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  1. hi Not so high and mighty: it’s time to legalise cannabis Cannabis was, until recently, the elephant in the room of British politics. While countries like Canada, Portugal and Thailand have either legalised or decriminalised the drug, debates about whether to adopt a similar approach in the UK are often shut down before they really begin, with Police commissioners just last month calling for cannabis to be reclassified as a Class A substance, like heroin or cocaine. Home Secretary Suella Braverman is reportedly open to the idea, despite cannabis being less toxic than alcohol and having health benefits in some situations. Underpinning most arguments against legalisation is the idea that cannabis is a gateway drug. It’s true that if you ask a heroin addict whether they have ever smoked cannabis, the answer is likely to be yes. However, we all know the well-worn mantra that correlation does not always equal causation. Most people encounter cannabis before they encounter hard drugs; that doesn’t mean cannabis causes them to take those drugs. There are multiple external factors influencing not only the likelihood of an individual trying them but also of that person becoming addicted. Let’s have an honest conversation about this: people have been experimenting with drugs since as far back as the ancient Sumerians in 5000 BCE. I bet you know at least a handful of people who have done so. I have friends who smoke cannabis but wouldn’t touch other substances – in fact, over 7.5 million people in the UK aged 16-59 have tried it at least once. This is an industry that the Government could be regulating and taxing, raising £3.5 billion a year for the Treasury, according to some estimates. The problem is that the story we’ve been told about addiction is fundamentally wrong, and many of our politicians seem unwilling to accept this. When Sadiq Khan recently announced the creation of a London Drugs Commission, the decision was met with open animosity from the then Home Secretary Priti Patel, who commented, “the mayor has no powers to legalise drugs. They ruin communities, tear apart families and destroy lives”. Addiction is a terrible and destructive illness, but do drugs instantly cause users to become hooked, as is often portrayed? Bruce K. Alexander’s Rat Park experiments in the 1970s suggest not. By this point, numerous studies had established that with a certain experimental set-up (an empty cage with two bottles: one containing morphine, the other water), rats in a deprived environment would self-administer the drug until they died. Contrastingly, Alexander showed that, in an enriched environment where the rats were free to eat, socialise and have sex, they did not become dependent on morphine. They used it 20 times less than their counterparts, elucidating the critical role that an individual’s environment and social situation can have on their susceptibility to addiction. So what of the potentially harmful effects of cannabis? A study from the Addiction and Mental Health Group found that the strength of the THC concentration in cannabis has increased by 14% from 1970 to 2017. It has been proven that people who regularly smoke high-potency cannabis are at an increased risk of developing psychosis (although it’s important to stress that genetics is a significant contributing factor). If cannabis were legalised and controlled, it would minimise the potential harm to users. In Canada, where the drug was legalised in 2018, psychosis rates haven’t risen. Some people look to America for an argument against legalisation since the black market still outstrips the controlled market in states where cannabis is legal. However, the US is a flawed example because making a legalised market work is nearly impossible when the law varies from state to state. The UK is already the world’s largest exporter of medical-grade cannabis, and in 2018, its use was approved in this country to treat conditions like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and epilepsy. Full legalisation may still be a long way off, but the next step is surely decriminalisation. Portugal has one of the most progressive drug policies in the world, where the money that would have been used for combating drug possession and use is channelled into harm reduction and treatment provision instead. As a result of this compassionate strategy, the country has experienced a dramatic drop in overdoses and drug-related crime, and drug use has remained well below the EU average. It’s high time we recognised that our current approach, which demonises addicts and makes criminals out of those caught with cannabis, is outdated. https://www.palatinate.org.uk/not-so-high-and-mighty-its-time-to-legalise-cannabis/ bongme
  2. hi Cannabis plants could help fight climate change Cannabis plants could be the missing player in human's fight against climate change, as hemp can absorb carbon dioxide from the air more than twice as effectively as trees. Numerous studies have shown that hemp captures up to 16 tons of greenhouse gas annually, while trees suck up about six tons. The carbon dioxide also becomes permanently encased within hemp fibers that are used in a range of products - from textiles to medicines and car parts. Hudson Carbon, a New York research center that studies carbon storage, found that one acre of cannabis plants can store up to three tons of carbon, removing more than seven tons from the atmosphere. While the US only accounts for five percent of the global population, the nation is responsible for 28 percent of the world's carbon emissions. Ben Dobson, founder and president of Hudson Carbon in Hudson, told Lancaster Farming: 'Roughly speaking, if [the US] did 50 million acres of hemp, we would be sequestering a couple hundred million tons of carbon per year on that acreage.' Hemp, or industrial hemp, is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant but contains deficient levels of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compared to marijuana, which is another variety. The plant is considered 'nature's purifying,' pulling toxins from the air and permanently trapping them within its fibers, Pebble Mag reports. And it also absorbs carbon from the air as it grows, making it a carbon-negative crop. Other crops, such as cotton, need at least 1,500 gallons of water for every pound produced. At the same time, hemp requires less than half yet creates more than 200 percent more fibers on the same land, according to Rebekah Shaman, Managing Director at the British Hemp Alliance. The plant has become a significant source of bioplastics, construction and biofuels. Previous studies have found that '600 million tons of [construction and demolition] debris were generated in the United States in 2018, which is more than twice the amount of generated municipal solid waste.' Along with purifying the air of greenhouse gas, cannabis plants absorb carcinogenic heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium from soils, which is suitable for crops used for food - but dangerous for people who ingest the plants. Researchers in Pennsylvania have conducted a 'meta-analysis' of previous studies to examine the ability of cannabis plants to absorb heavy metals. They report that some cannabis strains have been bred specifically for 'phytoremediation' – growing plants to remove pollutants from soils. But this risks heavy metals seeping into cannabis crops later harvested and smoked by humans, potentially causing cancer and neurological issues. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/cannabis-plants-could-help-fight-climate-change/ar-AA14wi99 vid on link Bongme
  3. Cleveland Police officer sacked for misconduct after cannabis find A Cleveland Police officer who was found with cannabis at his home has been found guilty of gross misconduct. A hearing was told two hand-rolled cigarettes containing the drug - one of which had been partially smoked and had his DNA on it - were discovered in a search of his home in March. Anthony Simpson admitted possession and was given a £90 penalty notice. The sergeant, who had worked for the force for 15 years, was found guilty of misconduct and has now been sacked. 'Not plausible' In a statement to the hearing at Scotswood House in Thornaby, he said he had never smoked cannabis in his life and had never failed a drugs test. It was also told that he had struggled with anxiety and mental heath and had considered smoking the cigarettes when he was at his lowest point, but never did. But Cleveland Police's Chief Constable Mark Webster said "he didn't believe it was plausible that the officer forgot he was in possession of the cannabis and at no stage had he identified where the drug had come from". https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-tees-63389880
  4. hi Charges Hit Record Low: UK Police are Decriminalising Cannabis by ‘Stealth’ without Government Approval UK Police forces are engaging in the de facto decriminalisation of cannabis without government approval, with charges for possession of the drug falling to a record low. Despite the drug’s usage being at its highest point since 2007, the number of people being charged for using cannabis has reportedly hit a record low, with police in the UK now being accused of engaging in a policy of de facto decriminalisation of the drug, despite no such edict being ratified by British lawmakers. In fact, there have been some rumblings in recent days in regards to clamping down on the use of the drug. UK Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, is reportedly interested in reclassifying Marijuana as a class-A drug — like heroin and cocaine — although Downing Street has already rejected such a rumoured proposal in favour of simply seeing the law that already exists enforced properly. According to a report by The Telegraph, the proportion of people charged for possession of the drug has fallen from 26 per cent seven years ago to only 16 per cent this year. Some forces have even seen prosecutions drop below 10 per cent, with unnamed sources reportedly telling the publication that there is an “undercurrent” within forces questioning “what is the difference between alcohol and cannabis in terms of the demand on public services and the overall effect on society”. “There is so much risk around Class A drugs such as heroin and cocaine and crack, that that is where we are focused,” the source is described as saying. “Our priorities are about keeping society safe and we simply do not have the resources to go after everybody who is found in possession of cannabis.” As a consequence of this apparent attitude, some are now claiming that UK law enforcement is now engaged in a de facto decriminalisation of the drug, despite no approval for such a move being given by any executive branch of government within the United Kingdom. “It’s decriminalisation by stealth without a doubt,” David Wilson, a former prison governor who now serves as an emeritus professor of criminology at Birmingham University, said. Such a position has been backed by broadcaster Peter Hitchens, who criticised a recent suggestion that the UK government could reclassify cannabis as a drug on par with the likes of cocaine and heroin as being useless should the country’s police be unwilling to enforce any restrictions. “As long as police won’t pursue possession, it matters hardly at all what class it is,” Hitchens, a major critic of the drug, wrote online, describing the campaign to reclassify the drug as “empty political grandstanding”. “If you actually policed this marijuana more effectively you would almost certainly reduce a violent crime as well but this is another unsayable thing,” he also claimed in a recent interview with UK broadcaster TalkTV. Meanwhile, suggestions that the drug could be reclassified — despite seemingly being backed by individuals within the Conservative party, as well as some senior officials within UK law enforcement — has been shot down by Number 10, with a spokesman for Prime Minister Liz Truss saying that the cabinet wants to focus on other ways to tackle crime and drug usage in Britain. https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2022/10/11/charges-hit-record-low-uk-police-are-decriminalising-cannabis-by-stealth-without-government-approval/ 52 comments Bongme
  5. hi Home Secretary Suella Braverman considers upgrading cannabis to class A amid concerns over evidence linking it to psychosis, cancer and birth defects The Home Secretary is considering making cannabis a Class A drug over concerns that it is a 'gateway' to other harder drugs and causes medical conditions including cancer and psychosis. Suella Braverman is currently reviewing evidence and reportedly agrees with a group of Conservative Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) who spoke out at the Conservative Party conference this week arguing for the drug to be upgraded. Ms Braverman is said to be ideologically opposed to the decriminalisation of cannabis, telling close allies she believes it sends a 'cultural' signal that use of the drug is acceptable behaviour, The Times reports. She is also said to be concerned at the evidence linking the drug to serious mental and physical health issues, including psychosis, cancer and birth defects. Cannabis is currently a Class B drug, and upgrading it would have substantial impacts on police forces and sentencing guidelines. The maximum sentence for possession would rise from five to seven years imprisonment, while the maximum sentence for supplying the drug would rise from 14 years to life imprisonment. This doesn't seem to be a problem for the Home Secretary, as the source close to Ms Braverman told The Times: 'We've got to scare people'. But she does seems to be aware of the extra pressure upgrading the drug would have on police forces, which are already vastly overstretched and under pressure to respond to other types of crimes such as burglaries. The calls are contrary to the global trend of relaxing cannabis restrictions, with some countries already legalising the drug. This includes Canada and Thailand, with half of US states also legalising the drug. In Europe, Luxembourg and Germany are also planning to decriminalise. The Home Secretary has also previously suggested she intends to crack down on middle-class drug users, introducing more campaigns which make the link between drug use and the exploitation of vulnerable young people clear. But pro-legalisation groups argue this is the wrong tactic to take, and that introducing a regulated market for cannabis would severely impact the criminal gangs behind county lines. The Home Office confirmed it currently has no plans to change the classification, but it is understood Ms Braverman is reviewing the evidence before making a decision. Last week at the Tory party conference, Dorset PCC David Sidwick was one of those calling for reclassification. He said: 'We're seeing it because it's a gateway drug. If you look at the young people in treatment, the number one drug they are in treatment for is cannabis.' He added he is against decriminalisation: 'We need tough sanctions for possession and to halt the drive towards decriminalisation. 'We aren't just talking about "a bit of weed" any more, this does the same harm as crack and heroin. That's why we need the penalties for this illegal gateway drug to match those of Class A substances.' Neil McKeganey, director of the Centre for Substance Use Research in Glasgow, told the fringe meeting that drugs pose a greater risk to society than religious extremism. He said it was a 'serious dereliction of their responsibilities' for police chiefs to treat drug use as a health problem, adding: 'It’s like trying to win a war by providing more hospitals.' The meeting also heard from Janie Hamilton, whose son James died of cancer after cannabis-induced psychosis drove him to refuse cancer treatment. 'Let no one say that cannabis is harmless,' she told delegates. But Parliament is divided on the best way to tackle cannabis use. Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy tweeted in response to US President Biden's announcement this week that he plans to pardon all simple marijuana users: 'Convicting people for personal possession of cannabis forces them into the criminal justice system and ruins lives. 'It's time to start taking a public health approach to drug policy. This is a vital first step and one I hope the UK will follow.' Meanwhile Conservative MP Crispin Blunt told another fringe meeting at the party conference he believes addicts should be allowed to take heroin legally in a safe environment. He said: 'It might be that you would allow people access to heroin – legal access to heroin – but you'd insist they take it under medical supervision in a particular facility – so that you can ensure that the drugs they are taking is actually heroin.' He claimed that society cannot 'arrest [itself] out of the drugs problem' and that it would be 'more intelligent' to help people make informed decisions about what they are taking rather than leaving them to become part of the 'illegal criminal supply chain'. http://www.uk420.com/boards/index.php?/forum/36-cannabis-news/&do=add Comments 54 top hitter Terrible idea, you simply end up criminalising a load of harmless people. The country's problem is the inability to catch real criminals, including violent criminals. The last thing we need to do is waste police time chasing people smoking weed, when they can't catch violent muggers. Bongme
  6. Sadiq Khan 'prepared to go against public opinion' on legalising cannabis but Keir Starmer could block it Sadiq Khan has pledged to push ahead with a commission on whether to legalise cannabis, despite Labour leader Keir Starmer being firmly against the move. On a trip to the US in May, the Mayor of London said an 'honest conversation' about the UK laws against cannabis needs to happen. Mr Khan has confirmed that former justice secretary Lord Charlie Falconer KC will chair the first London Drugs Commission, which will assess the effectiveness of UK drug laws over the coming year. It won’t have the power to change the law, but backers believe it could shift the needle on the drug legalisation debate in the UK. It comes after the mayor praised the “high standards” of legalised cannabis farms in the US during a four-day tour across New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Mr Khan also met LA mayor Eric Garcetti, and visited a cannabis dispensary and farm. Responding to a question on drug reform at Labour conference last week, Sadiq Khan told attendees: “Sometimes you provide follow-ship, sometimes you have to provide leadership. Speaking as a former lawyer, you have to look at the evidence. What is wrong with having a [drugs] commission that follows the evidence? “This commission isn’t being led by a loony left-wing person, it’s Lord Charlie Falconer leading this with a cross-section of health experts, people from the community, academia, and policing. They will go away and look at the evidence, and I’ve got an open mind in relation to this issue.” He struck a different tone to Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, who said: “I don’t think we’d want to see, if I’m honest, that type of change at this moment in time. I think it would be a hard sell…I’ve spent a lot of time in Holland over the years, I don’t see less crime in terms of Amsterdam [drug decriminalisation]…the jury is still out on that.” Labour frontbencher Steve Reed MP recently told the Telegraph Mr Khan is "entitled to his view, but mayors will not be responsible under this government or under a Labour government for that policy." He added: "He can express whatever he likes, but he'll never have the opportunity to do it under a Labour government because we won't be liberalising drugs laws...He’s contributing to a debate, but he won't have the power to do anything about it, however that comes about." Sir Keir also told the paper earlier this year: "I’ve said a number of times and I will say again: I’m not in favour of us changing the law or decriminalisation. I’m very clear about that." But Mr Khan told Labour conference there was a need to look again at the legislation. He said he meets young black Londoners every week who have a criminal record because of possession of cannabis: “That record affects them for their entire life. I meet experts who tell me the consequences of dangerous skunk being sold in an unregulated market and the psychosis it can cause.” He added: “I've got a genuine open mind. I’m going to look at what the commission comes back with, follow the evidence, and decide what to do going forward…if it means going against public opinion like I did with air quality…I’ll do it.” One drug legalisation campaigner told MyLondon: “Sadiq is gunning for a third term, and he sees this as a strong play, though I don’t think it will wash well with the Labour leader’s office.” In a rebuke to the Mayor on Twitter earlier this year, then-Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Sadiq Khan’s time would be better spent focusing on knife and drug crime in London. The mayor has no powers to legalise drugs. They ruin communities, tear apart families and destroy lives.” https://www.mylondon.news/news/zone-1-news/sadiq-khan-prepared-go-against-25168396
  7. hi Cannabis is just as harmful as cocaine and crack and should be classified as a Class A drug, police chiefs say Cannabis is just as harmful as cocaine and crack and should be classified as a Class A drug, police chiefs have warned. A group of Tory police and crime commissioners (PCCs) will demand that the drug be put on a par with crack and cocaine. If adopted, the change would see the maximum penalties for possession increase from five to seven years, and the maximum penalty for supplying cannabis would increase from 14 years in prison to a life jail sentence. David Sidwick, the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, said there was growing evidence linking psychosis and mental ill health, cancer and birth defects to cannabis use. Calling it a 'gateway' drug used by county lines gangs to lure in users, he warned: 'No child ever went to a drug dealer for heroin for their first deal - they would all have started with a bit of weed.' The proposal is also being backed by Alison Hernandez, PCC for Devon and Cornwall, and Avon and Somerset's police and crime commissioner Mark Shelford. They will present their plans at the Conservative Party Conference alongside academics. The Home Office said there were no plans to upgrade cannabis to a Class A drug but illicit substances were kept under constant review. Mr Sidwick told The Telegraph: 'People who call this drug recreational haven't seen the harm that psychosis and other cannabis-related conditions can do, and the costs that heap on our health service and society more generally. 'We aren't just talking about 'a bit of weed' anymore, this does the same harm as crack and heroin. 'That's why we need the penalties for this illegal gateway drug to match those of class A substances.' Cannabis is currently classed as a class B drug, with a maximum sentence of five years in prison for possession. Though advocates say it can make people feel happier, sceptics warn that regular cannabis use increases the risk of developing a psychotic illness. Results from European neighbours offer an insight into the potential pitfalls of the policy - with Portugal seeing a huge surge in cannabis-induced psychosis after it decriminalised the drug in 2001. In January, King's College London professor Sir Robin Murray said around a third of the psychosis patents he sees at his practice in south London are mostly young people suffering from debilitating paranoia and hallucinations caused by use of high-strength skunk. Sir Robin suggested the high number of cases in his practice are now impacting the facility's ability to care for patients. He told The Times newspaper: 'I think we're now 100 per cent sure that cannabis is one of the causes of a schizophrenia-like psychosis. 'If we could abolish the consumption of skunk we would have 30 per cent less patients [in south London] and we might make a better job of looking after the patients we have.' Sir Robin works at the first NHS clinic in England to specifically treat cannabis smokers suffering from psychosis. Running from Maudsley Hospital in Camberwell, south London, patients are typically seen for a minimum of 15 weeks, with treatment including one-on-one sessions with specialist therapists. The aim of the clinic is to first help cannabis users wean themselves off the drug before helping them to manage without it - helped by weekly group therapy sessions with fellow patients and experts. Sir Robin has praised the clinic, reporting it to be a success, even when services moved online due to the Covid pandemic. Regular cannabis use increases the risk of developing a psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia. A psychotic illness is one where you have hallucinations (seeing things that are not really there) and delusions (believing things that are not really true). The risk of developing a psychotic illness is higher in people who: start using cannabis at a young age; smoke stronger types, such as skunk; smoke it regularly; use it for a long time; smoke cannabis and also have other risk factors for schizophrenia, such as a family history of the illness Cannabis also increases the risk of a relapse in people who already have schizophrenia, and it can make psychotic symptoms worse. Other risks of regularly using cannabis can include: feeling wheezy or out of breath; developing an uncomfortable or painful cough; making symptoms of asthma worse in people with asthma; reduced ability to drive or operate machinery safely If you drive while under the influence of cannabis, you're more likely to be involved in an accident. This is one reason why drug driving, like drink driving, is illegal. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11268829/Cannabis-just-harmful-cocaine-classified-Class-drug-police-chiefs-say.html#comments 420 comments top hitter Meanwhile alcohol fuelled vioence continues unabated across the country! Cannabis not so much! Bongme
  8. Hello people, long time lurker. Looking to move on from autos and back to photoperiod for a bit. Anyone have any experience with Rare dankness, Perfect Tree Seeds or Cannarado? Looking at a few of there strains, and was wondering if they have stable genetics/good reputations. I would of liked to go with Exotic Genetics but getting them in the uk is expensive and a pain. (one reason i was looking at perfect tree is their jet line is meant to be an exotic cut) I was considering Barneys Farm ect but remembered they didnt have the best of reps in the interwebz.
  9. From the album 2022

  10. Cannabis Factories Keep Being Found in Abandoned Police Stations and Courts Weed gangs using Britain’s disused crime fighting infrastructure as cover is a sure sign that something is not going to plan. A cannabis farm found in a shuttered magistrate’s court in West Bromwich is the latest in a string of lucrative weed grows discovered taking over abandoned, austerity-hit institutions and businesses in the UK. Police seized 2,000 plants on Sunday from the cannabis factory operating inside the former court which closed as part of a £41 million cost-cutting drive by the Ministry of Justice in 2011. A 34-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis when the grow was found, but was later released without charge. As Britain’s £2.5 billion illegal cannabis industry has thrived and expanded over the last 15 years, with police struggling to keep up, it has proven to be far more resilient to austerity than the criminal justice system tasked with stopping it. In November last year a cannabis farm was found inside another abandoned magistrates court, at Halton, in Runcorn, Cheshire, shut by the Ministry of Justice in 2017 to save money. Last month a large cannabis factory was found in a police station in the Isle of Dogs in east London. It was closed down and sold by the Metropolitan Police earlier this year as a cost-cutting measure. In March a weed farm was found at Edgware police station in Harrow, closed in 2017 as part of austerity-led police budget cuts. Another farm was discovered at the abandoned Failsworth police station in Oldham, shuttered in 2013 due to police budget cuts. What is more, the weed crews have opted to use the shut-down premises as cover to grow their product in plain sight in towns and cities across the country. Illegal weed grow gangs have not just been more successful in staying afloat than courts and police stations, they have moved their businesses into a range of other institutions and businesses battered by austerity – such as abandoned pubs, schools, nightclubs, care homes, post offices and a scores of shuttered high street shops around the UK. “There is the obvious irony of failed businesses and institutions being taken over by an illegal industry,” said Gary Potter, a criminologist at Lancaster University specialising in Britain’s secret cannabis cultivation world. “But there is high demand, large profits and it’s easy to set up grow-ops in abandoned buildings, so there is the motivation and the opportunity. Part of this irony is that a legal cannabis industry would provide large tax revenues a well as employment.” Estimates for the UK’s total illicit cannabis production range from between 255–735 tonnes annually Part of the industry is dominated by gangsters, who are responsible for high levels of violence and exploitation, particularly of trafficked Albanian workers. During the COVID-19 lockdown VICE World News revealed that police had carried out a flurry of busts on cannabis farms. Last year it was revealed the Met Police raided double the number of cannabis farms in 2020 – 455 – than any of the four previous years. https://www.vice.com/en/article/epzpp4/cannabis-factory-abandoned-court
  11. Free medicinal cannabis to be given to epileptic children on NHS waitlist as private firms back mother’s plea Charlotte Caldwell, whose epileptic son Billy helped change the law on medical cannabis, has secured free-to-access care for severely epileptic children which could save private prescription costs of up to £6,000, equivalent to eight months’ treatment. Up to 90 families across the UK applying for NHS funding of their child’s treatment via the Refractory Epilepsy Specialist Clinical Advisory Service (Rescas), a process that can take as long as eight months, could have their medicinal cannabis paid for by the firms while they wait on a decision. If for any reason a patient is refused medicinal cannabis then the manufacturers will stop gifting treatment. Ms Caldwell said: “During the period when Billy was being considered for NHS funding, I was fortunate enough to have his medical cannabis gifted by the manufacturer who was supplying it via a private prescription. Not all patients are as lucky as Billy, which is why I took up the mantle myself and went to the manufacturers to ask them to help. I am delighted to secure such a potentially life changing outcome for fellow paediatric epileptic patients. “We can’t guarantee that these kids will be successful through the Rescas process, but they’re going to get between six and eight months’ medicine gifted to them which will relieve the financial burden for a while in these hard times. And then hopefully have the long-term NHS funding if their case is successful.” Billy, now 17, used to have up to 100 seizures per day but now goes several months without having any. Rescas was set up in 2020 following a legal challenge that Ms Caldwell brought against the UK Government. It provides a much-needed route to NHS-funded medical cannabis, and other “alternative treatment” options, for refractory epilepsy patients under the age of 18. The backing of Althea, Canopy Growth and Cellen, who all manufacture medical cannabis products that are prescribed to epileptic children in the UK, comes just a month after Ms Caldwell launched a new campaign to mark the fourth anniversary of Billy’s medical cannabis being confiscated by Heathrow Airport customs officials, an event which led politicians to change the law to allow doctors to prescribe it. Although medical cannabis has now been prescribed to 17,000 people in UK for a range of conditions including chronic pain, depression, insomnia and Parkinson’s, many are still using the black market. Campaigners say the health service is still reluctant to prescribe the treatment claiming stronger evidence is needed before advising mass prescriptions. Ms Caldwell has called on more medical cannabis manufacturers to supply free medicine to children going through the Rescas process and give other child epilepsy sufferers the support that Billy received. She is urging patients to visit the I Am Billy Foundation website for more details and to register their interest. Ms Caldwell said: “If your child is currently accessing medical cannabis for epilepsy via a private prescription, please do get in touch. While I am unable to guarantee every outcome, my promise to you is that, as a mother previously in the exact circumstances that you currently find yourself, I and the trustees of the I Am Billy Foundation will do all that we possibly can to support your child through the Rescas process, completely free of charge. “Billy and I continue to lobby the other medical cannabis manufacturers and I am confident that this is just the start for wider patient access to medical cannabis via the NHS.” Althea chief executive Joshua Fegan said: “We are passionately committed to improving patient medical cannabis access pathways in the UK. We hope that our support for the foundation will benefit many patients just like Billy, and that it leads to further enhancements of NHS funding programmes for medical cannabis.” The trustees of the I Am Billy Foundation described the project as “a tremendous achievement from a mother driven by her desire to achieve equality for all children”. They said: “What we now call for are those clinics through whom the medications are delivered to show a similar commitment to those in this great need and waive their fees, so that the medication is genuinely ‘free at the point of use’ for these children and their families.” https://inews.co.uk/news/health/free-medicinal-cannabis-epileptic-children-nhs-waitlist-billy-caldwell-mother-1813412
  12. Woman, 60, with terminal cancer used cannabis to ease her pain and sold it A 60-year-old lung cancer sufferer put cannabis in her food to help ease the pain of her condition and sold it. The 60-year-old woman was caught with the drug and charged. The woman, who has Stage Four lung cancer, admitted possessing the drug with intent to supply it and being concerned in the supply of it. She was caught with cannabis worth a total of £370, along with £205 in cash and two mobile phones. Mold Crown Court heard she told police she was only supplying the drug to her family members and that she hadn't realised that supplying it to members of her family was illegal. A judge gave her a six-month community order. her home in Cae Mawr in Llandudno on March 25 last year. The defendant was there with her granddaughter. Ms Carrier said she told an officer: "I've got cannabis. I'm not going to lie." Police found snap bags with "Bob Marley" logos in a bag down the side of a sofa. The search continued and the officers discovered cannabis worth a total of £370, along with £205 in cash and two mobile phones. The defendent told police she had Stage 4 lung cancer and had taken cannabis oil, which became too expensive. She took cannabis in her food instead, the court heard. She also supplied it to her husband and a son but did not realise she was committing a crime by doing so to members of her family. Sarah Yates, defending, said her client is ill and had been "vulnerable to an extent" but regrets her actions. She has lost her good name and this is "possibly a lesson well-learned", she said. Ms Yates added: "It's safe to say I don't think we will see her back before this court again." The judge Her Honour Nicola Saffman noted that, when cannabis oil became prohibitively expensive, the defendant put cannabis in her food to ease the pain from her lung cancer. But in being in possession of a Class B drug and in supplying members of her family, she had broken the law. She said the woman had not realised she had committed her offences and had done so out of "sheer naivety". She added: "You are a lady of previous positive good character." She imposed the community order, fined her a nominal sum of £10 and ordered the destruction of the drugs and forfeiture of the cash, which will go towards North Wales Police's fight against drugs crime. https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/woman-60-terminal-cancer-who-24716033
  13. Fine for man caught with cannabis during police raid in Croydon A 31 year old Londoner was held in the cells for almost a week as police feared he may have ‘packed’ drugs inside him. The man was arrested after police raided his flat in Croydon on August 3, when they found a small amount of cannabis consistent with personal use. He was taken to an Oxfordshire police station. But it was not until Monday, August 8, that he was released from the cells – with police holding him as they ‘felt he had further drugs on him’, prosecutor Anne Sawyer-Brandish told Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday. The justices were not told of any further drugs being found. The man pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis. In mitigation, he was said to have used cannabis since the age of 14. He was fined £80 and ordered to pay £119 in costs and surcharge. https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/20620358.fine-man-caught-cannabis-police-raid-croydon/ Who got the job of examining the "unpackings"?
  14. Cornwall mum calls for high-strength cannabis oil to be available on prescription as son suffers life-threatening seizures Caroline's son was having ten seizures a day when she accepted an offer of free homemade cannabis oil from a friend. She has been reported to the police and fears she is facing prosecution The mother of a 15-year-old boy who has been having seizures since he was five months old is calling for high-strength cannabis oil to be available on NHS prescriptions. Caroline Gisbourne, from Camelford, has been trying to stop her son Mitchell's life-threatening epileptic seizure for years. She said they started when he was infected with the herpes virus as a baby. Since then, Mitchell has tried eight different epilepsy drugs and undergone two brain operations - which are carried out as a last resort - all without his condition improving, the Express reports. In 2018, Caroline, 49, tried CBD oil, which can legally be bought as a food supplement from health stores and contains tiny amounts of THC, the psychoactive ingredient of cannabis. She said: "For two years Mitchell was a different child, going to school and living his best life." But when the CBD oil stopped working, Caroline found it impossible to get cannabis oil containing a higher level of THC on prescription. Imported cannabis oils were approved for NHS use four years ago, but have so far only been given to three children in the UK. Caroline accepted an offer of free homemade cannabis oil from a friend who grew the plants for their own pain relief. She said: "Mitchell was by now having ten seizures a day and banging his head. He was getting very depressed." She says the oil saw his seizures drop to two or three a month. But recently Mitchell's social workers, who provide support for his autism, found out about the oil and reported Caroline to the police. She was told to "wean" Mitchell off the cannabis oil - but as soon as she did his seizures started again. Two detectives called at the family home and Caroline fears she is going to be prosecuted. She has now found a private paediatrician who will sell her a legal cannabis oil containing a higher level of THC, costing £200 a month. She is crowdfunding to afford some for next month. Peter Carroll, director of the End Our Pain campaign, said: "Between them the government, the NHS and some of the medical professional bodies are failing these children." A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: "Specialist doctors are allowed to prescribe cannabis-based products where clinically appropriate." https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/real-life/cornwall-mum-calls-high-strength-7405683
  15. Inside huge top-secret legal cannabis facility hidden away in Birmingham that is the size of three football pitches The facility is three times the size of Aston Villa's football pitch Tucked away in the city sits one of the first licenced medical cannabis labs in the country. But you would not know it was there - and that is by design. The location of the top-secret facility is tightly under wraps and the company behind it - Celadon - has recently started its first medical trial. Their product is designed to be used in the treatment of illnesses such as epilepsy and chronic pain disorders. And CEO James Short says that it has been a revelation. So confident in the product, he even has his sister suffers from MS on the medical cannabis trial. James says that she went from being on a tablet for 20 years to now taking none. He added: "She has MS and doesn't shake the same and honestly, in the last five months she seems like a completely different person." The businessman told BlackCountryLive that he was initially sceptical to enter the world of medical cannabis. But once he learned about what the product can do for patients, he knew he wanted to get involved. He said: "I founded Celadon back in 2018. It was my son and a business partner of his who asked if I would invest in the CBD oil. "I had a look at it and decided not to because I like regulated sectors and the CBD world didn't seem as regulated as I would have wanted. Then the UK government legalised cannabis for medicinal use for anything with a higher percentage of THC in it. "It is classed as medical so you have to have a prescription for it. This product you can't just pop along to Boots or Holland and Barratt and buy it this is a pure prescription product. "So once it had been legalised my son came back to me and I had a further look. I was around a lot of places in Canada and the US and met a lot of patients that were using cannabis oil in the UK and abroad, I saw that actually for certain people this product worked. "It was at that point that I made the decision to get involved. I took control of a facility in Birmingham in 2017 so we were fortunate that we had a facility that ticked a lot of boxes to do indoor cannabis growing." Since then, £30million has been invested into the facility. James said: "We spent the last three-and-a-half years going through the regulatory framework and employing lots of local people and training them up and people from all over the world. "In January of last year, we were the first company since legalisation to get the correct certificates to allow us to start growing the product." The facility currently employs 18 members of staff and James plans on upping this to 60 by the middle of next year. Each employee has to undertake a DBS check before they are deemed competent to work at the secret spot in the same way people who work with children do. James said that since the trial was launched in late 2021, they have already seen remarkable results. "We own the majority share of LVL Health Clinic in Harley Street and this is the only approved UK trial in cannabis," he said. He added: "One lady is in her 30s and had to pack her job in because she was in so much pain. "She was on 40 plus tablets a day and has been on our trial now for three months and is down to three tablets a day and is back at work. So in essence, she is off all of these opioids and can sleep and her quality of life is better." Taking the medication is very technical and requires a specialised device and app. James explained: "The flower is ground and goes into a cartridge which gets delivered to your home. You have an app and scan the barcode which then allows the device to activate. "We can then monitor that on the app so we know you can only have one or two doses a day. We can monitor your heartrate and ask you a series of questions. "It is data that we are trying to collect to then help the NHS to reimburse us for the product moving forward. At the moment, people have to pay privately which is a barrier to a lot of people with chronic pain as they can't afford it because a lot of people with chronic pain can't work." The treatment is only available privately at the moment. James said: "It is £299 per month. If you think about that, it's about £3,500 - £4,000 per year which sounds expensive but it's costing the NHS approximately £15,000 a year to look after the same chronic pain patient. Whereas if they come on to our study, they can do it for £4,000 a year." He continued: "Cannabis has always had a stigma and I have to say that I was one of those people who were brought up knowing cannabis was illegal. It was only once I started getting involved that I thought 'flipping heck, this is incredible.' "It doesn't work for everything and it doesn't work for everybody but if we can have it as an alternative - and the world needs an alternative - we have an opioid crisis and need an alternative which doesn't have the same side effects and so on. "The world has been using cannabis oil for hundreds of years, it has not been using opioids for hundreds of years. It got stigmatised and criminalised which was the only problem." Celadon works closely with West Midlands Police and universities across the city. The CEO added: "We work close with Birmingham and Aston University and we fetch some of them to our facility. We have built a training centre where we can show the doctors how it's done. "Some people think that the product is produced in a greenhouse or somebody's back garden. There's nearly £30million of investment gone into our facility. It is very scientific and phamacutical at its core level." Speaking about CBD oil products available on the high street, James said: "If you had severe chronic pain, you'd have to take gallons and gallons of CBD to have any affect. It's the THC that you need with it. "It doesn't work for everyone which is why we have to do it scientifically and collect all the data. Had it not worked, I wouldn't have got involved with the sector. "It is a revelation and it's only the beginning. What else will we be able to do over the next ten to twenty years with the technology?" Recruitment is currently ongoing and James hopes to expand this to 5,000. He said: "Once we have 100 people on the study, we can go back to the ethics comity and go up to 5,000 paitents. It has taken two years to design the trial so at the end of it, we will have enough data to hopefully get it reimbursed on the NHS. https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/black-country/inside-huge-top-secret-legal-24539141
  16. High-Strength Cannabis Linked to Addiction and Mental Health Problems Summary: High-potency cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of addiction, cannabis use disorder, and mental health problems including an increased risk of schizophrenia, a new study reports. Source: University of Bath As the strength or potency of cannabis products has increased internationally over the years, so have rates of people being treated for cannabis addiction, say the authors of a new study. Researchers from the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath (UK) systematically analysed the relationship between the types of cannabis people use and their addiction and mental health problems. Their work draws on 20 studies involving almost 120,000 people. After alcohol and nicotine, cannabis is the most widely used drug globally. Latest estimates from the UK suggest that over the last year around one in five 16-24 year olds had used cannabis. Cannabis potency refers to the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis – the key psychoactive drug it contains. Recent studies from the same team at Bath have found that the concentration of THC in cannabis has increased significantly over time meaning that cannabis used today is typically much stronger than previously. The new study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, suggests that people who use high potency cannabis are more likely to experience addiction than those using low potency products. It also suggests that people using high potency cannabis are more likely to experience a psychotic disorder, such as schizophrenia. These findings may help to explain why more people have received treatment for cannabis problems over recent years. Data from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction show a 76% increase in people entering treatment for cannabis addiction in the past decade. Based on these new results, the authors argue that public health guidelines and policies to help make cannabis use safer should be encouraged. Lead author, Kat Petrilli from the University of Bath’s Department of Psychology explained: “Our systematic review found that people who use higher potency cannabis could be at increased risks of addiction as well as psychosis when compared to people who use cannabis products with lower potencies. “These results are important in the context of harm reduction which aims to minimise the negative consequences associated with drug use. While the safest level of use for cannabis is of course ‘no use’, it is important to acknowledge that a significant number of people across the world use cannabis regularly and to ensure they can make informed decisions that could reduce any possible harms associated with it.” The authors point out that strategies to make cannabis use safer could inform how the drug is regulated in the UK and internationally. Recreational cannabis use remains illegal in the UK, but cannabis products are now legally sold for recreational use in Canada, Uruguay, and parts of the USA. Several other countries appear set to follow this trend, including Germany. In the UK, the Liberal Democrats have argued that a legal regulated market could make cannabis use safer by enforcing a limit on the potency of cannabis products, and investing the revenue and savings from this into education and treatment for cannabis problems. Senior author, Dr Tom Freeman explained: “Our findings suggest that people who use cannabis could reduce their risk of harm by using lower potency products. In places where cannabis is legally sold, providing consumers with accurate information on product content and access to lower potency products could help people to use cannabis more safely.” Despite anecdotal evidence of links between cannabis and anxiety and depression, the authors note that the links between cannabis potency and other mental health problems are unclear. Funding: This research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. https://neurosciencenews.com/mental-health-cud-cannabis-21119/ From CNN - Highly potent weed creating marijuana addicts worldwide, study says Higher concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC -- the part of the marijuana plant that makes you high -- are causing more people to become addicted in many parts of the world, a new review of studies found. Compared with people who use lower-potency products (typically 5 to 10 milligrams per gram of THC), those who use higher-potency cannabis are more likely to experience addiction and mental health outcomes, according to the study published Monday in the journal Lancet Psychiatry. Scientists have established a "standard THC unit" of 5 milligrams of THC for research. That amount is said to produce a mild intoxication for nonregular users. "One of the highest quality studies included in our publication found that use of high potency cannabis, compared to low potency cannabis, was linked to a four-fold increased risk of addiction," said study coauthor Tom Freeman, a senior lecturer in the department of psychology and director of the addiction and mental health group at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, in an email. In the United States, about 3 in 10 people who use marijuana have cannabis use disorder, the medical term for marijuana addiction, according to the US Centers for Disease and Prevention. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction found a 76% rise in people entering treatment for cannabis addiction over the past decade, "while cannabis potency continued to rise during the same time," Freeman said. In addition, "a report by the United Nations found that in the past two decades, the proportion of people seeking treatment for cannabis addiction has risen in all world regions apart from Africa," he said. A yearly rise in potency In a gram of herbal cannabis, the dried and harvested tops of female marijuana plants that are typically smoked, THC concentrations increased by approximately 2.9 milligrams each year, according to a 2020 study by Freeman and his team at the University of Bath. In cannabis resin, the sticky brown sap on the plant from which extracts and concentrations are made, THC levels increased by approximately 5.7 milligrams each year from 1975 to 2017, the study found. Concentrated products can reach extremely high levels of THC. This yearly rise in potency may not be clear to consumers, experts fear. While looking at a product label might tell a person the "precise potency" of THC in a store where marijuana is legally sold, "people buying cannabis illegally may not be able to access reliable information about the potency of the product they are using," Freeman said. "However, certain types of cannabis are typically more potent than others -- cannabis extracts are typically more potent than cannabis flower," he added. While people do try to adjust their consumption when the potency of their cannabis varies, "such as by adding less cannabis to their joint or inhaling less deeply," these efforts fail to completely work, Freeman said. That means "higher potency products still deliver a larger dose of THC to consumers than lower potency products," he said. Mental health affected As marijuana became more potent, cases of marijuana-associated psychosis rose, the review found. Psychosis is a "loss of contact with reality" that can be characterized by hearing voices and having delusions, Freeman said. "The evidence linking cannabis potency to addiction and psychosis was very clear," he said. High-potency weed users appear to have a significant increase in the likelihood of developing generalized anxiety disorder than those who smoke less robust strains of marijuana, a 2020 study had found. However, the new review of studies found a "more varied" connection between the increase in marijuana potency and depression and anxiety, "meaning that the impact is unclear for these other mental health outcomes," Freeman said. https://edition.cnn.com/2022/07/25/health/marijuana-potency-addiction-study-wellness/index.html
  17. hi Lawyer says cannabis clash could be sidestepped A constitutional clash with the UK over cannabis legalisation could be avoided if the drug was removed from the list of controlled substances, a legal expert claimed yesterday. Peter Sanderson, a barrister with experience in several constitutional law cases, said the move could be a way to avoid a showdown between the Government and London over the controversial plan as it would not require a new law. Mr Sanderson explained: “The minister has the power to change regulations under existing law. “If the Government then persuaded the Senate to let it go through it could be a way of preventing a constitutional crisis. “Cannabis could be exempted from the Misuse of Drugs Act regulations. “Regulations can exempt activities like production, supply, possession. “Regulations could extend for many pages, in the way the Licensing Act does.” Mr Sanderson said: “In 1974, Bermuda passed the Misuse of Drugs Act, which allowed the minister to make exceptions – and London signed off on that.” He was speaking as the ruling Progressive Labour Party continued to put off pushing through its controversial legislation to legalise the production and sale of cannabis. The second reading of the proposed law has been listed on the House Assembly order paper for weeks but it has not been brought forward for a vote. Government House and David Burt, the Premier, were asked if the delay was because of intervention from London, but neither have responded. The legalisation was rejected by the Senate last year, but the Upper House no longer has the power to delay it if the House of Assembly – where there is a 30 to six PLP majority – approve it again. If MPs again back the change, the final decision will lie with Rena Lalgie, the Governor, who must give Royal Assent before it can become law. The Premier appears to be on a collision course with the Governor over the legislation. Ms Lalgie has made it clear legalisation of cannabis for recreational use was not allowed under the UK’s international obligations. But Mr Burt warned that if the Cannabis Licensing Act, which allows recreational use of the drug and sets up a regulated framework for its sale and consumption, did not get Royal Assent it would “destroy” Bermuda’s relationship with the UK. The Government admitted last year that its cannabis plans went beyond the limits of international conventions on drugs, which the UK has signed up to. The Bermuda proposals breach the UK’s international obligations under the United Nations 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. A spokeswoman for the Governor said: “When a Bill is received by a Governor for assent, they will consider it in accordance with the Governor’s role, which is clearly set out in the Constitution. “That includes considering whether the Bill is inconsistent with any international obligation. “The relevant international obligations permit, subject to necessary controls, legalisation of cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes, and for certain industrial purposes. “Legalisation of cannabis for other purposes is not permitted. However, decriminalisation of possession of small amounts of cannabis is possible within the conventions.” The Government House spokeswoman said earlier: “UK officials continue to make themselves available to the Government of Bermuda to discuss approaches that would enable Bermuda to meet their objectives while remaining compliant with the conventions. “Indeed, UK officials have also been working with several Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies to help them establish a framework for medical cannabis industries.” Mr Burt said that after meetings with British ministers and leaders from other Overseas Territories in London last November: “It was critical to make it clear that there is no intention by the Government of Bermuda to amend the current legislation to conform to the 60-year-old convention that allows cannabis supply for medicinal purposes only.” He added: “Many countries, such as Canada, that allow regulated supply of cannabis for non-medicinal purposes, are signatories to that convention. “The overall intent of the legislation is clear and it enjoys the support of the Bermuda electorate, which was confirmed at the last General Election.” Mr Burt added that, once the legislation had passed the House, the “expectation” was that permission would be given by the UK Foreign Secretary for Royal Assent by Ms Lalgie. https://www.royalgazette.com/politics/news/article/20220324/lawyer-says-cannabis-clash-could-be-sidestepped/ 24 comments Bongme
  18. REVEALED: 9,000 Britons now take cannabis on prescription for medical conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety and PTSD NHS doctors reluctant to prescribe it due to lack of evidence it helps sufferers Growing number of private 'medicinal cannabis clinics' have sprung up in the UK Users are treating conditions including chronic pain, anxiety and PTSD with drug Some 9,000 people in Britain are now taking cannabis legally for medical conditions, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. Four years after Ministers legalised medicinal use of the Class B drug, NHS doctors remain reluctant to prescribe it because of a lack of strong evidence that it helps sufferers of most illnesses. But a growing number of private ‘medicinal cannabis clinics’ have sprung up, serving people with problems such as chronic pain, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Users believe that smoking or inhaling vaporised cannabis can help to reduce symptoms, even though reliable evidence from well-run clinical trials is scant. Pierre Van Weperen, of Grow Pharma, which distributes imported cannabis to patients with prescriptions, said: ‘There are probably 8,000 or 9,000 active cannabis patients in the UK, coming back every month for a prescription. ‘When I started in this industry in the UK two-and-a-half years ago, there were only 80 patients [being prescribed cannabis] in the whole of the country. So the growth curve looks quite impressive.’ With each patient paying £150 to £200 a month for their cannabis prescriptions, it is now ‘a significant market’ worth about £20 million a year, he added. Two-thirds of the market is for ‘whole flower’ cannabis, the herbal type commonly sold on the street. The remaining third is made up of cannabis oils and other products such as tinctures. Most prescribed cannabis is high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the naturally occurring psychoactive compound that gives users a high. If consumed regularly, THC-rich cannabis can raise the chance of a person developing psychosis five-fold. Despite this, and the lack of solid evidence supporting the effectiveness of cannabis, the medicinal market has boomed, partly because cannabis can now be prescribed for any medical condition if a doctor has good reason to believe it will help. While regulations allow only ‘specialist doctors’ to prescribe cannabis – a stipulation rigidly adhered to in the NHS – sources say that private clinics sometimes interpret the term more liberally. Some private centres now have dozens of doctors on their books willing to prescribe it after a brief consultation costing as little as £30. Insiders say it can now sometimes be cheaper to source cannabis legally than from a street dealer. The rapid rise in legal cannabis use follows a decision by Ministers in 2018 to ‘reschedule’ the drug after a review found ‘reasonable evidence’ that it helped some conditions. The review followed a public outcry over the cases of two boys with rare forms of epilepsy. The mothers of Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell were forced to break the law to try to reduce their sons’ seizures with THC-rich cannabis oil. Critics fear the powerful cannabis industry is pushing for wider medicinal use to weaken opposition to legalising the drug for recreational use. But Cathy Barton, 35, who in November 2018 became the first person in Britain to be prescribed herbal cannabis, welcomed its increased use. After suffering a stroke, aged 24, Ms Barton, from Brighton, began using cannabis, initially bought from an illegal dealer but later prescribed privately, when the addictive opioid painkillers prescribed by her doctors ‘completely ruined’ her life. She said 50,000 people had now signed up to CanCard, an ID system she set up 18 months ago which allows people with a certified medical condition to escape arrest if stopped by police with the drug. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10952855/9-000-Britons-cannabis-prescription-medical-conditions.html
  19. hi Ten puppies perish in flat blaze as cannabis farm found POLICE are looking for the owner of ten puppies and two dogs who died in a flat fire. The blaze broke out in a flat in Leigh, Greater Manchester. Firefighters, paramedics and police scrambled to the scene on Chapel Street. A Greater Manchester police spokesperson confirmed that 12 dogs died in the incident. Police also found a small cannabis farm within the flat. No arrests have been made at present, reports Manchester Evening News. Two people from neighbouring properties were treated at the scene by paramedics for smoke inhalation. An investigation into the blaze is ongoing. Chapel Street was closed off for several hours yesterday as emergency services responded to the flames. The road was shut off between Warrington Road and Astley Street. A fire scene investigation van was pictured at the scene, as well as several other fire response vehicles. In a statement, a GMP spokesperson said: "Officers were called just after 9am on Sunday 22 May to reports of fire involving a property on Chapel Street, Leigh. "Two people from neighbouring properties were treated at the scene by NWAS for smoke inhalation. "Sadly, 12 dogs, including 10 puppies, died as a result of the fire and efforts are ongoing to find the owner. "A small cannabis farm was found in the flat - enquiries are ongoing and no arrests have been made." In a statement issued yesterday, a spokesperson for the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: "Just after 9am this morning (Sunday 22 May) firefighters were called to reports of fire involving a property on Chapel Street, Leigh. "Fire crews from Atherton, Agecroft, Eccles, Farnworth, Hindley, and Rochdale arrived quickly at the scene. "Fire crews wearing breathing apparatus, and using three hose reels and other specialist equipment, worked hard to extinguish the fire and escorted two casualties from a neighbouring property to safety. "GMFRS were in attendance for just over four hours." https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1614530/12-dogs-die-cannabis-farm-flat-fire Bongme
  20. Hi UK drugs policy re-think needed to halt deaths Scotland has a drug problem. Over the past two decades, overdoses have soared and, in 2020, the country recorded its largest ever number of drug-related deaths. In response, medical experts, police forces, and politicians are considering innovative, evidence-based approaches to reducing harm. As the effects of prohibition continue to take its toll, drug policy in Scotland has started taking steps towards reform. To avoid further loss of life, an increasing number of expert and political bodies have been calling for drug consumption rooms that allow users to take drugs under medical supervision. They have also been discussing the increased implementation of diversion schemes, whereby people caught with drugs are diverted towards treatment and education, rather than receiving punishment. Such measures are currently being deployed furtively, as a form of de facto decriminalisation. Jake Shepherd) This low-key approach comes despite academic research which has shown they can operate successfully, improving the health and wellbeing of drug users. Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, the UK Government continues to reject Scotland’s proposals for change. Drugs policy should be based on evidence. When looking at that evidence, it becomes clear that other alternatives are possible. Not only are they feasible, but they are being implemented, right now, in countries throughout the world. The experiences of those places provide important lessons on the effects of more liberal drug laws, and the benefits they provide to drug users and wider society. In research recently published by the Social Market Foundation, I explored different countries’ experiences of cannabis reform and compared them against the UK’s current prohibition regime. Without devolved powers, any attempt at a renewed drugs policy for Scotland will be difficult, according to Jake Shepherd of the Social Market Foundation, a cross-party think-tank Drugs policy should be based on evidence. When looking at that evidence, it becomes clear that other alternatives are possible. Not only are they feasible, but they are being implemented, right now, in countries throughout the world. The experiences of those places provide important lessons on the effects of more liberal drug laws, and the benefits they provide to drug users and wider society. In research recently published by the Social Market Foundation, I explored different countries’ experiences of cannabis reform and compared them against the UK’s current prohibition regime. In the same way that our drugs control system renders Scotland’s attempts to solve its drug deaths emergency taboo, when it comes to cannabis, Britain’s laws may actually be creating harm – rather than preventing it. In the UK, it is illegal to possess, grow, distribute, or sell cannabis. However, the drug poses no significant risk of death and it is, when compared to other illegal or legal drugs, such as alcohol, relatively harmless. Meanwhile, users of cannabis are criminalised, with offences disproportionately recorded among minority groups. The lucrative cannabis market remains underground, controlled by criminals. Prohibition is not fit for purpose, and the UK is falling behind others on its cannabis policy. A growing number of governments are starting to recognise cannabis as a public health, rather than criminal, issue, and are convinced by the economic potential of regulated markets and avoiding the ever-costly “war on drugs”. The UK could learn an awful lot from their experiences. From a Scottish perspective, perhaps the best example of progressive drug policy lies with Portugal, where all drugs are decriminalised. Their approach has shifted from being punitive to a health-led approach and, as a result, the country has seen some significant improvements. Drug deaths and those imprisoned for drugs have reduced considerably, while the number of people receiving drug addiction treatment has increased. Portugal has one of Europe’s lowest rates of drug use, and it has few overdose deaths. With regards to cannabis, the picture is much more ambiguous – it is unclear whether consumption has meaningfully increased or not – but the lesson worth taking from this is that the Portuguese approach to drug policy, and hard drugs in particular, represents a positive example of what can be achieved by liberalisation. A second example can be found in Spain. As a decentralised state, autonomous communities are able to shape their own approaches to drug policy. This has allowed for cannabis social clubs to be set up locally, as a way for people to access and use cannabis in safe consumption spaces. Spain’s membership-based clubs are said to have several benefits, including limiting the availability, quantity, and strength of cannabis, as well as minimising profit-motivated efforts to increase use. Spain appears to have seen a reduction in the consumption of cannabis since introducing its social club model, particularly in the Catalonia region. While cannabis is very different to other drugs, for example opiates, opioids, or benzodiazepines – the most common causes of drug overdose in Scotland – the fact that safe consumption spaces work and have the capacity to reduce harm is important to bear in mind. Of all countries’ cannabis policies examined in my research – those belonging to Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, Uruguay, Canada, and the US states of Colorado and Oregon – each have showed themselves to be effective in reducing harm. With a degree of political will, any of these models could conceivably work in the UK. Decriminalisation approaches have shown themselves to be effective in reducing minor cannabis offences and making drug use safer. The same can be said for legalisation frameworks, which, through legitimate cannabis retail markets, have the added advantage of generating economic activity and increased tax revenues. In Canada, the cannabis sector contributed the equivalent to £26.4 billion to national GDP within its first three years, and brought in £9.2bn worth of tax revenue. This is an enormous amount of money available to be spent on public services. In Oregon, where cannabis is legalised but other drugs are decriminalised, 25 per cent of taxed revenue goes directly to alcohol and drug services. Without devolved powers, any attempt at a renewed drugs policy for Scotland will be difficult. But by looking abroad, it is clear that other, better alternatives are obtainable. There is already considerable public and expert appetite for reform, with the view of saving people from death, other health harms, and life-changing criminal records. The UK Government must also consider a review of its drug laws. The future of some of Scotland’s most vulnerable people depends on it. https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/homenews/20182554.uk-drugs-policy-re-think-needed-halt-deaths/ Bongme
  21. hi Government tight-lipped over UK cannabis law talks Ministers are refusing to say if there were any breakthroughs on the stand-off with London over the Government’s flagship cannabis legislation during top level talks with a senior British official. Despite repeated requests for information on the controversial issue by The Royal Gazette, ministers are staying quiet despite the matter leaving Bermuda on the brink of a constitutional crisis. Paul Candler, the Overseas Territories Director at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, visited Bermuda in recent weeks for talks after Rena Lalgie, the Governor, effectively stalled the Cannabis Licensing Act and called for discussions on the matter between Hamilton and Westminster. The Government has been unusually tight-lipped on the issue since the Governor reserved giving Royal Assent to the Bill – a move just short of rejecting it. This is in contrast to previous statements from David Burt, the Premier, where he insisted failure to give Royal Assent to the legislation would “destroy” Bermuda’s relations with Britain. Ahead of Mr Calder’s arrival on the island, a government spokesman said he would be in Bermuda “for meetings, and the matter will form part of those discussions”. Whenreserving Royal Assent, the Governor said that the Progressive Labour Party legislation contravened international treaty obligations undertaken by Bermuda and Britain. The Governor said that the Cannabis Licensing Act 2022 appeared to her to be “inconsistent” with what she understood to be obligations held by Britain and Bermuda under UN Conventions, but she appeared to be sympathetic to the aims of the legislation. Ms Lalgie stated that she had “no choice” but to reserve assent for the Bill and to notify Liz Truss, the British Foreign Secretary, on the matter. The Governor said: “I hope that Bermudian officials will work together with British officials to find a way forward – one that does not result in life-changing criminal records for users of small amounts of cannabis and unlocks commercial opportunities, while maintaining Bermuda’s excellent reputation for upholding the rule of law. “The UK has supported, and is assisting, some of the Crown Dependencies and other Overseas Territories to develop a way which is compliant with the relevant conventions.” There was a delay of more than a month between the Cannabis Licensing Act, which would legalise consumption and production of the drug, passing through Parliament on March 30 and being sent to the Governor for consideration. Craig Cannonier, a former premier in the One Bermuda Alliance government, insisted that the time lag was “unusual” and suggested it might have been caused by behind-the-scenes communications on the issue between the Government and Downing Street. The OBA has stated that the PLP is using the bid for liberalisation of cannabis laws as a “smokescreen” for a push towards independence. After being rejected by the Senate last year, the Bill returned to Parliament in February and passed the House of Assembly by a vote of 18-6. A dozen MPs, 40 per cent of the PLP’s House of Assembly cohort, failed to vote for the Bill, although some of them were overseas at the time. Then the legislation tied in the Senate 5-5, but the Upper House no longer had the power to block it. Mr Burt has previously said: “If Her Majesty’s representative in Bermuda does not give assent to something that has been passed lawfully and legally under this local government, this will destroy the relationship we had with the United Kingdom.” The Government admitted last year that its cannabis plans went beyond the limits of international conventions on drugs, which Britain has signed up to, and that the legislation was not in line with Britain’s obligations under the UN’s 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Mr Candler’s previous roles in the British civil service have included director of international, rights and constitutional policy at the Ministry of Justice. His responsibilities there included overseeing the British Government’s relations with the Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, and supporting the justice systems of the Overseas Territories. https://www.royalgazette.com/politics/news/article/20220606/government-tight-lipped-over-uk-cannabis-law-talks/ Bongme
  22. hi DVLA mistakenly threatens to revoke legal cannabis user's driving licence Ryan Specter, pictured inset, emphasised the onus is on drivers not to get behind the wheel when it is not safe - Credit: Cambridgeshire Constabulary/Contributed A legal cannabis user said he was "caught off guard" after unexpectedly receiving a letter asking him for proof of his medical condition. Ryan Specter, of Wilson Place in Poringland, is a UK registered medicinal cannabis patient which he uses to help with his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The 27-year-old was sent a letter at the end of last week from the government Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) enquiring into his fitness to drive. Mr Specter was asked to submit completed forms with proof of his medical condition within 14 days or his provisional driving licence would be revoked. The DVLA has said it will be contacting Mr Specter to apologise for the letter. Mr Specter is prescribed Adven Flos19 by London-based private pharmacist provider Sapphire Medical Clinics. The legal cannabis user said: "A cannabis naïve patient who may not be aware of this and is pulled over by police will not know how to handle that situation. "They could end up in court or with a fine when they could have otherwise contested it by arguing their reason for using it." A spokesman for the DVLA said the letter was sent by mistake. Mr Specter added such errors are usually a rarity. And he also emphasised the onus is on the driver not to get behind the wheel in situations where it will affect their ability to operate the vehicle safely. It comes following an incident which saw his medication seized by police and then later returned to him. Norfolk Police said they would not be commenting on a complaint to the Professional Standards Department until an outcome is reached. Government law introduced in 2012 gives the police powers to test and arrest drivers suspected of driving after taking certain controlled drugs in excess of specified levels. This law also provides a medical defence if a user is taking medicine in accordance with instructions from a healthcare professional. Legal cannabis users are advised to keep evidence of their prescription medicine by the government in case they are stopped by police. https://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/health/police-crackdown-on-legal-cannabis-hits-ryan-specter-9011078 Photos on link Bongme
  23. Hi Cannabis shouldn’t be legalised and here’s why, says Labour’s ‘lefty lawyer’ Emily Thornberry The shadow attorney general acknowledges that Labour has yet to ‘seal the deal’ with the electorate but wants distill a coherent message about what the party would do in power based on a handful of key themes – including crim Legalising cannabis won’t solve many of the problems the drug creates, Emily Thornberry says as she insists Labour can become the party of law and order. The Shadow Attorney General says people who “idealise” the class-B drug need to listen to those people who have been damaged by its negative consequences. Her tough stance follows the launch of a new commission on the effectiveness of laws on non-Class A drugs by her Labour colleague, London mayor Sadiq Khan. Ms Thornberry makes her disapproval of the initiative clear during an interview with i, and says she doesn’t “have a lot of time” for people who say they are harassed over their drug use. “The people you don’t hear enough are those like the old woman I spoke to recently, who said she was frightened to leave her flat because there was always a group of young boys smoking cannabis at the bottom of the stairwell. “We don’t hear enough from the mothers of those boys who are off their heads the whole time and so separate from the rest of society,” she says. “I don’t think that if it’s legalised… we will crack that problem,” she says, or that people will stop smoking skunk “just because you can get stuff over the counter”. “If there’s going to be a debate, I want to make sure that we get everybody’s voices in there,” she adds. Her comments reflect a drive to neutralise Conservative attacks that Labour is soft on crime and has even become the most trusted party to tackle the issue. “It isn’t just that we have more rapes and and stabbings and antisocial behaviour than ever before, [it’s] that the rate of these things even being charged is lower than ever before, the amount of time that it takes to get to court is higher than ever before. The whole system is creaking and falling to pieces.” She says the Government’s failure to protect people from scams shows how disconnected the Tories have become from people’s everyday experience of criminal behaviour. “Fraud is a huge issue, all of us know someone who has been ripped off by some phone or email scam or other, but ministers can’t even tell me how many originate abroad.” The former barrister and MP for Islington South laughs when I tell her she is the classic example of the “lefty London lawyer” that Boris Johnson relishes baiting. She has known Sir Keir Starmer – another London lawyer – for decades. They first met when he volunteered at the legal centre she helped at for striking ferry workers in Kent in 1988. The two are not personally close – she says she has never been to his house for a meal for example. He is the third Labour leader she has served and insists she is proud to have been loyal to all – including Jeremy Corbyn. The rows she had over Nato and the response to the Salisbury poisoning were passionate but remained private. “I’ve never briefed against a leader.” She had her own tilt at the top job after Corbyn was defeated but failed to get enough backing from local parties to make it to the final round. She says now she was underprepared for the fight. Ms Thornberry claims to have been among the first to anticipate Labour’s recovery in the polls, pointing to speeches she made after the 2019 drubbing. The almost unique circumstances of that election – dominated by a single issue, Brexit – always made the winning side vulnerable once the public had moved on, she argued. She acknowledges that Labour has yet to “seal the deal” with the electorate, but reveals that the Shadow Cabinet received a bullish report from the local elections. “The results are even better than many people realise,” she says. The task now is to distil a coherent message about what Labour would do in power, based on a handful of key themes. Crime, she says, will definitely be one of them. https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/emily-thornberry-interview-cannabis-not-legalise-labour-crime-1657256 Bongme
  24. hi Legalising cannabis won’t tackle disproportionate policing outcomes for ethnic minorities, crime minister says The policing and crime minister rejected Sadiq Khan’s cannabis review as a possible measure to reduce inequalities Legalising cannabis won't tackle disproportionate policing outcomes for ethnic minorities but the issue does need to be tackled, the crime minister says. Sadiq Khan announced this week a review into cannabis legalisation, a measure charities have said could tackle racial inequalities in the criminal justice system which sees Black offenders 1.4 times more likely to be jailed for drug offences compared to their white counterparts. Although policing and crime minister, Kit Malthouse, strongly opposed the London Mayor's review he said the government does need to address inequality within police outcomes for ethnic groups. https://www.independent.co.uk/independentpremium/uk-news/policing-cannabis-ethnic-minorities-kit-malthouse-b2083191.html Bongme
  25. hi Raided on the first day - the lost cannabis café which brought Amsterdam to Stockport Back in 2001, the Dutch Experience in Stockport became the UK's first cannabis café Images from our archives look back at the Dutch style cannabis café that came to Greater Manchester before police raids shut the venue for good. The Dutch Experience, in Stockport, opened to a blaze of publicity in September, 2001. Modelled on Amsterdam's coffee shops, it inspired other copycat venues to open in other parts of the UK. With an over-18s, members only policy, the café was tucked away in a small parade of shops within a two minute walk of Stockport town centre. Press and photographers were invited inside the venue on a number of occasions and one reporter described the air inside the cafe as "heavy with pungent aroma of cannabis" while people openly smoked joints and sipped coffee. Photographs taken of the venue show that at first glance there was little to distinguish from any other independent café of the era - apart from the prominent 'legalize' sign on the wall and cannabis leaf motif decorations. There was also a bust of then-Prime Minister Tony Blair on the service counter with a joint in his mouth. People ordered food and drinks and sat around playing cards, playing board games and chatting. The big difference was that weed was openly smoked at the venue. It took about ten minutes before it was raided by Greater Manchester Police. Officers stormed in, searched customers and arrested the cafe's owner, however, the business was later allowed to reopen and continued to operate for several months. The café attracted attention from media across the region and all over the country. We reported how 'even on a rainy weekday afternoon there are more than 100 people inside'. The M.E.N also quoted a staff member who said: "This isn't even busy - usually they are squashed in back to back. We don't seem to have quiet spells. From 10am until 10pm it is packed.'' The visitors' book included tributes such as 'the most mellow place on Earth,'' "the safe place 2 chill and get stoned all the time,'' and "what we've all been waiting for". But, despite customers extolling the virtues of cannabis, not everyone was happy. One conventional Stockport café owner said: "It's a nonsense the police allowed it to open in the first place, it's having an adverse effect on Stockport's reputation. "People who sell drugs will start hanging around places like this - without the owners' knowledge maybe - and you'll get harder things than cannabis being sold." He added: "And who is there to keep an eye on it all?" It wasn't destined to last. In 2002, the cafe's owner was jailed for three years after being found guilty of importing and supplying drugs. In court, prosecutors said the café was an elaborate smokescreen for the trafficking of drugs from Holland. The Dutch Experience subsequently closed its doors for good. https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/nostalgia/raided-first-day-lost-cannabis-24017204 More Photos Bongme