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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘YouTube

Cameron On Cannabis Part 6

with 32 comments

Cameron On Cannabis Part 5 is here.

David Cameron’s mistakes about university places, immigration and cannabis have been on my mind over the Easter holiday.  Given the huge resources he has to ensure that his information is correct, it’s not really acceptable for our prime minister to be so error prone.  If the problem is that his attempts at spin are not working and he’s deliberately telling untruths but being caught out, well perhaps that’s even more worrying.

Whichever may be the case, and I’m ready to give Mr Cameron the benefit of  the doubt about his sincerity, we are entitled to call him to account.  I decided to give him another prod about the errors and mistakes he’s making about cannabis.

Dear Mr Cameron,

I refer to my last letter of 5th April 2011.

The statements you made about cannabis in your Al Jazeera YouTube interview were inaccurate and misleading.  Please will you now correct them?

“Incredibly damaging…very, very toxic…leads to, in many cases, huge mental health problems”

This is simply not true Mr Cameron. Professor Les Iversen, chair of the ACMD, your chief drugs advisor, is on the record, repeatedly, stating that cannabis is very, very low in toxicity and relatively safe.  Furthermore, all the experts agree that the risks to mental health are very, very small, certainly much less than alcohol or tobacco.

On the medicinal use of cannabis you said:

“…the science and medical authorities…are free to make independent determinations about that.”

This is also untrue Mr Cameron.  The Home Office stands obstinately in the way of medicinal use despite overwhelming, peer reviewed scientific evidence.  It denies the relief of a safe and inexpensive medicine to thousands who are trapped in pain, suffering and disability.  This is a cruel policy and a disgraceful shame on our nation.

Please will you now correct these untruths Mr Cameron?  They were your words.  You were not advised by the Home Office.  CLEAR represents the interests of at least six million regular users of cannabis in Britain, thousands of whom use it as medicine.  We are reasonable, responsible, respectable citizens and taxpayers and we are entitled to insist that our prime minister speaks the truth

Recently, you also spoke misleading words about cannabis and mental health on “Jamie’s Dream School” and you said that “…if you legalise drugs you will make them even more prevalent than they are”, yet this too is contradicted by all the evidence in Portugal, Holland and the USA.  Even the No 10 Strategy Unit Drugs Policy Project reported in 2003 that “There is no causal relationship between availability and incidence…problematic drug use is not driven by changes in availability or price.”

This time though you were talking directly to young people, those who your government says it is most important to send the correct message to.  Mr Cameron, the only message that government consistently sends to young people is that it does not tell them the truth about drugs.

Please Mr Cameron, we are entitled to expect that you tell the truth and that you correct errors when they are made.  These statements were not matters of opinion nor of interpretation, They are determined by scientific evidence.  Will you please now correct them?

Yours sincerely,

Peter Reynolds

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Cameron On Cannabis Part 4

with 144 comments

You can see the previous instalment here: Cameron On Cannabis Part 3

I received a further reply from Mr Cameron’s office.

Click To Enlarge

As a reminder, there are four crucial issues involved:

Mr Cameron, Do You Care?

Mr Cameron said that cannabis is:

1.”incredibly damaging”

2. “very, very toxic”

3. “and leads to, in many cases, huge mental health problems”

And then, with regard to medicinal cannabis, he said:

4. “That is a matter for the science and medical authorities to determine and they are free to make independent determinations about that.”

These are all inaccurate and false statements. Mr Cameron should correct them immediately.

So I have written to him again.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Since I wrote to you about your Al Jazeera YouTube interview and your statements about cannabis, the Legalise Cannabis Alliance has changed its name to Cannabis Law Reform (CLEAR) and registered as a political party.

We are determined to put cannabis back on the political agenda and to expose the misinformation and propaganda that maintains prohibition.  We are a new, energetic team of professionals. We know the media and we know the science.  We are not going to put up with the irrational and scaremongering attitude to this issue which has persisted for so long.

The statements you made about cannabis in your interview were inaccurate and misleading.  That is incontrovertible fact.  You must correct them. You are the prime minister of our nation and you must speak the truth.

In your reply dated 7th March you said that “…the Home Office is best placed to respond…” but you spoke the words and we have determined by Freedom of Information request (Home Office reference CR17931) that you were not advised by the Home Office on this question.  These were your words and yours alone.  Please Mr Cameron, will you now meet with me so that I can explain to you the scientific facts and the awful injustice, particularly to the sick and unwell, as well as the waste of billions in public money that your government’s policies sustain?

It cannot stand that our prime minister can speak untruths without correcting them.  Please deal with this Mr Cameron. This is not going away.  Cannabis is used by millions of British citizens every day, in many cases for the very effective relief of illness. We are reasonable, responsible, respectable citizens and we demand that you give this issue proper attention!

Please meet me Mr Cameron. Authoritative research proves that a tax and regulate regime for cannabis would produce a net £6 billion per annum benefit for Britain and massively reduce all health and social harms.

Most importantly though, please correct the inaccurate and misleading statements you made on YouTube.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Reynolds

Many thanks to my commenter, Bob the Wisemaster, who made the FOI request. The full response from the Home Office, disavowing any knowledge of Mr Cameron’s words can be seen here.

What next? More letters to Mr Cameron please. Write to him again. Tell him that he must correct his inaccurate statements. Keep up the pressure!

Cameron On Cannabis Part 3

with 51 comments

This is part three of the story but, in a way, it’s just the beginning.

The story is our prime minister, David Cameron, the leader of our country and his recent interview about cannabis. It was on Al Jazeera in association with YouTube and is one of a series of interviews with world leaders. You can watch the video and read the previous parts here:

Mr Cameron, It’s You Who Needs Education About Cannabis

Don’t Let Cameron Get Away With His Untruths About Cannabis. Write A Letter!

So I wrote to Mr Cameron asking for a meeting about several factual inaccuracies in his answers.  I know that many of you wrote in support.

There are four crucial issues involved:

Mr Cameron said that cannabis is:

1.”incredibly damaging”

2. “very, very toxic”

3. “and leads to, in many cases, huge mental health problems”

And then, with regard to medicinal cannabis, he said:

4. “That is a matter for the science and medical authorities to determine and they are free to make independent determinations about that.”

Now these are all inaccurate and false statements. Mr Cameron is, at the very least, misinformed.  Clearly, there is an absolute obligation on him to correct these errors and to do so immediately.

When I hadn’t received a reply after about a week, on 9th March 2011 I wrote again:

Dear Mr Cameron,

I wrote to you just over a week ago (copy attached) asking for a meeting concerning your Al Jazeera YouTube interview about cannabis.

I represent a very substantial body of opinion in Britain which is deeply concerned at how inaccurate and misleading your words were.  I know that you will have received many letters supporting my request for a meeting with you.

I still have faith that you do want to take account of public opinion and promote a policy that is fact and evidence based as well as having the consent of the majority. Please will you now agree to see me?

Personally, I am very worried when I see my prime minister speaking such untruths about a subject that I know about.  It makes me wonder how accurate is your understanding of other issues.  I hope that our economic, defence and social policy is being run on the basis of knowledge, rather than the misunderstanding you seem to have about cannabis.

Please can we arrange a meeting?

Yours sincerely,

Peter Reynolds

I had written to Mr Cameron on LCA letterhead showing the LCA headquarters address in Surrey. I was a little surprised then to receive a reply at my home address the following day!

 

Click To Enlarge

My response dated 16th March 2011:

Dear Mr Cameron,

Thank you for your reply dated 7th March 2011 which crossed with my letter of 9th March 2011.

With respect, this question is not for the Home Office.  It is you who made the inaccurate and misleading statements about cannabis during your YouTube interview.  Only you can correct the errors that you made.

In any event, I know what the Home Office will say. I could probably write their response myself so often have I seen the tired, formulaic replies they give to enquirers.  I know their phrases off by heart!

Last week during the debate in the House of Lords on a Royal Commission into drug policy, every speaker condemned government policy.  It was clear that Baroness Neville-Jones was embarrassed at having to defend what is an absurd and irrational policy that has little support in the country and has no basis in facts or evidence.

It is vital that the government steps back from its bigoted, wasteful and deeply damaging drugs policy.  You are wasting billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money, creating and supporting organised crime and causing immense harm to our society.  Specifically on cannabis, and in direct contradiction to the untruths you told on YouTube, you are denying hundreds of thousands of people access to the medicine they need.

Mr Cameron, we are respectable and responsible citizens who are being persecuted and oppressed by an iniquitous and irrational policy of prohibition.  It seems that you can only defend your policy by telling untruths.  That cannot be allowed to stand.

Please will you meet with me so that I can explain just how inaccurate your remarks on YouTube were?

Yours sincerely,

Peter Reynolds

Written by Peter Reynolds

March 17, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Brokenshire Resigns. New Drugs Minister Appointed.

with 15 comments

James “Broken Britain” Brokenshire has resigned as drugs minister in order to spend more time with his family.  The new drugs minister is Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi, a long time friend of the British government, well known for his intelligent and forward thinking policies and a legend amongst freedom loving people throughout the world.

David Cameron, commenting on Brokenshire’s resignation said:

“James has done a wonderful job spreading government propaganda and misinformation.  Without his tireless and courageous work we would have been unable to restrain the public outcry against our drugs policy.  If it wasn’t for James, thousands of medicinal cannabis users might have found relief from their pain and suffering and strayed away from the poisonous and harmful products that our friends in Big Pharma supply.  It was only through James’ personal guidance that I was able recently to dismiss any idea of legalising cannabis during my YouTube interview.  James told me the right lies to tell. I couldn’t have done it without him.”

David Oliver, Head of the Drug Strategy Unit at the Home Office, welcomed the new minister saying:

“I look forward to working with Muammar Gaddafi.  He has exactly the right experience and personal qualities needed in a British drugs minister.  He is a denier of science.  He has no interest in the will of the people and he can tell bare faced lies without even blinking.  I cannot think of anyone more suitable for the post”

Legal Opportunities For Medicinal Cannabis Users

with 28 comments

Recent developments mean that there are new opportunities to challenge the prohibition of cannabis as medicine.    Now I am not a lawyer, so these ideas should be carefully discussed with your legal advisors before you even consider pursuing any of them.  I may be wrong about the correct procedure, process or terminology.   I am highlighting opportunities that I have identified, based on my personal experience and knowledge.  Qualified legal advice is essential.

Disingenuous

The British government’s current position on medicinal cannabis is absurd and irrational.  As I understand it, those are exactly the criteria for which the process of judicial review is intended.  That is one route.  Another, more risky opportunity arises if you are facing prosecution or have been convicted of an offence of possession, cultivation or production.  There are ideas here which you may want to consider as a defence or an appeal.  However, please be very careful.  If things go wrong, advancing such arguments might result in a heavier sentence, such is the cruel, oppressive and iniquitous intent of current government policy.

Dishonest

The Home Office is simply dishonest in its current stance saying that there “are no medicinal benefits” from cannabis.  James Brokenshire, the drugs minister, cannot hide behind a lack of knowledge so he looks either more stupid or dishonest every day.  David Cameron made the most dreadful, disingenuous comment about medicinal use in his Al Jazeera World View YouTube interview last week.  See here.  He said “That is a matter for the science and medical authorities to determine and they are free to make independent determinations about that.” That, of course, is absolute rot and Cameron should be ashamed of himself for such misinformation.

Obtain A Doctor’s Prescription For Medicinal Cannabis

There is nothing to prevent your British doctor from prescribing medicinal cannabis for you if he/she believes it is appropriate.  Bedrocan BV is the official contractor to the Dutch government for the production of medicinal cannabis.  Go to its website here and you will discover it has a range of products offering different proportions of cannabinoids and terpenoids for different conditions.  Prescribing information is available for your doctor in exactly the same way as any other drug.  All he/she has to do is select the product and write out a prescription in the normal way.  Your doctor can’t get in trouble for this.  There is nothing improper or unethical about it, but it is, of course, your doctor’s decision whether to do so or not.

If your doctor isn’t prepared to help, the next best thing is to go to a doctor in Holland, Belgium, Germany, Spain or Italy, all countries where medicinal cannabis is regularly prescribed.  In theory, you should be able to see a doctor in another EU country under reciprocal healthcare arrangements but if you can afford it, it may be simpler to go privately.

Another option is to go to one of the 15 US states that permit medical marijuana and obtain a doctor’s recommendation.

Once you have your prescription, you need to apply to the Home Office for a personal import licence to bring your medicine in from Holland.  The licensing section on the Home Office website is here.  If you obtain a licence you will also need to go through a similar process with the Dutch Bureau voor Medicinale Cannabis to obtain an export licence.  The correct section of its website is here.

Of course, the reality is that the Home Office is not going to grant you a licence.  You can then pursue the matter through your MP who should make representations to the minister on your behalf.  You are then at the point to make an application for judical review of the Home Office’s decision.

Challenge The Government’s Interpretation Of The Schengen Agreement

The Schengen Agreement provides protection for travellers to carry their medicine with them within the EU.  The crucial factor is your country of residence.  See here for detailed information. Although there is no precise definition of residency, if you are resident in an EU country where medicinal cannabis is permitted, then you may bring your medicine into Britain and, believe it or not, there is no restriction on your use of it.  You would be perfectly entitled to sit on the steps of Scotland Yard or even the Home Office’s Marsham Street HQ and smoke a spliff.  However, if you are a UK resident, even if you have obtained your medicine on prescription abroad, you are not protected.  This is clearly discriminatory under EU law and could be challenged in court.  I’m not certain whether you would apply to a British court or to the European court but your solicitor would advise you on this.

Defence Or Appeal On The Grounds Of Medical Necessity

The Appeal Court disallowed a defence of medical necessity back in 2005.  A petition to the House Of Lords Judicial Committee and to the  European Court Of Human Rights was dismissed without any reasons given.  I understand that the Appeal Court’s reasoning was that there were no proven medicinal benefits of cannabis.  However, things have changed enormously since then.  The MHRA approval of Sativex and the Home Office’s issue of a general licence for it are conclusive proof of medicinal value.  Whatever misinformation the Home Office may promote, expert evidence would prove that Sativex is pharmacologically identical to, for instance, one of the Bedrocan products.  There is also now a vast resource of peer-reviewed clinical evidence of medicinal benefits.

There is an horrendously improper judgement (R -v- David King,  St Albans Crown Court), where a medicinal user was not allowed even to mention medicinal reasons to a jury on pain of imprisonment for contempt.  Your lawyers would need to study this carefully.  However, it is so clearly unjust that I do not believe it could be sustained.

Re-Scheduling  Of Sativex

Sativex is currently a schedule 1 controlled drug which means it has no medicinal value. As mentioned earlier, the Home Office has dealt with this temporarily by issuing a general licence for it.  However, it needs to be re-scheduled and the Advisory Council On the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has recommended that it be placed in schedule 4.  See here for the full story.

Sativex cannot be re-scheduled under its brand name and the only pharmacologically accurate way of describing it is cannabis.  The ACMD left a possible escape route for the Home Office by saying that its “active” ingredients  would have to be specified. GW Pharma, the makers of Sativex would say that this means an extract of THC and CBD.  However, this is dishonest.  Sativex contains all the 60-odd cannabinoids that occur naturally in the plant.  There is no other way of describing it accurately than to call it cannabis. If Brokenshire and his cronies try to prolong this deception then they can be challenged by judicial review.  The aim here is to ensure that the re-scheduling is accurate and so cannabis becomes a schedule 4 drug.  This would then open up all opportunities for cannabis as medicine.

I have no doubt now that medicinal cannabis will be permitted in some form or another in Britain within the near future.   We may need to force the government’s hand through litigation or, perhaps Brokenshire will be moved to another department and then the Home Office can “adjust” its position.

At present, it is a monstrous injustice, an evil and obscene scandal, that those who need cannabis as medicine are denied it.  The way of politics is that a few years from now it may well all have changed and Brokenshire will be at the Ministry of Silly Walks or somewhere better suited to his talents. However it works out, what I care about is that those in pain and suffering get the relief they need.  One day soon, Brokenshire will have to answer to his constituents and later to an even higher power.  How he will justify his cruelty and negilgence I don’t really care but I know I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes on judgement day.


Don’t Let Cameron Get Away With His Untruths About Cannabis. Write A Letter!

with 89 comments

Call Cameron To Account

Following the example of my comrade-in-arms, Jason “HomeGrown Outlaw” Reed, here is another letter writing campaign.

Yesterday, on YouTube, David Cameron gave a shockingly inaccurate and misleading answer to a question about cannabis.  You can read the full story and watch the video here.

I have written to Mr Cameron asking that he meet me as the leader of the LCA so that I can prove to him how wrong he is.  Now what is needed is for hundreds, preferably thousands of us, to write to Mr Cameron asking him to arrange that meeting.

What I would suggest is that you print out a copy of my letter and then attach it to a letter of your own.

You can download and print my letter here.

I suggest your letter goes something like this:

(Please copy, paste and edit to make it a little more personal. Better still, make it a hand-written note clipped to the copy of my letter.  That is the sort of thing that will make most impact. Don’t forget your reply address.)

Dear Mr Cameron,

I was very concerned by what you said recently on YouTube about marijuana.  The leader of the LCA has written to you asking for a meeting (copy attached).  He represents my interests so will you please arrange to see him?

Yours etc

Mr Cameron’s address is:

David Cameron MP
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London
SW1A 2AA

If you want to take it one step further, send a copy to your MP too.

(Find out who you MP is at www.parliament.uk. Please copy, paste and edit to make it a little more personal. Better still, make it a hand-written note clipped to the copy of my letter. That is the sort of thing that will make most impact. Don’t forget your reply address.)

Dear (insert name),

I was very concerned by what David Cameron said recently on YouTube about marijuana.  The leader of the LCA has written to him asking for a meeting (copy attached). He represents my interests so please, will you ask Mr Cameron to see him?

Yours etc

Your MP’s address is:

(insert name) MP
House Of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA

Written by Peter Reynolds

February 26, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Mr Cameron, It’s You Who Needs Education About Cannabis!

with 56 comments

See the interview here.  The relevant part starts at 10:45.

Al Jazeera: This was incidentally, the second most popular question because viewers would submit questions and then members of the public would vote.

Why is marijuana illegal when alcohol and tobacco are more addictive and dangerous to our health, but we manage to control them?  Wouldn’t education about drugs from a younger age be better?

Cameron: Well there’s one bit of that question I agree with which I think education about drugs is vital and we should make sure that education programmes are there in our schools and we should make sure that they work. But I don’t really accept the rest of the question. I think if you actually look at the sort of marijuana that is on sale today, it is actually incredibly damaging, very, very toxic and leads to, in many cases, huge mental health problems.  But I think the more fundamental reason for not making these drugs legal is that to make them legal would make them even more prevalent and would increase use levels even more than they are now. So I don’t think it is the right answer.  I think a combination of education, also treatment programmes for drug addicts, I think those are the two most important planks of a proper anti-drug policy.

Al Jazeera: What about the argument that it could be used as medicinal properties?  That was another question we actually had, a person saying it’s got proven medicinal properties.  If used properly and regulated properly it could actually be quite helpful.

Cameron: That is a matter for the science and medical authorities to determine and they are free to make independent determinations about that.  But the question here about whether illegal drugs should be made legal, my answer is no.

Dear Mr Cameron,

I am writing about your answer to the question about marijuana during the recent Al Jazeera World View YouTube interview.

I am the recently elected leader of the LCA.  I represent the interests of at least two million regular users of cannabis and perhaps as many as 10 million occasional users in Britain.  This is a huge proportion of the population and on their behalf I am requesting a meeting with you.

We were dismayed, shocked even, at your answer to the question.  With respect, clearly it is you who are in great need of education about cannabis. The information you gave was inaccurate and false.  While we must all respect different opinions, your answer was factually wrong and you must correct it.

Cannabis is not “incredibly damaging”, nor “very, very toxic”. It is a myth that there is anything significantly different about the cannabis on sale today and the idea that it causes “in many cases, huge mental health problems” has been comprehensively disproved many times over by scientists all over the world.

I can provide you with scientific information which proves that these ideas are false.  Recently we have been pursuing various newspapers through the Press Complaints Commission for publishing the same inaccuracies. I am seriously alarmed when I see the prime minster of my country distributing such untruths.

Two key facts:

The Therapeutic Ratio of cannabis (ED50:LD50) is 1:40000  (Alcohol = 1:10, Paracetamol = 1:30). Even potatoes are more toxic than cannabis.

Professor Glyn Lewis of the University of Bristol reviewed all published research on cannabis and psychosis in 2009 and concluded that 96% of people have no risk whatsoever and in the remaining 4% the risk is “statistically tiny”.

Your suggestion that legalising drugs increases use is also not supported by the evidence.  In both Holland and Portugal where cannabis use is not prosecuted, consumption is much lower than in Britain.

Finally, on medicinal use it is simply not true that the scientific and medical authorities are free to make independent determinations.  The Home Office stamps on any medicinal cannabis use even when prescribed by a doctor.  People from other European countries can bring medicinal cannabis to Britain and use it legally under the Schengen agreement but you can’t if you’re British.  Here, sick and disabled people are being prosecuted every day for use of a medicine which is scientifically and medically proven. Surely you cannot be unaware of this?  It is a cruel and evil policy which shames our nation.

So please, Mr Cameron, will you meet with me in order that I may show you the evidence and the facts about cannabis?   Remember, this was the second most popular question you were asked on Friday and I represent the interests of millions of British citizens.  Please make time for me in your diary.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

 

Peter Reynolds