To abrogate responsibility for this is an extremely unwise proposal and inconsistent with the whole basis for a regulated market.

6. We would encourage a more positive and supportive approach to enable producer countries such as Morocco, the Lebanon, Pakistan and Afghanistan to supply varieties of cannabis resin and hashish. Encouraging such trade under strict regulation will further undermine criminal activity and offers great potential for better relations and positive ‘soft power’ influence on these countries. We recognise the difficulties involved in this with regard to the UN conventions but consider it is a prize worth working towards.

7. For the same reasons set out above we consider that a refusal to regulate concentrates and vapouriser products undermines the whole purpose of a regulated market. Vapouriser products are almost certainly going to be an important component of the medical cannabis market. These nettles must be grasped. To avoid them is irresponsible.

8. We would argue for far more emphasis on harm reduction information, particularly about smoking and avoiding mixing cannabis with tobacco. As in 7. above, we would actively promote the choice of vapouriser products.

9. In principle we agree with the proposal for three levels of THC content and for minimum CBD content. However, there is no evidence to support the necessity for CBD content as high as 4%. The evidence suggests that levels of 1% or 2% adequately meet the desirable ‘entourage’ effects of CBD. Furthermore, at these levels, existing strains are available. Little consideration has been given to the practicalities of developing three new strains to meet the THC:CBD ratios proposed. To develop such strains and ensure they are stable and consistent is the work of several years, requiring significant investment and so undermines the ability to implement these proposals in timely fashion.

10. We consider that the ‘plain packaging’ proposal is unnecessarily restrictive in the UK’s market economy. We agree with child proof containers but would recommend that far more emphasis is given to content and harm reduction labelling. There is nothing to be gained from restricting the marketing and commercial enterprise of companies wishing to develop brands and packaging styles within strict regulations.

11. For reasons already set out we consider that the restrictions on exterior and interior retailer environments are oppressive and will be self-defeating. The UK is not accustomed to such overbearing and anti-business regulation. Existing pharmacies do not operate under such heavy restrictions and they make significant use of point-of-sale and merchandising techniques.

Overall, we welcome this document and the proposals it contains. One final point that is of significance is that clearly there was no ‘consumer’ representation on the panel and this is obvious in some of the tone and detail of the report. We recommend that account should be taken of consumer opinion in any future development of the proposals.

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Tim Farron. Another Politician Displays Total Ignorance About Cannabis.

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Tim Farron on BBC's Victoria Derbyshire show

Tim Farron on BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show

It is truly pathetic to see.  Farron clearly understands the huge harm caused by cannabis prohibition but doesn’t have the knowledge, the courage or the integrity to speak the truth.  Instead he panders to to the scaremongers and says:

“Cannabis causes psychosis”

“Cannabis is dangerous”

“People who use cannabis have a health problem”

“Cannabis is a bad thing”

The Liberal Democrat’s report ‘A framework for a regulated market for cannabis in the UK: Recommendations from an expert panel’ is a re-hash of Transform’s ‘Blueprint’ and its work on a socialist model of cannabis regulation in Uruguay.  It denigrates the highly successful commercial model introduced in Colorado and follows Transform’s evidence-free exaggeration of the harms of cannabis and its determination to impose anti-business controls on a legal cannabis market.

There is no evidence that cannabis causes psychosis.  The most that can be said is that in a very small number of genetically-vulnerable people, it may be one of many ‘component causes’.

There is no evidence that cannabis is dangerous.  The most that can be said is that it does have the potential for harm if used by children, to excess, irresponsibly or by a tiny group of people who may have an allergic reaction.  If you describe cannabis as dangerous then you have to describe peanuts, aspirin and hay fever remedies as more dangerous.  That’s without even considering comparison with the two most dangerous drugs of all: tobacco and alcohol.

Some people who use cannabis have a health problem and they use cannabis for its remarkable properties to relieve pain and other symptoms.  For most people, in moderation, cannabis is actually beneficial, helping to protect against autoimmune conditions, cancer, dementia and other diseases of aging.

For at least 95% of people who use cannabis they do so safely, without any negative consequences and it is a very good thing for their health and wellbeing.

Written by Peter Reynolds

March 8, 2016 at 11:21 am

Will Uruguay Be High?

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uruguay high

In pursuit of their World Cup ambitions, England must face Uruguay, the only country in the world where cannabis is fully legalised and regulated by the government.

But is cannabis a performance enhancing drug? Will the Uruguay players have an unfair advantage?

In America there is much debate about cannabis in sport.  It is widespread in baseball, football and almost de rigueur in ice hockey.

The evidence is that moderate cannabis use probably is performance enhancing, in that it will improve recovery, healing and general health.  Used as an intoxicant it will dull the senses for a while but far less than a night on the San Miguel.

Of course, if you’re not playing then both together is also fully acceptable in polite society nowadays, particularly if you also have a doctor’s recommendation.  So how can sport regulators deal with that?  Is it just medicine?

Written by Peter Reynolds

June 18, 2014 at 9:10 pm

The ‘Arthur Scargill’ Approach To Cannabis Law Reform Doesn’t Work.

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Arthur Scargill addressing mining industry workers in London.

“Anything less than 100% capitulation on the part of the authorities is unacceptable!

Stand together in solidarity brothers. We’ll fight them in the parks, in the streets, we will never surrender!

We’ll smoke cannabis where we want, when we want and we don’t give a damn who it upsets – ‘cos it’s our rights brothers, it’s our rights!

We’ll show ’em, If we keep defying them, keep showing we don’t care what they think, keep on smoking – WE WILL PREVAIL!”

It’s the hopeless, hapless politics of the school playground.  It doesn’t work.  It’s about defiance, civil disobedience, selfishness and bull-headed obstinacy, always with a simmering undercurrent of aggression and violence. The ‘angry stoner’ is becoming a cliche that is causing immense damage to our campaign.

Progress will be made and is actually being made in small steps by patient negotiation, compromise and hard work.  That’s real work that’s often boring, tedious and has none of the appeal of marching in the streets or sitting round in the park with your mates getting stoned.  This is what has created reform, firstly for medical marijuana in California, now 19 other US states and most recently  a genuine revolution in in Colorado, Washington and Uruguay.  These developments have been achieved despite the demos, not because of them.  Exactly the same is happening in Britain.

Legally prescribed, legally dispensed, legally imported medicinal cannabis is now in Britain.  The greatest progress in the cannabis campaign since the Dangerous Drugs Act 1925 was enacted.

Written by Peter Reynolds

September 15, 2013 at 9:24 am

The World Cup Beckons

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The Big Match

I despise football.   I really do.  It’s everything it stands for – the appalling, vulgar display of tasteless, oafish, dare I say “chav” behaviour.  It’s a thin, insubstantial sport populated by overpaid primadonnas who behave appallingly and set a terrible example to youth.

What a pompous old git I am!

It’s a completely different thing isn’t it when it gets infused with the spirit of international competition?

It’ll never be rugby though,  so those that want to see the original, totally uplifting South African story go to the 1995 Rugby World Cup finals.   That was a similar occasion but with a proper sport.  In fact,  go to Invictus, the absolutely fantastic movie which tells the whole story.

I have been taken up by it though.  Africa has a wonderful exuberance and I was caught by the romance of the first match, delighted that South Africa managed a draw.   Then, who could resist a chance to see the French go down?   And go down they did!  Well, they scraped a draw against a 10 man Uruguay side when they were the favourites.  Lovely to watch!

So it looks like I’m hooked in.   There’s nothing else on anyway.  It’s been a welcome relief from the tribes of harridan, conspiracy-obsessed bloggers in the US.  As a Brit, a Welshman living in England, I am grateful to live in a country which has a sense of perspective.   We are not of Europe.  We are certainly not of either the Middle or Far East.  Thank God we’ve got more history than the Americans.  This is still the land of the free.  Nowhere else comes close.

And tomorrow Barack Obama is going to find out whose arse is “gonna get kicked”.  Then maybe he’ll mind his manners and remember who his friends are.

En-ger-land!