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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. ‘Rare’ case where court believed Sutton man’s reasons for growing cannabis A Sutton man who grew cannabis in his loft to tackle his back and shoulder pain has been ordered to carry out unpaid work, a court has heard. Police called at Adam Varnham's home on Coronation Street, on June 14, last year, following a tip-off, said prosecutor Ravinder Singh. Officers found 38 plants of the class B drug in his loft, along with associated equipment. "He explained he uses it to manage pain and it was solely for his own use,” she said. “He had no intention to pass it on. He was paying for the electricity he was using." Probation officer Rachel Gosden said Varnham has problems with his back and shoulder, and also uses prescribed cannabis in the evenings. She said she was 'conscious that she hasn't come across a case like this before' and said the unpaid work order she recommended could always be amended later if it is unsuitable because of his health issues. Bianca Brasoveanu, mitigating, said she had nothing to add. Varnham, aged 34, admitted producing cannabis when he appeared at Nottingham Magistrates Court, on April 20. At Nottingham Crown Court, on Wednesday, Judge Simon Mayo QC told him: “Yours is one of the rare cases of a cannabis grow where it has been accepted by the Crown that it was for your own use rather than for commerical gain. "If it wasn't you would be going inside.” He said Varnham has some previous convictions, but nothing recent or relevant. The judge imposed a 12-month community order, with up to 120 hours of unpaid work, and ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and equipment. https://www.chad.co.uk/news/crime/rare-case-where-court-believed-sutton-mans-reasons-for-growing-cannabis-3699852
  10. hi High doses of medical cannabis have no effect on driving, according to a new study In the UK it is classified as a food supplement as it is illegal to market the substance as a health product Very high doses of medical cannabis have no effect on driving, according to a new study. Researchers in Australia found that 1,500mgs of cannabidiol (CBD) - the highest daily medicinal dose available there - has "no impact" on people’s driving or cognitive abilities. CBD is a component of cannabis that many people around the world use to improve their sleep and energy levels. It is often consumed orally, in oil form, but it can also come in gummy bears, chocolate and even beer. In the UK it is classified as a food supplement as it is illegal to market the substance as a health product and is not available on the NHS. Many countries, including the UK, do allow people to drive on CBD as it is not psychoactive and contains less than 0.1% THC which is the substance that gets people high when they smoke cannabis. Sleep experts in the US recommend that anyone weighing up to 70kg should take between 10-60mg per day. The present study shows that even a high dose of 1,500mg does not cause impairment. Lead author Dr Danielle McCartney, of the University of Sydney said: “Though CBD is generally considered non-intoxicating, its effects on safety-sensitive tasks are still being established. Our study is the first to confirm that, when consumed on its own, CBD is driver-safe.” Unlike THC which can induce sedation, euphoria and impairment, CBD does not appear to intoxicate people and it has been reported to have calming and pain relief effects. Peak concentrations of CBD in a person’s blood plasma are usually attained within three to four hours after taking it orally, although individual responses vary. CBD use is increasing across Western nations and other University of Sydney research shows that around 55,000 requests to access medicinal CBD have been approved in Australia since 2016. It is mostly prescribed for pain, sleep disorders and anxiety. The study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, involved 17 participants doing simulated driving tasks after taking a placebo or 15, 30 or 1,500mg of CBD oil. These amounts represent frequently consumed doses available in Australia: up to 150mg per day over the counter and up to 1,500mg per day for conditions such as epilepsy, pain, sleep disorders and anxiety. The participants first had to try to maintain a safe distance between themselves and a lead vehicle and then drive along highways and rural roads. They did this between 45 and 75 minutes after taking their assigned CBD dosage and again 3.5 to four hours after, to cover the range of plasma concentrations at different times. Each participant repeated this four times, one for each varying level of dosage including the placebo. The researchers measured participants’ control of the simulated car, testing how much it weaved or drifted (a standardised measure of driving ability), as well as their cognitive function, subjective experiences and the CBD concentrations in their plasma. They concluded that no dose of CBD induced feelings of intoxication or appeared to impair either driving or cognitive performance. Dr McCartney said: “We do, however, caution that this study looked at CBD in isolation only, and that drivers taking CBD with other medications should do so with care.” A 2020 study, also by the University of Sydney, found very low doses of vapourised (vaped) CBD, an uncommon method of taking the drug, were also safe. https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/uk-news/high-doses-medical-cannabis-no-24103673 Bongme
  11. PC hit by fleeing van in St Helens while retrieving bag of cannabis A PC has been injured after being "dragged along" by a van as he tried to speak to its occupants. Merseyside Police said the officer was retrieving a cannabis-filled backpack which was left on Hewitt Avenue in St Helens at about 20:15 BST on Tuesday. The force said he approached a nearby Ford Transit, which struck him and drove off at speed. Two men, aged 26 and 30, from Rochdale were arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm with intent. The 30-year-old was also held on suspicion of possession with intent to supply cocaine and cannabis. A force spokesman said the officer was undergoing surgery after suffering a dislocated shoulder and fractured wrist and was in a stable condition in hospital. The PC had approached the white van in order to search it because its "occupants were acting suspiciously", he added. Ass Ch Con Paul White said as the PC "has leant in, the driver has driven away so the officer has been dragged a short distance". He thanked residents who came to the aid of the officer, saying: "We can't thank the public enough". A short time after, it was reported that "two men were running from a van into fields" near the A580 East Lancashire Road and had "discarded a bag", police said. The bag and a vehicle, which had been left on Ecclesfield Road and near to where the men were seen, were recovered for forensic examination. Appealing for witnesses, Ch Insp Jim Wilde said his officers "fearlessly put themselves in harm's way" every day. "They do so willingly, because they have joined the police service to protect people and keep Merseyside safe," he said. "Sadly, this evening our officer's dedication has come at a great cost to himself. "Thankfully, he is now receiving the care and treatment he needs, and everyone at Merseyside Police wishes him well." https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-merseyside-61489951
  12. hi Police chief suggests review into decriminalising drugs Dyfed-Powys Police’s chief constable said use of drugs should be seen as a public health problem rather than a criminal justice problem A police chief has called on the government to look at the evidence around decriminalising drugs amid a rise in deaths. Dyfed-Powys Police’s chief constable Richard Lewis said the issue should be seen as a public health problem rather than a criminal justice problem. It comes after Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, faced backlash when he announced plans for a commission to consider decriminalising cannabis after visiting a “fascinating” marijuana farm in the United States. Mr Lewis told the BBC it was “important that we do take evidence from other countries” to inform domestic policy. “I think we can have a public health approach to those that suffer from drug use, those that are addicts, and we can have a criminal justice response to those that peddle drugs in our communities,” he added. He said that “despite some notable successes in terms of seizures, we still see those drugs on our streets”. “I asked one heroin addict: ‘As soon as we take your dealer out how soon is it before you are able to access drugs?’ and he said: ‘The same day’. “If we keep doing things in the way that we have for the last 50 years... we will achieve the same results and deaths will continue to rise.” Mr Khan last week put himself on a collision course with the Labour leadership as he announced that Lord Falconer, a former justice secretary, would chair the first London drugs commission to assess the effectiveness of enforcement. During a visit to the Traditional Cannabis Dispensary and Cultivation Centre in Los Angeles, he said an “honest, open” conversation was needed about UK cannabis laws. “Hearing from those who cultivate and grow this plant has been fascinating,” Mr Khan added. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/05/15/police-chief-suggests-review-decriminalising-drugs/ Bongme
  13. hi Decriminalisation queried as Khan praises ‘high standards’ of legal US cannabis Sadiq Khan also met with James Corden and Richard Curtis during his time in Los Angeles. The Mayor of London has praised the “high standards” of legalised cannabis farms in the US, as he announced the formation of a new group to consider the decriminalisation of the drug in Britain. Sadiq Khan said former justice secretary Lord Charlie Falconer QC will be the chair of the first London Drugs Commission, which will assess the effectiveness of UK drug laws. It comes as Mr Khan continued his four-day tour of the US, which has included visits to New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles and saw him chat with late-night TV host James Corden and Love Actually director Richard Curtis on Wednesday evening. Hearing from those who cultivate and grow this plant has been fascinating’, Sadiq Khan said in California (Stefan Rousseau/PA) Speaking at the Traditional cannabis dispensary and cultivation centre in downtown LA, Mr Khan told the PA news agency that an “honest, open” conversation was needed about UK cannabis laws, adding that visiting the facility had been “fascinating”. “We need to have an honest, open conversation about the evidence in relation to the history of cannabis and our laws in the UK and our experience of the health consequences in relation to crime and the community,” he said. “You can hear from the experts, that’s one thing, but seeing it for yourself … hearing from those who cultivate and grow this plant has been fascinating.” On his opinion of the facility, he continued: “(It) is quite clearly heavily regulated, there are really high standards, no corners are being cut, they’re readily inspected by the city, by the experts. “It’s important to see for ourselves what the parallel world of legalised cannabis looks like as a compare and contrast. Mr Khan later visited Gorrila RX Wellness shop in the Crenshaw area of the city, which stocks 1,900 brands of cannabis-related products including beverages, edibles and coffee beans. Kika Keith, owner of the shop, said the decriminalisation of cannabis in the UK would “tremendously help” London’s black community. “The people of colour in London should have opportunities to learn about the workforce opportunities, the entrepreneurship … it should really be a diversified industry,” she told PA. “It gives us opportunities for ownership and … it’s a real opportunity to build communities if we do it in the right way.” The mayor’s visits form part of a “fact-finding mission” to investigate an international evidence-based approach to reducing drug-related harm in the capital. LA decriminalised cannabis in 2016 after which arrests related to the drug in California dropped by 56%. Cannabis is currently classed as a class B drug, with a maximum sentence of five years in prison for possession. University College London has been appointed to provide world-class evidence-based research and assessment to the Commission on the criminal justice, health and economic implications for any potential change in policy. Mr Khan said Lord Falconer would bring “decades of experience” to the role as head of the body and that more needed to be done to tackle the “epidemic” caused by the illegal drug trade. “It is a real opportunity for there to be a thorough look at the effectiveness of our drugs laws and policy on cannabis. “We need rigorously to identify what is the best approach to reduce harm to our communities. A national debate is long overdue. “We aim to make recommendations to bring about effective and lasting change.” https://guernseypress.com/news/uk-news/2022/05/12/decriminalisation-queried-as-khan-praises-high-standards-of-legal-us-cannabis/ VID and Photos Bongme
  14. hi Cannabis possession laws should be repealed in a modern, liberal country - GP Taylor There is a middle-aged woman I know who, because of her medical condition could end up with spending five years in jail or being heavily fined. Where doctors have failed to treat her, she has found relief from years of pain and discomfort by taking the leaves of a plant in regulated amounts. That plant is cannabis, a Class B controlled drug that is illegal to cultivate, sell or possess. This puts my friend into a position where she breaks the law, something she has never done before in her life or thought she would ever have to do. Like millions of people around the world, she has tried a trusted method to ease her pain and bring relief by doing what is illegal. Cannabis is taken by over seven million people in the UK alone and it is estimated that at least 1.4 million people turn to the black market to buy cannabis to treat medical conditions. This archaic law turns so many honest people into law breakers. The Social Market Foundation (SMF) said that the UK’s cannabis laws are “not fit for purpose” and mean that we suffer higher crime and worse health outcomes than would be expected in a modern, liberal country. It also means that the police are locked in a war on drugs, a war that they lost many years ago and has wasted millions in taxpayers’ money. Chief Constable Richard Lewis said he believed drug use should be seen as a public health issue and not a criminal justice problem. It was in 2001 that the Labour Party announced that cannabis in the UK would be downgraded from a Class B drug to Class C. This reduced the penalties for possession and supply. This effectively decriminalised the drug and allowed the police to focus on more serious offences. A 2005 Home Office report estimated that 199,000 police hours were saved as a result. Ridiculously, in 2007, Gordon Brown announced cannabis would once again become a Class B substance. This U-turn went against the advice of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. Reclassification has done nothing to help. People are now consuming stronger and more dangerous cannabis such as skunk on the black market. This market is often controlled by violent criminal gangs. No one can disagree that there is a link between drugs and crime. Now is the time for cannabis to be legalised, supplied by the Government and taxed. This would ensure a regulated supply of good quality cannabis and would take the drugs out of the hands of criminal gangs. It would also bring in much needed taxation. I was surprised that the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, made cannabis decriminalisation part of his official election campaign in 2021 and said he would review the law if re-elected. A source close to the mayor said, “it will be for the commission to look at the evidence… but nothing is off the table in the context of what is best for public health and keeping Londoners safe”. Recently, Mr Khan visited a cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles and was so impressed that he announced the formation of a new group to look at decriminalising the drug in Britain. Sadly, this statement was attacked by Priti Patel who continues with her crusade against what has been described as middle class drug users. What Patel should keep in mind is that LA decriminalised cannabis in 2016, after that, arrests related to the drug use in California dropped by 56 per cent. I am no fan of Mr Khan, but have to say that the man is right to pursue legalisation not just in London but throughout the country. Businesses in Yorkshire could benefit from such a move with some farmers being able to diversify into cannabis production and entrepreneurs able to set up cannabis related enterprises. The 100-year prohibition has to come to an end and possession decriminalised. Public opinion demands that this out-of- date law be revoked and that people are free to choose for themselves. Politicians like Priti Patel and Keir Starmer are totally out of touch with the will of the people. Their ancient mindset goes against everything I expect living in a free society. People should have a right to decide for themselves what substances they take. After all, alcohol, one of the most dangerous drugs available and responsible for violence, family breakdown and addiction, is readily available in pubs and shops I look forward to the day when cannabis can be safely bought from my local chemist without the need for people to skulk around the back streets looking for a dealer. It is ridiculous that Britain is out of step with the rest of the world. As countries such as America, Holland, Germany, Canada, Uruguay, Mexico, Malta and others allow cannabis use, we do not. In 2025, it will be 100 years since cannabis possession was criminalised. Let us hope that politicians will see sense and allow a legal, regulated and safe supply of a herbal substance that is helping millions of people overcome medical issues and cope with life. https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/opinion/columnists/cannabis-possession-laws-should-be-repealed-in-a-modern-liberal-country-gp-taylor-3697915 Bongme
  15. hi Mayor appoints drug tsar to examine legalising cannabis Sadiq Khan has appointed Lord Charlie Falconer to lead a London Drugs Commission which will examine the potential benefits of legalising cannabis. The commission will be made up of independent experts in the fields of criminal justice, public health and politics who will examine the effectiveness of UK laws around the Class B drug and the potential for reducing harm among users. University College London (UCL) will lead research for the commission into the health, criminal justice and economic impacts that any change in policy could have. The announcement was made during a visit by the Mayor of London to Los Angeles in California, which legalised cannabis back in 2016. Mr Khan visited a cannabis dispensary where he spoke with retailers, law enforcement and local government officials about the impact that legalisation has had in the US state. Cannabis-related arrests have fallen by 56 per cent in California since the drug became legal in 2016. The Mayor of London said that “we must learn from others when considering our approach” to drug laws and that the new London Drugs Commission – led by Lord Falconer – will make recommendations around cannabis laws “to help tackle drug related crime, protect Londoners’ health and reduce the huge damage that illegal drugs cause to our communities”. Mr Khan said: “I am delighted to announce that Lord Charlie Falconer QC will be the chair of the first-ever London Drugs Commission. As a widely respected QC and former Justice Secretary, Lord Falconer brings decades of experience. “The illegal drugs trade causes huge damage to our society and we need to do more to tackle this epidemic and further the debate around our drugs laws. That’s why I am here today in L.A. to see first-hand the approach they have taken to cannabis.” The establishment of a London Drugs Commission to examine the benefits of legalising cannabis was a key manifesto pledge for Sadiq Khan during last year’s mayoral re-election campaign. In October last year, experts giving testimony to the London Assembly health committee accused City Hall of “dragging its feet” when it comes to tackling drug harm. Experts told the committee that a greater focus was needed on Class A drugs, and that harm reduction methods such as drug consumption rooms and drug checking should be considered in the capital. Green Party Assembly Member Caroline Russell, who was at the time chair of the health committee, on Thursday said that the mayor’s Drugs Commission “completely overlooks the impact of Class A drugs; one of the biggest factors causing drug harm and death”. Ms Russell said: “The mayor’s own announcement says there were 4,561 deaths related to drug poisoning in 2020; refusing to look at Class A drugs means no progress will be made in reducing the health harm and deaths these drugs cause. “I urge the mayor again to act on the recommendations set out in the Assembly’s report Reducing Drug Deaths in London. Measures like overdose prevention rooms, drug testing services, and getting the police to carry life-saving naloxone to combat overdose would reduce the impact of harmful drug use in London and support some of London’s most vulnerable people.” Sadiq Khan has stressed that Class A drugs will not be within the remit of the London Drugs Commission. https://www.harrowtimes.co.uk/news/20142577.mayor-appoints-drug-tsar-examine-legalising-cannabis/ Bongme
  16. hi Labour 'Not Yet Convinced' Of The Need To Decriminalise Cannabis, Says Ed Miliband The former leader spoke out after Sadiq Khan was hit by a shadow cabinet backlash Labour is “not yet convinced” of the need to decriminalise cannabis, Ed Miliband has said. The former leader - who has previously backed legalisation of the drug - spoke out after a row broke out over Sadiq Khan’s decision to set up a commission to examine the issue. The London mayor announced during a visit to America that former cabinet minister Lord Falconer will chair a commission examining the current laws on cannabis. But that provoked an angry backlash from many shadow cabinet members, including Yvette Cooper and Wes Streeting, who believe it risks making Labour look soft on crime. “Yvette is furious about it,” a Labour source told HuffPost UK. “People are just rolling their eyes because it definitely is not the official party line.” Asked if he would like to see cannabis legalised, Miliband said: “That isn’t Labour’s position, no. “We welcome Sadiq looking at these issues because this debate carries on and should carry on.” He added: “I’ve said in the past that this is something that needs to be looked at, I think you probably know that. “But Labour’s shadow cabinet position, which is a position I support as a member of the shadow cabinet, is that we’re not yet convinced of the case for moving on decriminalisation, but obviously we’ll look at what Lord Faconer’s commission has to say.” During his US trip, the London mayor visited a cannabis dispensary in California — where the drug is legal for medical and recreational use by adults — which he described as “fascinating”. Khan told the BBC: “We need to have an honest, open conversation about the evidence in relation to the history of cannabis and our laws in the UK and our experience of the health consequences in relation to crime and the community. “The best way to do that will be with the drugs commission we’ve now set up. “You can hear from the experts, that’s one thing, but seeing it for yourself ... hearing from those who cultivate and grow this plant has been fascinating.” Home secretary Priti Patel was one of a number of senior Tories who were quick to criticise Khan for his intervention, saying his time would be “better spent focusing on knife and drug crime in London”. “The mayor has no powers to legalise drugs,” she tweeted. “They ruin communities, tear apart families and destroy lives.” https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/ed-miliband-labour-cannabis-decriminalised_uk_6280c8b2e4b0c2dce6511d71 Bongme
  17. hi Cannabis ruins lives and legalising it won’t help he papers last week were filled with photos of Sadiq Khan peering stony-faced at rows of large plants. No, he was not enjoying a surprisingly solemn trip to Kew Gardens — he was visiting a legal cannabis farm in California. The experience has inspired him to announce a new commission tasked with assessing the legal status of cannabis back home. It seems unlikely that anything will come from this. The Home Secretary Priti Patel reminded him that he “has no powers to legalise drugs”, and the Labour Party has distanced themselves from his statements. Nevertheless, Khan has been widely praised as brave and bold by those convinced of the need to legalise cannabis. Possession of cannabis has already been de facto decriminalised in this country. It is rare for police officers to seek out cannabis possession offences — rather, when cannabis is accidentally found during a search, it is typically confiscated and a cannabis warning is issued. I’d be happy to see this formalised, with the possession of small amounts of cannabis made legal. But legalisation of the cannabis industry, as Khan is proposing, is another matter entirely. Industries employ lobbyists and lobbyists are paid to disguise the harmful effects of the products they sell. This has happened many times before. By the early Fifties, the scientific evidence was clear: tobacco was killing people. And yet it would be 20 years until warning signs appeared on the side of cigarette packets sold in the UK. This tardiness was the result of lobbying by the tobacco industry, which opposed health authorities every step of the way. Big Tobacco is already investing in cannabis, with the chief marketing officer for British American Tobacco telling the BBC last year that her organisation predicts a “wave of future growth”. In those American states that have experimented with legalisation, permitting a legal cannabis industry does increase use of the drug, particularly among the heaviest users. Which is bad news for those users’ health and sanity. We know that there are links between heavy cannabis use and, for instance, schizophrenia. We also know that Big Cannabis, if it ever arrives on our shores, will do its very best to push back against efforts to discover and publicise these harmful effects. After all, a profit-making business exists to generate profits. Louise Perry is a New Statesman columnist https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/cannabis-ruins-lives-legalising-sadiq-khan-drugs-b1000244.html Bongme
  18. hi Labour MPs are furious with Sadiq Khan, but his drugs policy could work Keir Starmer himself hasn’t directly commented on Khan’s trip to a Californian cannabis factory, but he made his views clear earlier this year When photos emerged of Sadiq Khan on a legalised cannabis farm in California this week, along with the announcement of a new London Drugs Commission to review UK law, his party’s official response was as terse as it was blunt. “Labour does not support changing the law on drugs,” a spokesperson said. “Drugs policy is not devolved to mayors and under Labour would continue to be set by national Government.” But the unofficial response was much more withering as frontbenchers let rip in a Labour MPs’ private WhatsApp group. “This is going to go down like a bucket of cold sick in my bit of the suburbs just now… Crime up, police numbers still way below where people think they should be, so Labour is going to have a chat about drugs… Inspired,” said Gareth Thomas, the Shadow International Trade minister. Shadow Justice Secretary Steve Reed messaged, “Open goal for Priti…”, as he forwarded a tweet by Priti Patel attacking Khan that declared the Mayor’s time would “be better spent focusing on knife and drug crime in London”. Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting added: “Does this make it more or less likely that we win a general election?” The sarcasm didn’t need much de-coding, especially as a quizzical emoji accompanied his message. Keir Starmer himself hasn’t directly commented on Khan’s trip, but he made his views clear earlier this year. At the time, it emerged that the London Mayor was looking at pilot projects in three boroughs in the capital to stop arresting 18-24 year-olds caught in possession of small amounts of cannabis. “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,” the Labour leader said. However, his critics say that clarity is the very last thing that Starmer has provided on this topic. During a televised leadership debate in 2020, he was asked directly if he would decriminalise cannabis. “I wouldn’t immediately,” he replied. That word “immediately”, naturally, set the hare running that he may at some point go down that road. Just as importantly, Starmer added: “I have supported schemes where cannabis possession, you’re not arrested, you’re not prosecuted for it. And I believe in that.” That sounded exactly like the Khan pilot, which is itself based on similar “Drugs Diversion Pilot” (DDP) projects operated by Thames Valley Police and other forces. The Mayor’s new Commission, which is being chaired by former Justice Secretary Lord Falconer and will work with University College London, aims to gather evidence to inform a serious debate about the UK’s drug laws. It delivers on a manifesto pledge he made last year, allowing him to claim he has an electoral mandate for it. I’m told Khan was particularly struck by conversations he had with a Black owner of a legalised cannabis shop in Los Angeles, who said the Californian approach would “tremendously help” London’s minority ethnic communities and boost their “entrepreneurship”. The tax dollars raised from the US policy are another useful by-product not unnoticed by the Mayor. On many measures, the “war on drugs” has failed as spectacularly in the UK as it has in the US. Since the Misuse of Drugs Act was passed more than 50 years ago, the number of people who have taken illegal drugs has increased to an estimated three million and the number of drug-related deaths is the highest since records began. Courts, already suffering a backlog because of the Covid pandemic, are clogged with drugs cases. There is little evidence that draconian sentences pose any serious deterrent effect. An estimated one third of the prison population is linked to drug-related crime, either through thefts to feed a habit or specific drug offences. The calls for reform are cross-party too. Among the advocates is former Tory leader William Hague, who saw his once “zero tolerance” approach to drugs fall apart when a third of his Shadow Cabinet admitted taking drugs. Hague now backs the model operated by Portugal since 2001, which decriminalised minor drug offences without increasing overall drug use. Shortly before he became an MP, a certain Boris Johnson complained on camera that the Labour Government criminalised recreational cannabis users. “I have some perfectly respectable neighbours – good bourgeois types – who, without giving the game away or naming them, whenever they are sitting in of an evening and have got nothing else to do, they roll up a spliff and quietly smoke it together… and yet they are in breach of the law for what they are doing,” he said. The PM has long since reneged on such views, and Starmer too says the current law is “roughly right”. In fact, some close to the Labour leader say that he’s more than happy to be asked about the drugs issue as it allows him to remind the public of the drugs gangsters he helped lock up as Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). I’m told that Starmer’s stance is influenced particularly by the mental health impacts of cannabis use and is very wary of anything that would worsen the problem. He went out of his way last year to insert into his party conference speech a new pledge to guarantee mental health treatment within a month for all who need it. Referring to Starmer’s background as a working-class child growing up in Oxted in Surrey, there is also what one ally calls “his small ‘c’ conservatism, his small-town rootedness that knows the public want to tackle the anti-social behaviour that is linked to drugs”. With Labour keen to reassert itself as the party of “law and order”, radical reform seems unlikely. More likely, given Starmer’s belief in “preventive public services”, is a massive injection of public money into better treatment for addicts. Dame Carol Black’s independent review of drugs policy found such health treatment had been cut by 14 per cent since 2014. Although some opinion polls show a majority back the legalisation of cannabis, others suggest there’s a more narrow split. Crucially, the over-65s and over-50s are most resistant to the idea, whereas 60 per cent of 25-49 year-olds support it. Whether Britain can afford to wait for public opinion to shift decisively is a question that neither Starmer nor Johnson want to worry about. The most likely outcome is that Khan’s review of drugs laws will end up being placed quietly in a Whitehall filing cabinet marked “too hot to handle”, with outright legalisation years away. But what may emerge, if the main parties can resist accusing each other of going “soft” on drug crime, is a very British compromise. The current pilot projects don’t require a change in the law, they are simply a change in the practice of the law – where police chiefs decide not to arrest or prosecute cannabis users. A widespread use of such projects, effectively decriminalisation by the back door, would still some political bravery to adopt nationally. When Sadiq Khan runs for Labour leader, as he surely will one day, he’ll have the chance to test whether his party – and the public – really are on board. https://inews.co.uk/opinion/labour-mps-are-furious-with-sadiq-khan-but-his-drugs-policy-could-work-1629862 Bongme
  19. hi It’s 420 – another reminder that Britain’s cannabis laws are not fit for purpose It’s high time we had a sensible conversation about cannabis reform. From Canada to Georgia, Mexico to Malta, countries around the world are changing their laws. But in the UK the substance continues to be banned. We are failing to keep up with global trends and new thinking. In the UK, it is illegal to possess, grow, distribute, or sell cannabis, even though the drug poses no significant risk of death – in 2020, there were 36 deaths related to cannabis. Each death is a tragedy, but at a whole-population level, and in the context of overall consumption levels, this is not a dangerous substance – especially when compared to alcohol and tobacco. Voters know the system isn’t working. A majority of Britons are now in favour of legalising cannabis. The illicit market is estimated to be worth £2bn a year – most of which currently goes to gangs. Meanwhile, users are criminalised and given life-changing criminal records, and offences felt disproportionately by ethnic minorities. We should treat cannabis as a health problem rather than a criminal justice issue, regulate the market, and avoid a costly, futile “war on drugs”. There are now many examples the UK can learn from. My new research published today, by the Social Market Foundation, looks at some experiences abroad of cannabis reform, finding that liberalisation can bring a range of benefits. Of all the regimes I studied, Uruguay’s state-controlled model of regulation stands out. By tightly controlling the production of cannabis and selling it in registered pharmacies, Uruguay has ended up with limited consumption of a safer product. The Uruguayan model leaves no room for either criminal gangs or profit-seeking companies, who both have a clear motive to push consumption higher. As such, it comes closest to finding the regulatory sweet spot behind hard prohibition and free-market commercialisation, following best public health practice and reducing harm. There can be health benefits from cannabis liberalisation. Some countries have reduced cannabis consumption or maintained their previous rates. By adopting health-first approaches, countries have also created additional avenues for cannabis treatment and support. In Spain, closer regulation of supply and distribution has allowed for safer cannabis to enter the market. Canada’s dedicated youth prevention programmes have resulted in decreased use among the Canadian youth. To keep up to speed with all the latest opinions and comment, sign up to our free weekly Voices Dispatches newsletter by clicking here There are criminal justice implications too. Reformist countries have been effective in reducing minor cannabis offences and making drug use safer. In Portugal, money saved on court cases for minor offences is being reinvested in treatment services. Legalising cannabis has the added advantage of generating extra economic activity and tax revenues. Canada’s cannabis sector contributed equivalent to £26.4bn to its GDP within its first three years, and brought in £9.2bn worth of tax revenue. The need for cannabis policy reform is clear. By learning from others, the UK could implement a modern framework of its own. One that that balances safeguarding public health, reducing criminal activity and delivering economic gain – all to benefit society. That change can’t come soon enough – because Britain’s cannabis laws today are not fit for purpose. https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/420-legalising-cannabis-britain-california-uruguay-b2061480.html Bogme
  20. hi Govt Will ‘Await Position’ Of UK On Cannabis Bill Following the news that Governor Rena Lalgie will “reserve Assent” of the Cannabis Licensing Bill 2022, the Government issued a short statement that said they will “await the position of the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs regarding this matter.” A Government spokesperson said: “We have received the correspondence from the Governor regarding her decision to reserve Assent of the Cannabis Licensing Bill 2022, pursuant Section 35[2] of Constitution, and to notify the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, of such decision. We await the position of the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs regarding this matter.” Yesterday, the Governor said she will reserve Assent of the Bill and will “notify the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs.” For Bills to become law in Bermuda, they must first pass in Parliament and then be granted Assent by the UK-appointed Governor, and it is highly unusual for Assent to be reserved. https://bernews.com/2022/05/govt-governors-decision-cannabis-bill/ Bongme
  21. hi Inside one of the first licensed medical cannabis labs in Britain Guardian Under tightly controlled conditions, Celadon Pharmaceuticals’ site will initially focus on chronic pain treatments ‘My pain levels have dropped’: how medical marijuana changed my life sweet smell wafts through the air, as two men weave through the small room tightly packed with cannabis plants, growing high above their shoulders in a flush of intoxicating flora. This isn’t yet another illegal weed factory but one of the first licensed medicinal marijuana labs in Britain. Wielding a quantum sensor, microscope and leaf barometer to check in on the 180 plants growing up to 1.5 metres tall out of waist-height hydroponic planters, the two men are agronomists – experts in the science of crop production – at the West Midlands plant owned by Celadon Pharmaceuticals. They want to ensure optimal light, oxygen, water and nutrient levels, and harvest the flowers after about nine weeks, from which cannabinoids are extracted and put into vials. The cannabis grown for medicinal purposes is under tightly controlled conditions that ensure consistency and high quality across batches at a secret location by a startup created in 2018, the year Sajid Javid, the then UK home secretary, authorised its use. Celadon is one of the few firms that grow medical cannabis in the UK but, unlike others, uses an indoor lab rather than greenhouses. This means it can produce five to six harvests each year and a much higher yield, it says, although an indoor lab is more expensive to run. The company is following in the footsteps of GW Pharmaceuticals, a trailblazer that developed the first cannabis-based medicine to be licensed in the UK in 2010, Sativex for multiple sclerosis, which costs about £2,000 a year. However, NHS prescribing of the mouth spray remains very limited and varies across the country. Javid’s decision to legalise medical cannabis in 2018 came after a long-running campaign waged by the parents of children diagnosed with severe epilepsy, who reported that cannabis oil helped with their condition. However, medical cannabis can only be prescribed by specialist doctors, patients often pay for it themselves, and it cannot be imported until a prescription has been issued, on a named-patient basis. James Short, the 54-year-old founder and chief executive of Celadon, was sceptical at first. “In early 2018, my son approached me and asked me did I want to invest in the medical cannabis sector? I said it’s not for me,” he says. “When the government legalised it, he came back to me and I said: ‘Let’s look at it.’ I spoke to many patients who have used medicinal cannabis, especially for chronic pain, and it was those patients that persuaded me that it wasn’t snake oil – it really worked and had changed their lives.” Robin Davison, a biotech analyst at Equity Development, says: “A lot of people do find they are getting pain relief for long-term pain like back pain [from medical cannabis], and they want to avoid using opioids.” Other promising areas include anxiety, particularly in Alzheimer’s patients, which the rival pharmaceutical firm MGC is studying. Celadon is believed to be one of the first pharmaceutical companies in the UK to receive a home office licence to grow high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) medicinal cannabis, and will initially focus on chronic pain treatments. It is working with partners to investigate the potential of cannabinoids in other areas, including autism and diabetes. The cannabis plant has hundreds of different natural compounds, or cannabinoids. The two best known are THC, which on the wrong levels can cause a “high” but relieves pain, and CBD, which is anti-inflammatory and moderates the psychoactive nature of THC. The company grew some cannabis test batches to gain approval from the UK medical regulator, the the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, and is working on ramping up production. At full capacity, it could grow 10 to 15 tonnes a year and supply up to 50,000 patients, generating £90m in annual revenues. Short has ambitions to open more sites. Big pharma has so far stayed away from a rapidly growing market that could be lucrative to the smaller players. The industry group Prohibition Partners estimates that about €354m worth of unlicensed medical cannabis will be sold in Europe this year, and projects this will grow to €2.3bn (£2bn) by 2026. Other analysts reckon these forecasts are too high but say growth will still be impressive. Celadon has taken a majority stake in the private London pain clinic LVL Health, which is testing medical cannabis in 100 patients with non-cancer chronic pain in a feasibility study, before a wider trial of up to 5,000 people, the only such UK trial that has conditional regulatory approval. They are given an inhaler that uses ground cannabis flower in a cartridgewhich is a smart device that is connected to an app to control dosage. Short, from Preston, is a former property developer who later switched to generating energy from waste, and then started investing in data companies. He had bought a £30m one-storey datacentre that now serves as the site of Celadon’s 100,000 sq ft medical cannabis lab, guarded by high security. The Department of Health estimates that 8 million people in the UK suffer from a form of chronic pain, of whom 3 million may be eligible for cannabinoid medicines where other treatments have failed. An estimated 1.4 million people are buying cannabis products on the black market to self-medicate. While the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes dates back thousands of years, the UK has lagged behind other countries such as Canada and Germany, and there have been calls on the government to allow GPs to prescribe medical cannabis. Short’s greatest frustration is the lack of reimbursement, and he says this is shortsighted. “I speak to patients on a regular basis who can’t work and are in terrible pain each day, that don’t want to be on opioids. Some are having to pay hundreds of pounds each month for medicinal cannabis. It really does work.” https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/may/09/inside-one-of-the-first-licensed-medical-cannabis-labs-in-britain Bongme
  22. Prescribed cannabis seized by police at patient's home Police seized a city man's legally-held cannabis which he had been medically prescribed for a life-long condition. Ryan Specter, of Wilson Place in Poringland, is a UK registered medicinal cannabis patient who was prescribed Adven Flos 17 by London-based private pharmacist provider Sapphire Medical Clinics. The 27-year-old was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder at the age of five. Cannabis helps people with the disorder handle some of the more severe symptoms including agitation, irritability and lack of restraint. Following a row with neighbours in October, Mr Specter began receiving cannabis complaint forms which culminated with officers seizing the medicinal product from his flat on Sunday. Following investigations police have contacted Mr Specter and made arrangements for the return of the cannabis. Mr Specter said: "I am still dismayed by how forces are handling this and wish to see more change on that front. "Pharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals actually have a massive cannabis farm in Wissington near King's Lynn. "That is one of the reasons I am so shocked police do not have an awareness of the issue here in Norfolk. This should be their bread and butter." The drug is used by inhalation with a vaporiser device with Mr Specter's prescription form - seen by the Evening News - stating there should be a build up of inhalations taken over three to five days. A staff member at Sapphire Medical Clinics confirmed Adven Flos 17 is legitimately stocked by the provider. The government announced medicinal cannabis prescribed by specialist doctors was legal from November 2018. Mr Specter said methylphenidate - which is medicine licensed for the treatment of ADHD under the NHS - would have too many side effects such as loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, headaches and feeling irritable. It comes after 28-year-old Liam Lewis had his prescription of medicinal cannabis returned to him after it was intercepted by Shetland police officers at the Royal Mail sorting office in Lerwick in February. The Department for Health and Social Care said they had nothing to add on the matter. A spokeswoman for Norfolk Police said: "Officers were called to an address in Poringland after a man reported ongoing issues with a neighbour who was unhappy about the smell of cannabis smoke emanating from his property. "When officers arrived, the man said he had been prescribed medicinal cannabis and showed them a white plastic bottle of herbal cannabis. "He didn’t provide them with a Cannabis Card (Cancard) so they couldn’t verify his claim using the Cancard app and the scheme’s helpline – which officers called while they were at the man’s home – was also unable to verify that he had been prescribed medicinal cannabis. "A label on a medication bottle if not sufficient evidence to prove that person is legally allowed an illegal drug. "That being the case, and as in all cases where officers suspect someone may be in possession of an illegal drug, they seized the drug and explained they would need to make further enquiries with the private pharmacy. "This has now happened, and the private pharmacist has confirmed the drugs were legally prescribed. Officers have contacted the owner and made arrangements for the return of the cannabis." Mr Specter disputes the police comment that he did not provide them with a Cancard on the day. https://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/crime/ryan-specter-medicinal-cannabis-seized-in-poringland-8922568 pics on link see also - https://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/health/ryan-specter-on-living-with-legal-cannabis-8928046
  23. hi Campaigners march through Cardiff calling for legalisation of cannabis Around 300 people attended the event Campaigners marched through Cardiff city centre to Cardiff Bay on Saturday calling for the legalisation of cannabis in the UK. Organised by Terry Wakefield, from Cardiff, the protest – the first to happen in Wales since 2019 due to Covid – included around 300 marchers also calling for more openness and education around the use of the drug. It remains illegal to possess, grow, and distribute cannabis in any form in the UK although it is legal to use for medicinal purposes if prescribed by a doctor. On a weekend where identical marches were also happening across the UK and globally a number of campaigners explained how prescribed cannabis has helped them. According to the Office for National Statistics since 1995 cannabis has consistently been the most used drug in Wales and England. In 2020 some 7.8% of adults aged 16 to 59 reported using cannabis. According to the figures 18.7% of 18-to-24-year-olds reported using the drug. Terry, who has attended the event in Cardiff since 1999, said taboos around cannabis in Britain were pushing the trade underground. “Cannabis is my medicine. I suffer complex PTSD and this march might sometimes be the only time I’m outside,” she said. “If I was in a position where I could go to my GP and ask for a prescription I would do. “If we are able to consume cannabis in the UK then we should have a right to grow our own. The more this stays illegal the more it will be pushed underground and the more gangs and slaves in Britain.” Jonathan Anthony from Cardiff uses cannabis for medicinal purposes and collects his prescription each month but he has to go private. According to DrugScience since cannabis was legalised for medical use through prescription in the UK only three prescriptions have been issued on the NHS. Jonathan says it means legal cannabis use is only available to those who can afford it. “I’ve had to ask my dad to pay for the prescription before and I was so grateful that he understood and did,” Jonathan said. “People still look at me funny sometimes. It is a taboo. “I would never have touched it years ago. I was an Army reserve and to touch cannabis was a no-go. Then I realised how much it helped me. “I have a condition which badly affects my knees. Someone offered it to me on the off-chance it might work and it did. I realised there might be something in it and while my GP didn’t condone it he was supportive of me. “I was finally able to get a legal prescription and it has changed my life. I’m better at home and at work. I’m a chef and I can finally do things I’d lost the ability to do. I’m so much more productive. It’s so important it is more available to everyone on the NHS who needs it.” Dr David Howells, who is a doctor at Cannabis Clinic in Cardiff – a private clinic offering consultations and legal use – said: “I believe there is an evidence base for cannabis-based treatment for people who have tried other treatments which haven’t worked, especially for symptomatic relief but also for quality of life. I think people should be allowed to have a right to access healthcare in a way that really suits them. “People might believe they have a cannabis product which works for them but it might not be the case over time. There can be impurities, moulds, bugs – these are things I think unwell people should not have to put up with. That is why we set up this service.” Phil Monk suffers with chronic myofascial pain from joint hypermobility spectrum disorder – a genetic condition which he says has caused torn muscles and joint problems. He now uses a wheelchair after 14 operations. He called laws criminalising cannabis in the UK “corrupt”. “This is destroying people’s liberties,” he said. “I have come here to stand up against it. I used to be fit and strong and climb mountains all the time. Now I use cannabis for medicinal, relaxation, creative, and nutritional purposes. Cannabis makes my life bearable. If I didn’t use it I’d have been dead a long time ago.” https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/campaigners-march-through-cardiff-calling-23893678 23 comments Bomgme
  24. Mum's cannabis campaign to stop son having '80 seizures a day' Isaac suffers violent seizures and is in desperate need for medical cannabis which remains strictly regulated in the UK The mother of a boy with a condition which causes him to have up to 80 seizures a day is taking her campaign for access to medical cannabis to the Secretary of State. Three-year-old Isaac Linford suffers from Lujan-Fryns Syndrome, causing him severe epilepsy and regular seizures. The youngster's condition is so severe it cannot be treated with regular antiepileptics, and he's previously tried 13 treatments as well as a ketogenic diet - none of which have helped. Mum Sarah Sugden set up a GoFundMe in February to raise cash for medical cannabis, and has now organised a petition online which has garnered nearly 75,000 signatures at time of writing. Medical use of cannabis was legalised in the UK in 2018, but Sarah said that due to strict and "nonsensical" rules, doctors still face many hurdles prescribing it. The NHS does not provide the drug apart from to a select few children, and private clinicians face strict bureaucracy over its use making it impossible for Isaac's family. At present, Sarah said their only option was to travel to the Netherlands to get the medicine and face having it confiscated coming home. Hull MP Karl Turner has now written to Health Secretary Sajid Javid asking the Government to step in, as thousands of families are still struggling to provide their children with the medication they need. "It's just become so political," said Sarah, 30. "All the while, my chid is suffering. He could die from one of these seizures any day. "We just need people to apply some common sense. There is living, breathing proof this drug works to reduce seizures." Sarah met with Labour MP Mr Turner, as well as Peter Carroll - the founder of the campaign group End This Pain - last week to draft the letter. The Hull East MP has now written to the Secretary of State asking for a meeting to bring attention to the dead end the family is finding themselves at. "At the moment, with the way it is, I would have to go abroad to get it, then break the law bringing it back," the mum added. "It would be confiscated and I'd have to explain the situation, which would be incredibly stressful. "As a mum, I'm going to do anything it takes. We seem to have lost all common sense and the Government needs to intervene to say to doctors, 'it's okay to prescribe this medication - it's completely legal'." Sarah is now trying to gain as many signatures as she can on the family's petition. To sign it, click here. https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/news/local-news/mums-cannabis-campaign-stop-son-7039141
  25. hi Plans for UK's first large-scale trial of medicinal cannabis are dramatically scaled back after objections over widespread use leading to softened criminal laws Plans to hold Britain’s first large-scale trial of medicinal cannabis had to be dramatically scaled back following ethical objections, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. Earlier this month it emerged that Harley Street firm LVL Health had obtained approval for a ‘feasibility study’ on 100 patients. The plan was to see if vaping ‘whole flower’ cannabis could alleviate chronic pain, with LVL hoping that this would lead straight to a 5,000-people trial. The move, however, was rejected by an ethics panel. About one in three adults in England have chronic pain – defined as lasting more than three months. Supporters of medicinal cannabis say prescription on the NHS could prevent people from self-medicating and may be safer than opioids, the conventional treatment for chronic pain. However, there are fears that widespread medicinal use could be used to soften criminal laws – as happened in the US. LVL director Gregory Stoloff said their methods were robust and would yield high-quality results. But documents published online show an Oxford ethics committee had concerns about ‘the methodology’. They questioned whether LVL would be able to recruit 5,000 patients, or to make a valid comparison with a similar number given standard NHS drugs. Pain expert Sam Ahmedzai, a professor at Sheffield University, said the trial’s design ‘leaves a lot to be desired’. He pointed out that if the NHS group was not properly matched, the results could be misleading and that because 80 per cent of the LVL participants would have to pay £299 a month for treatment they could be more inclined to believe the cannabis was working. But Mr Stoloff said LVL were experts at matching groups, and while the trial size could be reduced they had already had more than 5,000 enquiries. He also said it was impossible to offer a placebo because the psychoactive effects of vaping cannabis would make it obvious which group a patient was in. Mr Stoloff said the trial’s high expense meant LVL was not making money from the cannabis, and LVL had no interest – financial or otherwise – in recreational cannabis. But author Alex Berenson, whose book Tell Your Children warns against legalisation, said: ‘The cannabis lobby followed a very clear playbook in the US – convince voters to approve the drug for medicinal use to create a quasi-legal industry. Then push for full legalisation.’ https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10747305/Plans-UKs-large-scale-trial-medicinal-cannabis-dramatically-scaled-back.html add omments Bongme