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  1. hi Drug user who blew up flat while attempting to produce cannabis avoids jail David Hastie was badly injured during the explosion in his Hamilton property. A drug user blew up his Hamilton flat in a failed attempt to produce cannabis. David Hastie was badly injured in the explosion, which blew out windows and doors at the Craigburn Street property. Hastie, 39, narrowly avoided a prison sentence at Hamilton Sheriff Court today. He admitted culpably and recklessly attempting to produce tetrahydrocannabinol – a compound found in cannabis – on March 27, 2019. The charge stated that he was severely injured, his flat was damaged and there was potential danger to neighbours in the block of flats. Hastie was taken to hospital for treatment to burns after a butane gas cylinder exploded. The court heard that, fortunately,damage was confined to his property. Not guilty pleas to charges of possessing drugs, including cannabis and street valium, were accepted. Defence agent Jackson Bateman told the court: "My client suffered significant injuries in the explosion. He still has visible scars." Mr Bateman said it was accepted that Hastie had not been intending to produce cannabis for profit. He added: "His record is not the most serious and social workers suggest that, on a margin, there is a viable and credible alternative to custody available." Passing sentence, Sheriff Linda Nicolson told Hastie: "You put others in danger, but I accept you did not anticipate the extent of harm and damage that occurred. "You were the one who was seriously injured and you are still suffering. "Your previous convictions are not the most serious the court has seen. "The amount of cannabis involved was minimal and you were producing it for your own medicinal use. "In all the circumstances I'm just persuaded that a community-based disposal can be imposed." Hastie was placed under supervision for a year. He was also electronically tagged for nine months, meaning he must stay within his home between 7pm and 7am each day. https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/in-your-area/lanarkshire/drug-user-who-blew-up-25027081 Bongme
  2. hi vid on link Warning UK faces 'worst research blackout in history' as Home Office falters on drug law TORY MP Crispin Blunt has blamed the Home Office for blocking a change to how an illegal hallucinogenic drug is tested as a new antidepressant. In an op-ed seen by Express.co.uk, Crispin Blunt MP describes how he urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to change what is known as the "schedule" of the drug psilocybin. This change would mean it would be easier to run trials on its use in mental health treatments. The Prime Minister had already approved the rescheduling of psilocybin for exploring its potential as a treatment for depression, which he informed Mr Blunt in a meeting in May. Despite this, the Home Office “fails to act, perpetuating what can be considered the worst research blackout in scientific history,” according to the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group (CDPRG), of which Mr Blunt is chairman. Rescheduling, in this case, means that psilocybin would be easier to get hold of and test in scientific and medical trials. Psilocybin, found in magic mushrooms, will still be a Class A drug for anyone looking to consume it. The group say that if the Home Office continues to drag their feet over making psilocybin easier to trial for medical purposes, there will be “dire consequences for the UK’s life sciences sector” and those who “stand to benefit” from new treatments. Mr Blunt used an analogy to describe the current situation of not looking at the uses of certain illegal drugs in treating mental health problems. He likened restrictions on cannabis and other currently illegal substances to “keeping an offender whose risk of future offending is close to zero, is desperate and able to become a contributing positive member of society". He said: “Some sensible supportive probation supervision might be appropriate, but instead they are locked up in a maximum-security prison at vast expense indefinitely.” “In the 110 days that have passed since the PM’s sign off nearly 2,000 people have taken their own lives; the majority probably preventable when this research is translated into treatment.” A Home Office spokesperson said: “There is an established process for the development of medicines, which enables medicines including psilocybin to be developed, evaluated in clinical trials and licensed based on an assessment of their quality, safety and efficacy. “The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) is currently considering barriers to legitimate research with controlled drugs. The first part of their review was published in July and the second part of the work is now underway. We will carefully consider any recommendations or advice they provide. “We currently have no plans to reschedule psilocybin under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.” Psilocybin has been the subject of numerous clinical trials in addressing mental health conditions against which currently-available medication has had little effect. Dr Robin Carhart-Harris and Professor David Nutt of Imperial College London have found that psilocybin could target areas of the brain which current antidepressants cannot touch. However, the CDPRG argues that the brain drain coming from professionals and experts in the space leaving for other countries with different drug policies will put the UK further behind on pioneering new treatments. The CDPRG add that a change in policy on psilocybin could pave the way for exploring how other drugs, like LSD or MDMA, can be used to treat mental health conditions. Currently, psilocybin cannot be produced, supplied or prescribed without Home Office sign-off. Yet recent data from YouGov shows that over half of the UK public support a change in the law which would mean psilocybin is more easily accessible for treatment trials. A Home Office spokesperson said: “There is an established process for the development of medicines, which enables medicines including psilocybin to be developed, evaluated in clinical trials and licensed based on an assessment of their quality, safety and efficacy. “The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) is currently considering barriers to legitimate research with controlled drugs. The first part of their review was published in July and the second part of the work is now underway. We will carefully consider any recommendations or advice they provide. “We currently have no plans to reschedule psilocybin under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.” https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1493174/psilocybin-drug-law-UK-change-UK-science-research-warning-Crispin-Blunt Vid On Link Bongme
  3. hi Cannabis organisations unite to demand robust cannabis industry in the UK The Cannabis Industry Council is the first truly representative cannabis body dedicated to advancing the UK’s cannabis sector The legal cannabis market has been estimated to be worth up to $124 billion by 2028. Accordingly, there is undeniable potential for Britain's medical cannabis businesses to cash in on this ‘green rush' and ready themselves for what appears to be a bright future. However, the industry is yet to capitalize on the huge opportunities presented to it. Despite striving for a shared goal - improving access to medical cannabis - the efforts of organisations and individuals within the industry have lacked coordination and collaboration. This fragmented approach has prevented the industry from being perceived as truly legitimate and subsequently, it is yet to receive the political endorsement it so desperately needs. However, in May of this year, the Cannabis Industry Council (CIC) was launched to set standards and drive meaningful change within the UK's medical cannabis and CBD sector. It marks the first time the growing sector has unified through a truly representative and homogenous cannabis industry body. The Council's launch follows renewed calls for the government to reduce the red tape hampering the cannabis industry. According to a report launched by Maple Tree and Mackrell Solicitors last month, the medical cannabis market could be worth £2 billion, create almost 100,000 jobs and transform patient access if the government amended its outdated laws and regulations on the sector. At present, the new organisation has over one hundred members, who have worked beyond their individual organisational aims and collaborated to define and maintain gold standard industry practice. With six sub-groups, Quality Standards, Parliamentary lobbying, Research, Environmental & Social Responsibility, Media and Hemp, the CIC is calling for patients - adults and children - to be better supported by the sector and for the government to reduce the red tape currently restricting the growth of the industry. From clinics, patient access groups and doctors, to insurers, licensed producers and cannabis infrastructure bodies, the Council brings together disparate organisations, businesses and working groups. Membership invitation has been extended to representatives from the Home Office, The Department of Health and NHS England, in the hope of strengthening ties between the cannabis industry and the UK public sector. As a step towards achieving this ambition, one of the Council's first acts will be to organise a round table conversation. Leading public and private bodies across the UK will be invited to discuss how the UK can develop a robust cannabis industry, which drastically improves patient access and stimulates the economy post pandemic. Initially, the CIC will be chaired by Professor Mike Barnes, with formal elections and organisational subgroup Chairs to be appointed. Commenting on the issues facing the industry, Professor Barnes said that "Despite having a reputation as a globally dominant medicinal cannabis producer, the UK is almost entirely unable to cater to the needs of domestic patients. As it stands, there are numerous restrictions on full medical access due to unclear governmental bureaucracy, a lack of medical education and restrictive guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and other regulatory bodies. With the participation of the government, NHS and Home Office, the Cannabis Industry Council hopes to set a gold standard practice on how the sector should operate. He added: "Having signed up a large proportion of the industry, we hope to be taken incredibly seriously as a collective voice and trusted gateway for, and by, the sector." Kate Thorpe, Coordinator of the Cannabis Industry Council, said: "Collaboration and harmony is a crucial component for the advancement of any sector, and this is nowhere truer than in the cannabis space. Only by harnessing the greatest breadth of expertise and by offering all organisations within the industry a voice, can we generate real change." It must not be forgotten that at the industry's roots are very unwell adults and children who, even after being lucky enough to receive a medicinal cannabis prescription, face high costs and long waiting times. Sadly, their voices are often lost within other industry bodies, so the Council will give patients, businesses and public bodies an equal say. By asserting pressure on government to act now and act fast, the Council's efforts may finally bring about lasting change in an industry which so many depend upon. For decades, patients have faced significant barriers to access and now, at last, they have reason to believe that their struggle is coming to an end. The CIC is spearheading the revolution in the UK medical cannabis industry and its members are committed to fulfilling its mission. http://www.newbusiness.co.uk/articles/trainingeducation/cannabis-organisations-unite-demand-robust-cannabis-industry-uk Bongme
  4. Hi This an article on crime it only a very small section of what she says BUT gives you the idea of where she stands on Cannabis! (maybe some media later may get a more enlightened response to this) Patel also voiced a tough stance on drugs, saying cannabis users should not be overlooked by police, the Press Association reports. “Any form of drug use,” she said. “You don’t turn a blind eye to it at all. It has a corrosive impact on people and communities.” The Lib Dems accused Patel of “rank hypocrisy” over the zero-tolerance approach, considering the series of admissions from senior Tory colleagues. rest of the interview here https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/priti-patel-death-penalty_uk_5d4594f0e4b0acb57fcd2cff Bongme
  5. hi DEBATE: Should we remove the word ‘cannabis’ from medical cannabis advocacy? The House of Commons debate last Monday was a fantastic display of support and solidarity for families, campaigners and advocates alike, all hoping to expand access to medical cannabis that remains almost entirely inaccessible on the NHS. Speakers from across the House offered emotional and impassioned pleas for intervention by Under Secretary for Health Jo Churchill, calling for: better education and direction for prescribing medical professionals in the NHS; the consideration of an observational study to alleviate the need for children suffering with refractory epilepsy to come off their medication as part of a placebo group; and temporary financial support for the seventeen families currently eligible. Interestingly, a sizable number of the speakers discussed the reputation of the term ‘medical cannabis’ and its language as a focal point of their time. Many MPs claimed the besmirched reputation of the word ‘cannabis’ actively impedes upon access, where doctors may be wary to prescribe due to its connotations. It would not be the first time advocates have concertedly shifted the terminology of cannabis. Burdened by its racial connotations, the Mexican term ‘marijuana’ was co-opted by prohibitionists in 1930’s America in order to manufacture an impression of the drug as ‘un-American’, and justify the over-policing of non-white groups’ possession and consumption of cannabis. While this blighted history is well-known in advocacy circles, the origins of the dissemination of this term remains hidden from the general public. The MPs’ speeches reflect the tendency of a fragmented movement to ‘break off’ from its predecessors burdened by history, as they advocated for the rehabilitation the reputation of medical cannabis. In practical terms, this might look like replacing ‘cannabis’ with ‘cannabinoid’, ‘hemp’, or referring to the specific compounds within cannabis-based medicines. This article will first look at the benefits of a rehabilitated image for cannabis, starting with its name. It will then turn its attention to the arguments against embracing new terminology for cannabis-based medicines both for cannabis users and people who use other drugs. The House of Commons debate last Monday was a fantastic display of support and solidarity for families, campaigners and advocates alike, all hoping to expand access to medical cannabis that remains almost entirely inaccessible on the NHS. Speakers from across the House offered emotional and impassioned pleas for intervention by Under Secretary for Health Jo Churchill, calling for: better education and direction for prescribing medical professionals in the NHS; the consideration of an observational study to alleviate the need for children suffering with refractory epilepsy to come off their medication as part of a placebo group; and temporary financial support for the seventeen families currently eligible. Interestingly, a sizable number of the speakers discussed the reputation of the term ‘medical cannabis’ and its language as a focal point of their time. Many MPs claimed the besmirched reputation of the word ‘cannabis’ actively impedes upon access, where doctors may be wary to prescribe due to its connotations. It would not be the first time advocates have concertedly shifted the terminology of cannabis. Burdened by its racial connotations, the Mexican term ‘marijuana’ was co-opted by prohibitionists in 1930’s America in order to manufacture an impression of the drug as ‘un-American’, and justify the over-policing of non-white groups’ possession and consumption of cannabis. While this blighted history is well-known in advocacy circles, the origins of the dissemination of this term remains hidden from the general public. Creative Commons license: Wellcome images The MPs’ speeches reflect the tendency of a fragmented movement to ‘break off’ from its predecessors burdened by history, as they advocated for the rehabilitation the reputation of medical cannabis. In practical terms, this might look like replacing ‘cannabis’ with ‘cannabinoid’, ‘hemp’, or referring to the specific compounds within cannabis-based medicines. This article will first look at the benefits of a rehabilitated image for cannabis, starting with its name. It will then turn its attention to the arguments against embracing new terminology for cannabis-based medicines both for cannabis users and people who use other drugs. THE CASE FOR Insurmountable fear & a clean slate. “In this House, we should not be using the word “cannabis”, because it strikes that fear into the hearts of many, many people across the UK.” Tonia Antoniazzi, Labour MP for Gower. “I think this problem might be to do with the terrible word “cannabis” that we use in this country. This is not anything to do with cannabis, really; I wish we could invent another name for it and just say “oil with TCHs in it”, because that would eradicate much of the fear that there is at present—and it is not just fear, it is dangerous to the argument.” Sir Mike Penning, Conservative MP for Hemel Hempstead. For as long as we have seen representations of cannabis in the media and politics, it has been intrinsically connected with fear. The early 20th century saw the immediate categorisation of the drug by politicians, doctors and police as one with the capacity to morally corrupt the British people. This assumption was directly informed by racist and imperialist ideologies that connected the use of cannabis among immigrants and non-white residents with danger to upstanding communities. A moral panic was manufactured out of fear of a drug that had predominantly existed in countries which had been colonised by Britain. Cannabis and hashish was a perceived problem by the colonizers; thus, authorities sought to control it. This panic has persisted for over one hundred years, its malleable state allowing ‘cannabis’ to be a vehicle for suppressing the anti-war ‘hippy’ movement and racial equality movements in the US through fear-mongering. MPs in the Commons debate have aptly understood the crux of all issues pertaining to drug policy reform: decisions that engage first with fear, and then with reason. Jonathan Haidt’s’ The Righteous Mind’ uses the analogy of a rational Rider atop an intuitive Elephant, where the former is in control until the Elephant’s overpowered, primal instincts are alerted. If we eliminate the initial alarm- the instinctual and fearful aversion to ‘cannabis’- we can more readily appeal to our target (in this instance, medical practitioners). While the process of overcoming this initial and intuitive fear with heroin, cocaine, or recreational cannabis use may be a longer process, medical cannabis is not necessarily positioned in the same way. Already distinct due to the reforms in 2018 which created a legal pathway for access, medical cannabis is an unnecessary casualty in the War on Drugs and for this reason needs to be, above all else, uncontroversial. By separating medical cannabis from the term ‘cannabis’ and embracing an alternative, we might start to quell the instincts that encourage the reluctance to prescribe the life-saving medicines. It is an easier win than doing so for all drugs, so should we not take our victories and prioritise the wellbeing of suffering patients? While not explicitly mentioned in the debate, it is important to recognise that before 2018 much of the understanding around cannabis in primary care was tied to its alleged link with psychosis. If a GP was approached by a patient who was self medicating with cannabis for conditions such as anxiety and depression, their apprehension to support this would be understandable. Since its legalisation, however, revelations of the ability of cannabis-based medicine to effectively manage symptoms in a variety of mental health conditions have emerged. It could take years to re-inform and shift medical opinions on cannabis-based medicines, especially where patients are either children, or have a mental health condition. But if a new term free from the drug’s loaded history and preconceived understandings was popularised, it could help accelerate this necessary shift. Ultimately, increasing patient access has the potential to drastically improve patient outcomes and reduce harms, the cornerstone of medical intervention and care. A line in the sand. “[…] the crucial thing about when the law was changed was that it was about the prescribed medical use of cannabis oil by a specialist consultant, not a GP. It was not about a spliff behind the bike sheds or anything like that; it was prescribed medical use that saved children’s lives.” Sir Mike Penning, Conservative MP for Hemel Hempstead. “Does she [Christine Jardine MP] share my frustration—I am sure she does—that the debate around medicinal cannabis is often confused with people who just want to smoke dope and drop out? “ Adam Afriyie, Conservative MP for Windsor. “If we continue to talk about medicinal “cannabis”, stigma will continue to attach to the part that gives a hallucinogenic effect. That is the part that everyone will focus on unless we start to change the direction, the language and the naming, which is why the medical profession is blackballing it on every occasion.” Paul Girvan, DUP MP for South Antrim. Another crucial argument in favour of changing the way we talk about medical cannabis is in pursuit of the separation between medical and recreational cannabis use. It is true that the reputation of medical cannabis users have been conflated with those of recreational.. Since the inception of the Misuse of Drugs Act, cannabis has been presented as equally dangerous as heroin and cocaine for both the individual and society. Cannabis use and users attracted multitudes of misinformation and inflammatory headlines. The criminalisation, and ultimately stigmatisation, of those who use cannabis continues to underpin medical opinions and understanding of the harms and risks associated with prescribing cannabis as a medical treatment. The risks of being associated with recreational cannabis may limit a doctor’s confidence in advising, and supporting patients who are trying to obtain cannabis medicine, and prevents them from accepting cannabis-based medicines as legitimate treatment pathways. . If the Rt. Hon. Paul Girvan is right, and the continued association of medical cannabis use with its recreational use is the primary inhibitor of reform, we must seek to alleviate this associated stigma. A holistic rehabilitation of the image of cannabis is possible, but it could take decades to do so. People are dying now, and children are suffering, Ronnie Cowan MP suggested, “let us call it ‘medical hemp’”. But is it that simple? THE CASE AGAINST “[…] the core of the problem [is] the reputational issues that we are dealing with. We owe it to our constituents to do just a little better. We owe it to them to try to understand the evidence and create institutions that will advise our Government based on the evidence. We have a duty not to be stampeded by the popular press in a particular direction about the particular meanings of words, but we have done so for 50 years in regard to cannabis” Crispin Blunt, Conservative MP for Reigate. Realistic assessments of use. In spite of the Hon. MPs’ claims, a neat distinction between recreational and medical use of cannabis (nor other drugs) simply does not exist. Neurosight and Students for Sensible Drug Policy UK’s ‘Student Drug Behaviour and Mental Health during COVID-19’ survey contains compelling evidence to support this stance. Among students who had taken illicit drugs in the 2020-2021 academic year, as many as 36% reported that they had never or rarely used drugs with socialisation as their primary motivation. For those students who used drugs daily, motivations related to mental health including dealing with anxiety, relieving depressive symptoms and escaping reality were uniformly cited most. These motivations can be considered both recreational and medical, and are the reality for many cannabis users. Image credit: Marco Verch The media and politicians’ tendency to separate cannabis users into either critically ill or irresponsible pleasure-seekers is therefore inappropriate, failing to take into account the myriad nuances between the two classifications. The reality is that most cannabis use is more complex than the distinction between chronic illness and not, unable to aptly be pigeonholed into neither recreational nor medical. Therefore, in drawing a line in the sand we are ignoring the needs of the vast majority of cannabis users, who are still at risk of criminalisation, and other harms associated with the prohibition of cannabis. Working with fear, not against it “All of us have a duty to […] be able to disaggregate all the issues and negative connotations associated with the use of cannabis” “We refuse to listen to the evidence because it will be politically inconvenient and subject to misrepresentation in the media. We owe our constituents way more than that” Crispin Blunt, Conservative MP for Reigate. In the Commons debate, the implication was clear; The policy deadlock and reform for access to medical cannabis access should be delineated from the wider drug policy reform movement. The fear instilled by the word ‘cannabis’ was presented as insurmountable, and as such in order to expand access to medical cannabis, we must abandon the term in and of itself. While doing so may be immediately advantageous for medical cannabis reform, the consequences for the wider drug policy reform movement would be devastating. Advocates, activists and reformers have been pursuing the holistic dismantling of the War on Drugs since its creation. The movement has made incredible triumphs that encouraged research into cannabis-based medicines, and successfully lobbied for its legalisation in 2018. This was done so in the interest of saving lives and reducing harm above all else, a mission shared by medical cannabis campaigners. To draw a line in the sand between medical cannabis and other drugs, including recreational cannabis, would be disastrous to the advocacy efforts of drug policy reformers. This symbolic betrayal has real-world consequences. The ONS recently released devastating and unprecedented drug-related death statistics for England, Wales and Scotland for 2020, showing the real-world catastrophic consequences of the dehumanising drug policy of the UK government. Anything short of a holistic dismantling of the War on Drugs, achieved through humanising policy that does not distinguish between users of caffeine, ketamine and heroin, is insufficient. If the concern of MPs is of saving lives, specifically those most vulnerable, we cannot afford moral high-grounds in our pursuit of change. Should we abandon the term ‘medical cannabis’ to encourage more comfort and trust in prescribing the life-saving treatments among GPs? Should we instead seek to change minds, benefitting wider drug policy reform? We want to hear your opinion! Have your say on Twitter (@Voltefacehub), Facebook, or Instagram (@Voltefacehub). This piece was written by Content Officer Issy Ross (tweets @isabellakross) and Operations Officer Ella Walsh (tweets @snoop_ella). https://volteface.me/debate-replace-term-medical-cannabis/ Bongme
  6. hi Expert panel issues ‘weak’ recommendation for use of medical cannabis for chronic pain The official journal of The Royal Pharmaceutical Society A BMJ rapid recommendation for medical cannabis to be used in the treatment of moderate-to-severe chronic pain in adults and children has been labelled 'weak', owing to a close balance of harms and benefits. An international expert panel has issued a “weak” recommendation to offer a trial of non-inhaled medical cannabis, or cannabinoids, for people with chronic pain, if standard care is not sufficient. The BMJ rapid recommendation, published on 9 September 2021, applies to adults and children living with moderate-to-severe chronic pain, regardless of pain mechanism, including cancer-related chronic pain. It aims to address the confusion around the role of medical cannabis in the management of chronic pain. The recommendation includes a linked series of four systematic reviews summarising the current body of evidence, as well as patient values and preferences, regarding medical cannabis or cannabinoid for chronic pain. In its review, the guideline panel said that it was “confident” that non-inhaled medical cannabis or cannabinoids resulted in a “small” increase in the proportion of people living with chronic pain experiencing an “important” improvement in pain and sleep quality; and a “very small” increase in the proportion experiencing an improvement in physical function. They said that the treatment did not improve emotional function and could result in a “small to very small increase” in the proportion of people experiencing cognitive impairment, vomiting, drowsiness, and a “moderate increase” in the proportion experiencing dizziness. The panel also said they were “less confident” about whether use of medical cannabis or cannabinoids result in reduced use of opioids or increased risk of cannabis dependence. They added that the recommendation was “weak” because of the close balance between benefits and harms of medical cannabis for chronic pain. “It reflects a high value placed on small to very small improvements in self-reported pain intensity, physical functioning and sleep quality, and willingness to accept a small to modest risk of mostly self-limited and transient harms,” the guideline panel said, adding that shared decision making was required to ensure patients made choices that reflect their values and personal context. “Further research is warranted and may alter this recommendation,” they continued. Andrew Yates, pharmacy lead at the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, said the “important recommendation” was “greatly welcomed” by the organisation. “It represents a number of important firsts: it’s the first recommendation related to CBMPs [cannabis-based medicinal products] that treat chronic pain as one condition regardless of cause, it’s the first recommendation that has taken account of patient values and preferences so often forgotten about, and it’s the first recommendation that is easily translated into existing UK guidance for using non-inhaled formulations, and only after other therapies have been deemed unsuitable for the use of CBMPs. “We hope that this new recommendation is reviewed rapidly by NICE [National Institute for Health and Care Excellence] who currently do not recommend the use of CBMPs, as currently only patients who are able to pay privately for their medicine will benefit from this recommendation which will result in a two-tier system when it comes to access to cannabis medicines here in the UK.” The NICE clinical guideline on cannabis-based medicinal products does not currently recommend their use for chronic pain. A spokesperson for NICE said the rapid recommendation “does, however, acknowledge the need for more research to build the evidence base for the use of these medicines, and supports NHS England’s call to collect evidence from both randomised controlled trials and observational studies”. The rapid recommendation states that therapeutic trials should start with low-dose non-inhaled cannabidiol products, gradually increasing the dose and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level depending on clinical response and tolerability. https://pharmaceutical-journal.com/article/news/expert-panel-issues-weak-recommendation-for-use-of-medical-cannabis-for-chronic-pain Bongme
  7. Can anyone tell me what to look out for when Auto's need feeding when growing outdoors in pots. I know when to water, if the pots feel light when lifting, but when should you feed them. I read that if you use good soil, they shouldn't need feeding. But some of my larger fan leaves are turning yellow, and when i posted some pictures, on here to ask why, someone said they are hungry and need feeding. But surely when the when fan leaves are going yellow, it might be a little to late. I know there are many reasons why leaves go yellow, but going by my knowledge, it isn't due to over watering, as usually you would see leaf droop, due to leaves holding excess water. It isn't due to PH levels as this mainly affects Hydroponically grown, I am growing in soil, which should balance out the PH levels. My auto's are just coming into flower, about 2.5 weeks. is it a natural cycle for auto's for fan leaves to die off to put energy into buds.
  8. hi Cannabis users under the age of 45 are twice as likely to have a heart attack RESEARCH has discovered a link between cannabis consumption and heart attacks in young adults. A new study has found that individuals younger than the age of 45 who recently used cannabis are at double the risk of suffering a heart attack in the next 30 days- and the link is even stronger in frequent users. The research, published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, adds to evidence from earlier studies showing a correlation between heavy cannabis use and myocardial infarction- the medical term for a heart attack- in hospital settings. The new study analysed medical data from over 33,000 American adults aged between 18 to 44, of whom 17 percent reported using cannabis in the previous 30 days. A heart attack occurred in 1.3 percent of those who used cannabis and 0.8 percent of non-users. Those at the highest risk were male, cigarette smokers, vapers and heavy alcohol consumers. The research team added that those factors, plus others that increase the risk of a heart attack, were taken into account during the study. Lead researcher Dr Karim Ladha, a clinician scientist at Unity Health Toronto, said: “With recent legalisation and decriminalisation, cannabis use is increasing in young adults in North America, and we do not fully know its effects on cardiovascular health.” He added that the link was consistent across different forms of cannabis consumption, including smoking, vaping, and other methods such as edibles. Nikhil Mistry, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, added: "As a young adult, it is important to be aware of the risks associated with cannabis use, especially in the current climate where we are exposed to a wealth of misinformation and non–evidence-based health recommendations." Dr David Mazer, a clinician scientist at Unity Health Toronto, said: "Not only young adults, but physicians and other clinicians need to be aware of this potentially important relationship. "Cannabis use should be considered in cardiovascular risk assessment. When making decisions about cannabis consumption, patients and physicians should consider its associated benefits and risks, in the context of their own health risk factors and behaviours." https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1487657/young-cannabis-users-heart-attack-study Bongme
  9. hi MGC Pharma share price soars after CannEpil+ scores UK-first import deal Health & Biotech Europe-based biotech MGC Pharma has achieved a major milestone in its treatment of refractory epilepsy with CannEpil+ approved for import in the UK. MGC Pharma (ASX:MXC) has been granted a landmark UK import permit for its drug CannEpil+ to treat refractory epilepsy by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency via its UK distribution and clinical access partner Elite Pharmaco. It is the first time that an epilepsy treatment currently in a clinical trial process and containing THC has been approved by the authorities in the UK for import. CannEpil+ will be made available for free on compassionate grounds to 10 patients for six months, whose treatment will be monitored as part of an observational trial using a data collection app, provided by Alta Flora. The app will provide real time data on the efficacy of CannEpil+ to the regulatory bodies, and doctors monitoring its effectiveness as a treatment for refractory epilepsy, which means traditional seizure medicines no longer work. CannEpil+ provides treatment hope for refractory epilepsy One of the most common serious neurological conditions, epilepsy affects approximately 600,000 people in the UK, and around 50 million people worldwide. Approximately 33% of adults and 20-25% of children sufferers have refractory epilepsy. Just last week members of the British Parliament held a debate in the House of Commons about the use of medicinal cannabis in which MGC Pharma and CannEpil+ was mentioned. The approval to import CannEpil+ into the UK is in response to the urgent need of some patients to have access to a clinical product which has demonstrated its efficacy at treating refractory epilepsy, as well as its safety. Once the patients have begun their treatment, CannEpil+ will undergo an observational trial with data being entered into an app designed to establish a central platform to monitor the safety of treatment in patients globally. MGC Pharma’s growth continues MGC Pharma specialises in the production and development of phytocannabinoid-derived medicines. CannEpil+ is Biosimilar effect-identical product of CannEpil, manufactured under strict EU-GMP conditions and can be provided to patients in countries which allow cannabis-based medical products. MGC Pharma can offer CannEpil+ at more affordable prices to patients globally as the company moves through the clinical trial pipeline. It’s been a positive year of growth for the company, with record cumulative sales of phytocannabinoid products in FY21 with 12,457 units sold worldwide totalling around $2 million in revenue. At the time of writing the MGC pharma share price was up 8.33% to 6.5 cents. https://stockhead.com.au/health/mgc-pharma-share-price-soars-after-cannepil-scores-uk-first-import-deal/ Bongme
  10. hi Listed - The cheeky and offensive business names rejected by Companies House for being 'too rude' More than 800 names were rejected for registration over the last two years In the West Midlands, we have our fair share of shops with tongue-in-cheek names. We've got Balti Towers and Doggy Style Groomers just to name a few. However, across England and Wales more than 800 businesses have had their cheeky or offensive monikers rejected within the last two years. Read more: Meet Wolverhampton man who ditched footballing dream to work with Tyga, Lil Wayne and Drake The titles range from Anus Ale Limited to Camel Toe Clothing Limited. There were also 57 companies with the word cannabis - an illegal class B drug - in the name. The list of names rejected by Companies House was published as a result of a Freedom of Information request. Fat As Fork Ltd, Old Git Ltd, Peng Smoothies Ltd, Bumface and Dickweasle Ltd and Hugh Jass Consultancy Ltd are just some of the names which were rejected. Craig Goudie Erecting Ltd and Lou's Grooming are also among the potentially unfortunately offensive company names which have been banned by Companies House. There were also a number of companies whose names were rejected for references to the coronavirus pandemic. Names that are rejected can later be allowed on appeal if justification is accepted by Companies House. Companies House is the United Kingdom's register of companies and firms, along with their directors and significant shareholders. In addition to the obviously offensive words, there are 134 words and expressions which require approval from the Secretary of State in the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy to be used in company name. These include bank, benevolent, foundation, health care and Windsor. Below is a list of some of the company names which have been rejected over the past two years: ACADEMY OF SCIENCES AND STUDIES( ASS)UK LTD ALLCOCK AND KNOBAL LIMITED ANUS ALE LIMITED ASS CLEANING LTD (rejected twice) ASSET ASSASSIN LTD BALLSBRIDE LTD BANDIT BULLIES LTD BARKS AND FARTS LTD BIMBO'S HAIR LIMITED https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/black-country/listed-cheeky-offensive-business-names-21554094 Bongme
  11. hi Cannabis could be used to make cushions after research by Scots scientists Researchers at Scotland's Rural College say the "future is definitely hemp" after study over making greener products from the plant. Farmers could soon be growing cannabis to make ­eco-friendly foam cushions thanks to research done by ­scientists in Scotland. Researchers at ­Scotland’s Rural College have found hemp – a plant best known for its ­hallucinogenic variety – can be used to make greener versions of ­environmentally damaging petrochemical products such as insulation, foam cushions and packaging. Vijay Kumar Thakur, professor in new products from biomass at SRUC, said: “The future is ­definitely hemp. The potential is huge and if we want to be carbon neutral by 2050 it is ­invaluable. Polyurethane alone is worth £14billion worldwide and there is no reason why hemp cannot replace that.” The growth of hemp has been restricted by global governments because of its links with cannabis oil but the plants used in the research are from a different type of hemp. The research comes after the first hemp farms were set up in Scotland. Twelve farms in Aberdeenshire and Angus have set up a co-operative to grow hemp, which needs to be licensed. The initial plan is to grow hemp for the medical cannabis market but the farmers hope to expand into other areas, including textiles and ­industrial use. Kyle Esplin, chair of the Scottish Hemp Association, said: “Hemp is definitely the future – we can use it for so many things and one of the biggest is creating bio-­plastics and other ­sustainable materials. “We need a processing plant in Scotland but I am hopeful funding for this can be found in the next couple of years.” https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/cannabis-could-used-make-cushions-24968070 Bongme
  12. hi Hemel Hempstead MP condemns lack of movement on prescription of medicinal cannabis NHS rules only permit the prescription of medicinal cannabis when all other ‘treatment options have been exhausted’ The MP for Hemel Hempstead Sir Mike Penning has spoken in a debate on access to medicinal cannabis on the NHS. Three years ago, he was instrumental in securing the backing of Parliament and the then Prime Minister Theresa May in making the use of medicinal cannabis legal to treat conditions such as rare forms of epilepsy in children. Sir Mike met with campaigner Hannah Deacon, whose son Alfie Dingley’s seizures had dramatically improved with medicinal cannabis that she had obtained from Holland. Sir Mike introduced Hannah, and Alfie, to the then Prime Minister. As a result of that campaign, the drug was moved to a different schedule in UK legislation and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published guidance which should have made it possible for NHS doctors to prescribe it. However, at the moment NHS rules only permit the prescription of medicinal cannabis when all other ‘treatment options have been exhausted’ and where ‘clinically appropriate’ without clearly defining what this means. Also, many doctors are not keen on prescribing drugs they know little about. In order to be classed as a medicine, medicinal cannabis must be produced to specific standards. But most products are still unlicensed because they haven’t been subjected to long-term safety trials. It has also not been determined which conditions medical cannabis can be used for, and at what dose. As a result, only Alfie and two others have so far received NHS prescriptions. The families of other children with this very rare condition are forced to go to extreme lengths to raise funding to procure the drug. Speaking afterwards, Sir Mike said: “It is very frustrating. Many doctors are reluctant to prescribe medicinal cannabis as long-term safety trials are still outstanding, but for that some patients will need to be put on placebos to be able to compare it with the medicinal cannabis drug. "No parent is going to risk their child being in the group that are given a placebo – even for a trial – when they know medicinal cannabis works and stops these horrible life-threatening seizures. “It is clearly the will of Parliament to make this happen. There is cross-party support from all corners of the UK. Other countries are moving forward with this. We need to make it happen here.” https://www.hemeltoday.co.uk/news/people/hemel-hempstead-mp-condemns-lack-of-movement-on-prescription-of-medicinal-cannabis-3378248 Bongme
  13. Hi The Labour and cons really trust you don't they Is it potty to re-think the War on Drugs? Portugal reversed Europe's worst addiction crisis with an injection of radical thinking - it decriminalised drugs. Sounds crazy? A former Tory leader says not... while others insist it would backfire horribly here An immaculately dressed, petite 44-year-old woman approaches what looks like an ice cream van and whispers a personal code number through a hatch. Inside, a server prepares her daily heroin substitute, ensuring it is the correct strength, before passing it out in a small paper cup. She knocks it back in one and says: 'Obrigada', or thank you — and well she might. 'This is what saved my life,' she says. 'Without this van, these kind people, I'd be dead.' Behind Dulcineia Mendes Correia, other addicts turn up for their dose of the synthetic drug methadone. They come from all walks of life. One is a smart businessman. Another, who appears a little bedraggled, requests a clean needle kit to inject heroin. A third politely asks for free tin foil on which to burn the drug, a method known as 'chasing the dragon'. Anything, the experts will tell you, is better than injecting with dirty needles. This is the sharp end of what Portugal calls its integrated drug strategy, a programme launched 20 years ago with decriminalisation of narcotics at its heart, but with important add-ons, such as harm-reduction, treatment, education and re-integration. And last month, in the wake of an Office For National Statistics report that revealed there were 4,561 drug fatalities in the UK last year — the highest total since records began in 1993 — an unlikely advocate of the Portuguese approach called for it to be adopted by the UK. Former leader of the Conservative Party, William Hague, wrote an article in The Times headlined 'Decriminalising drugs is the only way forward'. 'Many Tories are reluctant, as I was two decades ago, to abandon a 'tough' law-and-order approach,' said Mr Hague, pointing out that politicians are fearful of even raising the issue because it is such a political hot potato. 'Yet two truths about this issue seem clear. The first is that it has become a massive social problem. The annual deaths represent tens of thousands more people trapped in addiction and heading for the same fate. The victims match closely with child poverty and areas of deprivation. 'The second truth, awkward though it may be for those of us who always wanted to get tougher, is we will never suppress the supply of drugs while the demand goes on.' A parliamentary report by Dame Carol Black last year found that the cost to society of illegal drugs was about £20billion a year in England and Wales but that we were spending only £600million on treatment and prevention. Since 2012, deaths from heroin had doubled and those from cocaine increased five-fold — while 27,000 young people now identified as being gang members, many drawn into drug dealing and violence. This was enough to persuade the Commons Health and Social Care Committee to recommend in 2019 'that the Government should consult on the decriminalisation of drug possession for personal use from a criminal offence to a civil matter'. 'After decriminalisation [in Portugal], all major indicators in a variety of studies improved,' Mr Hague said. 'Including an 18 per cent fall in the total costs to society. Might this not be worth a try?' In a bid to establish exactly how successful Portugal's bold move has been, the Mail travelled to Lisbon. What I discovered will shock some readers and surprise others who — quite understandably — have an instinctive aversion to any weakening of laws banning the possession of the sort of drugs that wreck so many young lives. First, though, it is important to explain what Portugal's approach is, how it came about — and to understand that decriminalisation is not the same as legalisation. In the 1990s, the country found itself in the grip of a heroin epidemic. The roots of the problem lay in Portugal's opening up to the outside world after the Carnation Revolution of 1974 ended the longest dictatorship in Europe. Portugal was suddenly exposed to new markets and influences and when, first marijuana then heroin, began flooding in, a country which the Swinging Sixties had passed by was utterly unprepared. By the late 90s, one per cent of the population was hooked on heroin. Almost half were injecting and, with few opportunities for acquiring new needles on a regular basis, addicts shared them, resulting in an incredible 56 per cent becoming HIV-positive. By 2001, Portugal accounted for 50 per cent of new needle-related HIV cases in the EU, despite having just 2 per cent of its population. 'It was desperate,' says Hugo Faria from Ares do Pinhal, the organisation that runs the van from which Dulcineia has just received her methadone. We are in Casal Ventoso, a once rundown and dangerous gathering place for addicts. 'There were incredibly high levels of criminality, with addicts using heroin everywhere. People were dying in the streets,' recalls Hugo. In the late 1990s, 70 per cent of all Portuguese crime was drug-related, with more than 40 per cent of the prison population in for offences related to drugs. 'Everyone, be it a family from a poorer district, or from the wealthiest areas — or even elected politicians — knew someone who had died from drug abuse or HIV,' says Dr Manuel Cardoso, Deputy General-Director of SICAD, Portugal's drug dependency agency. 'It was the number one concern at the time and we all knew something different had to be done.' The then prime minster, António Guterres — now Secretary-General of the United Nations — put together a panel of experts who, in 1999, reported back with 'The National Strategy for the Fight Against Drugs'. Introduced in 2001, it involved a combination of better treatment facilities, reducing harm (by, for example, providing clean needles), better education for the public and offering free and safer drug substitutes, such as methadone. The biggest change involved the decriminalisation of personal possession of small amounts of drugs, focusing instead on support to manage or get clear of drug use. Possession was no longer a criminal offence but regarded as an administrative one — no more serious than a speeding fine. However, trafficking, dealing and possessing more than enough for one's own personal consumption for 10 days remain illegal and are punished firmly by the courts. When a person is caught in possession of a small amount of a drug, their supply is confiscated and they are ordered to appear before district panels called Commissions for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction, comprising health, legal and social work professionals. I went to see one in action near Praça de Espanha on the edge of central Lisbon. A nervous-looking 20-year-old man had been caught with 3.08 grams of hashish. He was being interviewed by a social worker for an initial assessment. 'We are never judgmental and the atmosphere is relaxed,' says Nuno Capaz, vice-president of the Commission for Dissuasion of Drug Addiction, which administers the panels. 'We will usually explore why the person is using drugs, ask them whether they could use less, maybe try with none at all for a while, but we never tell them what to do. That would be counter-productive. 'If it's their first offence the case will be suspended and no more action taken — as it has been with this young man. However, for second and subsequent offences, they will be fined or asked to perform community service.' Fines are usually in the region of 35 to 40 euros, but in very rare cases, can be as much as 665 euros. 'Where there are signs of addiction, we can offer people treatment, counselling and harm-reduction medicine such as methadone,' continues Capaz. 'But they are not forced to do this. That won't work. They have to want treatment for it to be effective.' When chef Tiago Filipe, 32, was caught with 7.45 grams of cannabis at the age of 19, he was told he faced jail — five grams is usually the limit allowed as 'personal' — but his case was suspended on condition he agreed to receive help from one of the commission's counsellors. Tiago is now head chef at Lisbon's Lince Brewery Kitchen and he credits the more relaxed approach to possession with saving his career. It left him without a criminal record and enabled him to move on to senior positions in the UK — at The Savoy, Annabel's members' club and Hawksmoor steak restaurant. 'God knows what would have happened to me if I'd simply been thrown into prison,' he tells me. 'I didn't have a drug problem — I just smoked a bit of weed recreationally — but the counsellor made me ask myself why. It changed my behaviour and probably saved my career. It's a more humane system that tries to support people and help them change rather than simply punish them.' But doesn't this mean that more people will take drugs? Surely if there's nothing to fear, then there's nothing to deter? 'That's what we were worried about at the beginning — it was seen as a gamble that could backfire,' says SICAD's Dr Cardoso. 'We had to be brave, and it paid off.' New cases of HIV — the problem that prompted reform — fell from 1,287 in 2001 to just 16 by 2019. In the same year, the number of drug deaths fell to just six per million — about 50 times lower than the current rate in Scotland, which is still rising. Levels of drug use fell, too. According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Portugal now has some of the lowest rates of drug use among 15 to 34-year-olds in the EU. And, as a consequence of decriminalising small consumers of drugs, the profile of the prison population has changed dramatically. In 2001, more than 40 per cent of inmates were there for drug offences. That is now around 15 per cent. Yet spending per head of population on prevention and treatment is less than in England and Wales — 65million euros (£55million) in Portugal for a population of 10 million, compared with £600million in England and Wales for a population pushing 60million. The police, who were resistant to change at first, also came round when they began to see results. Commissioner Rui Cruz of Lisbon's Criminal Investigation Department, says: 'Drug users were seen as criminals before the law changed. There were many impoverished neighbourhoods where lots of people consumed on the streets. We dealt with consuming as a crime — and that criminalised whole neighbourhoods. 'When the law changed, we were able to apply more resources to trafficking. When we reduce the supply, we reduce the demand.' Some critics believe admissions to hospital for cannabis-related psychological problems in Portugal — a 29-fold increase from 20 to 588 between 2000 and 2015, according a group of Portuguese psychologists — could be related to relaxing attitudes to possession. But this might well have been caused by its once-high numbers of heroin users moving to cannabis. And the strength of cannabis has increased considerably over the past 20 years. In England, numbers of cannabis-related hospitalisations have risen by 50 per cent to 31,130 since 2013. Not everyone believes that a relaxation of drug laws is the answer. In a 2018 report on the legalisation of cannabis, the centre-right think tank, The Centre for Social Justice, predicted that removing legal constraints in the UK would result in a million more users and 100,000 new addicts. Andy Cook, its chief executive, said it would 'open the floodgates to hundreds of thousands of new users, many of whom will be young and vulnerable.' In America, sales have boomed as laws have been relaxed. There, 48 of the 50 states allow the sale of medical marijuana and 16 states have legalised it recreationally, including New York and the entire West Coast. In December last year, the cannabis-focused Leafly reported that Americans had purchased $18.3billion in cannabis products, up 71 per cent on the previous year, based on marijuana state tax and revenue records. It is figures such as these that give many British politicians pause. The last time Boris Johnson was asked about relaxing laws on drug use — when London Mayor Sadiq Khan suggested reviewing the legality of cannabis — his then spokesperson Allegra Stratton, said: 'The Prime Minister has spoken about this on many occasions — illicit drugs destroy lives and he has absolutely no intention of legalising cannabis, which is a harmful substance.' Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has also expressed opposition to decriminalisation. In an interview this year, he said: 'When I was Director of Public Prosecutions, I prosecuted many cases involving drugs and drug gangs and the criminality that sits behind, and it causes huge issues to vulnerable people across the country.' Advocates of the Portuguese system say they are not arguing that simply decriminalising personal possession works — treatment, harm-reduction and re-integration policies must be in place, too. These have all been made possible in Portugal because of SICAD, which oversees dozens of charities, NGOs and associations that work on the ground to help addicts. Each is funded in full or part by the government. At one such association, IN-Mouraria, run by the Group of Activists on HIV Treatments (GAT), I meet Patricia Pestana, 49, and Pedro Carvalho, 46. They share similar stories of having tried heroin with their friends when they were teenagers. 'We smoked it,' says Patricia. 'There was no information about the drug back then. We had no idea how bad it could get. We heard of people having problems from injecting but thought that wouldn't be us.' Each, in their own way, found IN-Mouraria, where they were given health checks, counselling and clinically administered methadone in order to wean them off heroin. The organisation also helps to treat Hepatitis C — a big problem for drug addicts. Patricia is now clean of heroin and works for GAT as a peer counsellor advising other drug users. Pedro, who has been living in a subterranean dwelling he dug in a forest on the outskirts of town for the past two years, has just been told he is to be given a rental home of his own. 'After that, I'm going to study to become an archaeologist,' he tells me. 'I have an ambition to find Atlantis.' Across town, I visit CRESCER, a program that provides help, advice and harm-reduction for homeless addicts. Its director, Andreia Alves, tells me proudly that they also provide homes for more than 100 addicts — every one of whom has gone on to either reduce their drug consumption or get clean. Out on the street, CRESCER psychologist Ary Teixeira and social worker Mariana Gomes find Carlos Figueiredo, 49, chasing the dragon. They give him some clean tin foil and ask how they can help. Before saying goodbye, they have arranged a meeting with a homeless charity to try to get him off the street. Around the corner, Dulcineia is just receiving her 'ice cream van' delivery of methadone, a substance that does not get her 'high' but simply stabilises her and removes cravings for heroin. 'My mother died of a heroin overdose by injection,' she tells me. 'So, I never injected, but I should never have started at all. I was 19 and thought smoking it wouldn't get me addicted, but it did. 'At the worst of my addiction, I was stealing things from shops and supermarkets to pay for my habit. You get desperate. I was so desperate that I would agree to have sex with men and ask for the money first — then run away with it. One night, a man locked me in a house and I had to escape through the bathroom window. 'Then I heard about this van and walked up one day and said, 'Please help me'. And they did blood tests, finding out I was HIV positive, and I was given help and treatment and methadone to get me away from heroin. That was seven years ago.' Dulcineia, who — unlike some addicts — does not wear the ravages of heroin use on her face, adds: 'Now I live a normal life and I have a job cleaning for two nice old ladies, who each have given me a key to their homes knowing I would never take anything from them. 'But most important of all, I have two children of my own, a boy and a girl, and they will never have to experience their mother dying from a heroin overdose.' https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9971277/Potty-think-War-Drugs-Portugal-reversed-addiction-crisis-decriminalising-drugs.html 600 Comments Top Hitter It shouldnt be a criminal offence it should be treated as a health issue because ultimately thats exactly what it is. The trouble with criminalising is that a lot of good people get caught up in it. They just need help. Put the money into rehabilitation, collect taxes, reduce crime and itll take money out of the criminal gangs pockets. It sounds scary but its proven in many places to reduce problems related to drugs even though some may think the opposite would happen Bongme
  14. This was brought to my attention by our new friend saber on another thred Grossly over the top I thought, but then I followed his link. http://www.schmoo.co.uk/soapcak.htm What does everyone think? Admin Guys, please could this one be pinned? It seems bloody serious to me!!
  15. hi telegraph As the party of entrepreneurship and sound public finances, it’s high time the Tories end the ‘war on drugs’ and decriminalise weed he ranks of former ministers who publicly support drug reform are both full and varied. There’s Bob Ainsworth, Tony Blair’s health minister, who called for all illicit drugs to be regulated and legally available back in 2010. There’s Jacqui Smith, who admitted in 2012 that her decision as Labour home secretary to upgrade cannabis to a Class B drug was wrong. There’s the Liberal Democrat former health minister Norman Lamb, who backed the legalisation of possession and consumption of cannabis in 2018. And most recently, there’s Conservative grandee and former leader of the party Lord Hague, who wrote a comment article earlier this month arguing that “decriminalising drugs is the only way forward”. What this diverse bunch have in common is that they only found the courage to speak out after they had left office, and were therefore no longer in a position to do anything about it. Convenient for them, as they didn’t have to face the political pressure of a public that has been terrified into submission by the US-led “war on drugs” for the past 50 years – a policy that has caused untold misery and cost many lives. But over the last two decades, at least, the US has been changing course. Marijuana for medicinal use is legal in 36 states, for recreational use in 18, while trailblazing Oregon has decriminalised personal possession of all drugs. In the UK, in contrast, drug laws have been stuck in a time warp – in defiance of not only the science but the economics and global politics. The moral case for drug reform is inarguable. Fifty years of prohibition have not led to a decline in addiction and deaths – on the contrary, drug-related deaths in England and Wales hit a record high this year and have been rising for the past eight, while in Scotland they are higher than anywhere in Europe. A sixth of inmates are in prison for drug offences, to say nothing of those whose crimes are linked to their addiction. The hypocrisy, when multiple members of the Cabinet – including the Prime Minister – have admitted to their own drug use is staggering. At the same time, while UK law technically changed in 2018 to allow medicinal cannabis in some very specific circumstances, the regulations imposed by an establishment petrified of being considered “soft” on drugs are so strict that the vast majority of desperate patients – from epileptic children to people battling cancer – cannot access it. Even politicians who are unsure about fully decriminalising all drugs know our cannabis laws are a disaster. They know it is wrong to condemn someone to a criminal record for possession of a drug that is less harmful (to the user and to society) than alcohol or tobacco, just like they know sending people to prison, where they are more likely to become dependent on far more harmful drugs than they are on the outside, is fuelling the UK’s spiralling addiction crisis. That’s why they keep changing their minds once they are no longer in power. If we are to “follow the science” and “save lives”, to use our Prime Minister’s favoured terms, we need a different way to make the case to the public. And as the party of business, sound finance and entrepreneurship, the Conservatives are the ones to do it. The first issue is simply one of cost – something any government struggling with the finances of a pandemic should have front of mind. In 2018 the TaxPayers’ Alliance found that legalising cannabis “could save at least £891.7m a year in reduced spending by police, prisons, courts and the NHS through pain relief treatments”. For context, that’s the amount the March 2020 budget pledged to invest to help British businesses lead the way in high-potential technologies. Speaking of those high-potential technologies, cannabis could be the new gold rush. The UK is already a world leader in growing medicinal cannabis, which is then exported in the absence of a legal market here. As our European neighbours press ahead with reform Britain risks being left behind on a multibillion-pound industry. A few years ago the Adam Smith Institute estimated a regulated UK market could be worth £6.8bn a year, increasing tax revenue by £1.05bn. In fact, back in 2015 a report by the Treasury itself found similar. That’s a much more appealing prospect than the post-pandemic tax rises Rishi Sunak seems fixated on. The kind of jobs a legal market would bring – in bioscience, agritech, marketing and retail – are either areas where the UK already excels, or where the pandemic destroyed job opportunities. As the furlough scheme winds down next month, imagine if the Conservatives could turn to the hundreds of thousands who have lost their jobs, and offer them a career in a cutting-edge new sector. You won’t hear Labour making these arguments. It is up to the Tories to change the terms of the argument, to talk both about ending the cruelty of the current anti-science approach and of inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs, saving taxpayers money at the same time. The late campaigner for drugs reform, and former smuggler, Howard Marks, was fond of pointing out that legal or illegal, cannabis sellers would always make billions – the only madness was gifting all that money solely to organised crime. Hague’s intervention shows it is not un-Conservative to imagine another way forward. It’s time for the self-appointed party of both business and law and order to see sense. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/08/30/save-lives-create-jobs-legalising-cannabis/ Bongme
  16. hi Toddler aged 18 months old rushed to hospital after eating parents' cannabis-laced space cake The child's 'stupid' parents - who also had £670 worth of cannabis stashed in an airing cupboard - were charged with child cruelty and drug offences An 18-month-old baby girl suffered a seizure after eating cake laced with cannabis. The mother called for an ambulance and accompanied the ailing child to Leicester Royal Infirmary, it was revealed in court. Caroline Bradley, prosecuting, said: "She told a member of hospital staff the child had eaten some cake made of cannabis." She lied and said a visitor brought it to her Leicester home without her knowledge, but later confessed to having baked it herself. The youngster must have found it in the fridge, the mother said. When her partner's mobile phone was inspected by the police, text messages revealed that he was a cannabis dealer. Leicester Crown Court was told the little girl, who was suffering from stomach pains at hospital, tested positive for cannabis - although it was not possible for medics to conclusively say the cake caused the seizure or pain, as she was also found to have a low sodium levels. The child recovered and was returned home, following social services inquiries. Miss Bradley said the police searched the couple's house the next day, where their other children were also living, and found five clear plastic bags containing cannabis, worth £670, in an airing cupboard being used as a wardrobe. The father told the officers he only smoked cannabis outdoors and kept it on a top shelf in the cupboard, out of reach of the youngsters. Text messages on his phone revealed he had offered to sell different strains of cannabis to others, including a boast of having a top quality batch worth double the usual price. The mother, when questioned, later admitted using cannabis butter [made from cannabis oil] as an ingredient in the cake. She claimed to have fallen asleep before the child consumed some of the cake. The judge was told that social services were aware of the situation and the children had been placed on a child protection register, but they remained at home as a family unit. Michael Garvey, mitigating, said: "Social services are satisfied with the mother's parenting. "It was an unfortunate incident - they'd become too relaxed about cannabis in the house." Both parents, in their mid-20s, each admitted one offence of child cruelty, by exposing their daughter to physical danger in a manner likely to cause suffering or injury to health, last summer. The father admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply. The mother admitted possessing the same class B drug. The couple are not being named because of a court order protecting the identity of their daughter. Judge Keith Raynor said of the father: "He's the primary source of the cannabis that led to the cake, which led to the cruelty charge, although the mother had a part in the making of the cake." Sentencing, he told the defendants: "You were so stupid to make a cannabis cake without considering what was going to happen to the cake if the child came across it. "You unlawfully exposed her to physical danger by leaving it in a place where it could be eaten." The judge said he accepted the cruelty offence was "very much at the lower end" involving negligence. The mother was placed on a 12 month community order. The father received a 12 month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months. Both were made the subject of a condition to continue living at their present address. https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/leicester-news/toddler-aged-18-months-old-5803072 Bongme
  17. hi Island to have a bigger voice in UK cannabis regulations ' THE local cannabis industry can expect to have a bigger voice in UK medical cannabis regulations following the appointment of a Guernsey resident to a UK national council. James Smith has recently been appointed co-chairman of the medicinal cannabis sub-group for the UK’s Cannabis Industry Council. He believes his appointment is a big responsibility, and an opportunity for the Channel Islands. ‘I think my appointment to this position helps represent Channel Island interests in terms of patients and doctors in the industry,’ Mr Smith said. ‘They can voice their concerns, and I will make sure they’re heard.’ Mr Smith said he has an extensive background of working with governments to improve and write regulations around medical cannabis cultivation. ‘I have a track record for achieving things, and I hope I have the same success in this role as co-chair of the medicinal cannabis sub-group,’ he said. ‘We are looking forward to joining the industry experts, organisations, and businesses involved and will strive to be part of a collective, trusted voice for the sector as well as helping to drive real change for patients. ‘This is a big win for us – it puts both Guernsey and 4C Labs on the map and firmly on the frontline in the UK medical cannabis industry.’ Mr Smith is a Canadian national who moved to Guernsey last October. Following his appointment to the CIC sub-group, he said he will go back and forth between London and Guernsey to enable him to fulfil all of his obligations. The CIC was founded to improve access to safe cannabis-based products across the UK and it is made up of more than 80 organisations working across different facets of the cannabis sector. Mr Smith is co-founder and chief revenue officer for medical cannabis company 4C Labs. The company, originally based in Canada, made an application to cultivate cannabis plants with high THC content as soon as the Bailiwick signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK Home Office at the end of July. ‘We want to create better access for patients to get them off opioids, sleeping pills and other chemical drugs,’ Mr Smith said. ‘Hopefully we’re going to build successful communication through my appointment to this sub-committee and Guernsey will benefit.’ Mr Smith has big hopes for the cannabis phyto-pharma industry in Guernsey. ‘While Guernsey’s medical cannabis sector is in its infancy, it has the potential to help transform the lives of patients both in the Channel Islands and the UK. An inability for cultivators to grow medical cannabis on the UK mainland, as well as supply chain issues from other legal jurisdictions means that the Channel Islands are uniquely positioned to help solve these challenges,’ he said. The UK Home Office is supposed to look at the 4C Labs cultivation application in September. It has a site visit tentatively planned in October, contingent on the success of the initial application. https://guernseypress.com/news/2021/08/21/island-to-have-a-bigger-voice-in-uk-cannabis-regulations/ 3 comments Bongme
  18. hi My dad, Mr Nice: life as the daughter of Britain’s best-known cannabis smuggler the Guardian Howard Marks was a notorious drug smuggler. He was also a caring, fun father, says his daughter Amber – now a barrister and pharmacology expert. Could her family archives shed new light on his life of crime? 1988, 10-year-old Amber Marks was woken at her home in Palma de Mallorca by the sound of her younger sister Francesca screaming. She got out of bed and found two strange men in the hall, one of whom would shortly introduce himself as Craig Lovato of the US Drug Enforcement Administration. In the statement made at the time, she described the scene: “I went into Mummy’s arms and asked what was happening. She said she didn’t know… I cuddled Mummy who was being sick… Lovato turned to Mummy and said he was going to extradite her and Daddy to America… Lovato asked for the keys of the car and I fetched Mummy’s handbag. He took the keys and gave her the purse, and said she’d need it where she was going. I asked him to please bring her back to say goodbye if they were going to extradite her. He said, ‘Maybe.’” Daddy was Howard Marks, Britain’s best-known cannabis smuggler, who was being arrested and would be held in prison in Madrid until his extradition to the US. After that, Amber would not see him again until nearly five years later, when she was able to visit him in federal prison in Indiana. Mummy was Judy Marks, who would also be held in jail for 18 months while her children – Amber, Francesca, seven, and Patrick, one – were looked after by friends and relatives. The statement is one of hundreds of artefacts that appear in Becoming Mr Nice: The Howard Marks Archive, a book that Amber has assembled and narrated. It is a cornucopia of memorabilia, including letters and photos to and from Howard in prison, his extremely imaginative defence case for an earlier trial, which led to an Old Bailey acquittal in 1981, and copies of the passports for his many aliases, including that of Donald Nice, which gave him the title of his bestselling memoir, Mr Nice. Amber is now 42, a qualified barrister and on maternity leave from her job as a lecturer in law and pharmacology at Queen Mary University of London; she is also the author of Headspace, a book about the surveillance society. Her son, Joan (the Mallorquín and Catalan version of Juan) Howard, was born in March – and appears to have inherited his grandfather’s benign smile. Compiling her father’s archive from more than 100 boxes of material has been a long process. Before he died in 2016, at the age of 70, Howard had told Amber that she might find the court transcript for his Old Bailey trial entertaining, and it duly features prominently. The thrust of his defence was a (completely bogus) claim that he had been working for Mexican intelligence to combat terrorism and the trafficking of hard drugs. He even included a suggestion that his Mexican handlers in Miami gave him membership of the “Mutiny”, a well-known haunt of all kinds of drug smugglers, and membership of the Costa del Sol tennis club, a place frequented by individuals the Mexican government was interested in. “I was told which days and evenings to turn up at these clubs and also to take tennis lessons. I became quite proficient at tennis.” No wonder the trial judge observed: “I hope the jury are following all this, because I am a little lost.” Amazingly, the wheeze worked and he was acquitted by a sympathetic jury. He had been planning to mount a similarly elaborate defence for his trial in the US in 1991, but decided to plead guilty after two of his former associates agreed to give evidence against him. He was sentenced to 25 years but released after seven. She was also surprised to discover her own take on things as a 10-year-old. In her 1988 statement she notes that there were “male secretaries with notebooks” present during the raid who she now realises must have been Spanish detectives. “Lovato told us that his plan was to lock both my parents up for the rest of their lives. Reading the statement now reminded me a bit of Kafka’s The Trial,” she says. “There was also ample evidence of the huge efforts he went to while in prison to have us kids taken care of, for example – which was reassuring given the stick he was often given in some parts of the press for being a careless father.” Howard always believed that Judy was arrested only to put pressure on him to plead guilty so the children would at least be reunited with their mother. One of the items in the book is the telegram Judy sent to Howard in 1989 as she set off for the US, where she would plead guilty on a minor charge of conspiracy and be allowed to return to her family: “Am flying Friday. Pray for me. I hope see you soon. Love you. Judy”. (Judy has since written her own account, Mr Nice & Mrs Marks, published in 2007.) Amber remembers well the difficulties of that time. “There was a meeting of the parents of children [at the school she attended in Mallorca] who wanted to have us excluded because they said Howard’s reputation was bringing the school into disrepute, but the staff said no.” So what was he like as a father? “He enjoyed us as children. He laughed at things we did and said. He told me children’s stories and sang songs he made up for and about me. He was an energetic enthusiast and shared his interests with us – especially music, but also dancing, Monty Python, train sets, ant farms and the latest tech. He never teased us if we were scared but reassured us… He took us with him everywhere he could – round the world, restaurants and markets. “I remember the difficulty I had as a teenager [in Mallorca] persuading the boys that it really was only cannabis my dad had smuggled; it was incomprehensible to a Spaniard that someone could be sentenced to 25 years for ‘chocolate’ (cannabis) alone. I remember inviting them to dig up our garden to find the missing millions when they refused to believe we were no longer loaded!” In 1993, she was able to visit the penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, with Francesca, thanks to Howard’s loyal old Oxford University friend Julian Peto (now a distinguished epidemiologist) arranging a visit. A photo of their meeting features in the book. I also met Howard in Terre Haute during his sentence to interview him for the Guardian. I was struck then by how well-regarded he was by the prison staff. “Ah, you’ve come to see Narco Polo, have you?” said a prison officer with a smile. They were happy for me to take photos and make tape recordings in ways that would be unthinkable in most British prisons. He was, as Amber notes, a popular figure inside. One of the photos she found shows him with Veronza Bowers Jr, a Black Panther in jail for the murder of a US park ranger in 1973, a crime of which he still protests his innocence. Bowers used his esoteric healing skills to look after Howard when he was ill with prostate issues and skin disorders. An article Bowers wrote about his methods called Healing From The Inside appears in Amber’s book. Another fellow prisoner whose photo appears in the book was the Corsican Laurent “Charlot” Fiocconi, one of the characters on whom the 1971 film The French Connection was based. “I was surprised by how much material he had kept from that time in prison,” she says. “Combined with his letters, it paints a prettier picture of his daily life than I feared at the time. I enjoyed reading his comments about the behaviour of chipmunks in the prison, and about his sporting activities. And the documents reveal the petty injustices meted out on a daily basis – and the efforts Howard went to fight these on his own and others’ behalf.” 2015, Howard, by now suffering from terminal bowel cancer, performed in what was essentially a farewell concert at the Forum in Camden, London, in which the actor Rhys Ifans – who played him in the film Mr Nice – and Alabama 3, Cerys Matthews, Super Furry Animals and John Cooper Clarke all participated. Howard entertained a full house by reading his letter of application for the post of anti-drugs coordinator, or drug tsar, which had been advertised by the Blair government at an annual salary of £75,000. In his application, reproduced in the book, he describes his suitability for the role and explains his US incarceration thus: “For the first half of the 1990s, I was employed by the United States Department Of Justice, permitted to enter the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ convict section, and allowed to teach incarcerated drug traffickers. I did that for seven years. I can keep down a job… I would gladly risk and even sacrifice my life right now to achieve the eradication of all illegal drug trafficking in this country. I am 100% committed.” He received a polite response from the recruitment manager, regretting that he would not be interviewed but adding that, “I hope that your disappointment will not prevent you from applying for other positions which the Cabinet Office will advertise in the future.” What was it like when he came back home after being in prison? “He was very gentle and vulnerable when he first came out. He put a great deal of thought and effort into rebuilding our relationships on an individual basis – doing different things for and with each of us. He was released shortly before I sat my A-levels. He was a godsend: he got up before all of us and brought me breakfast in bed, and he took over all my household chores so I could study. He calmed me with techniques he had learned in prison when I was anxious on the morning of my examinations. “He was my dearest friend,” she adds. “We made each other laugh and took pride in each other’s accomplishments – he cried at my book launch! We shared books. We travelled together, to festivals and cannabis fairs, in Europe, Taiwan, Pakistan and Chile. He was wonderful with my friends. He told me he believed it was a parent’s duty to take care of a child’s friends, because of how important they were.” Howard’s regret at the time of his death was that, despite his efforts, catalogued in the archive by posters of him as a candidate for the Legalise Cannabis Party, the laws remained unchanged in the United Kingdom. Amber was intrigued to find evidence of much earlier political commitments. A letter to his parents after the 1968 anti-Vietnam war protests outside the US embassy in Grosvenor Square, London, recounts that: “I was very surprised at how ruthlessly violent the police were. They would just charge into the crowd on horses with hooves kicking and truncheons swinging.” A visit by Enoch Powell to Oxford sees him taking part in what turned out to be another violent clash. Howard’s days at Balliol College, Oxford, in the 60s provide material on the class system at the time. In a typescript that he compiled for John Jones, then dean of Balliol, who had asked years later for his recollections, Howard recounts that when he attended the college for a preliminary interview in 1963, another candidate asked what school he was from. He told him he had been at Garw grammar school. “‘Where’s that?’ he asked. I answered. ‘Oh, Wales!’ he said, very scornfully. I asked him which school he came from. ‘Eton,’ he said looking down at the floor. I couldn’t resist asking, ‘Where’s that?’ but he didn’t reply.” Appropriately, perhaps, Amber now feels that the best home for those hundred archival boxes would be a university. One of the letters reproduced in the book is from Howard to his parents about his wedding to Judy in 1980 while held in Brixton prison awaiting trial on the earlier charges. Amber, two, was a bridesmaid. “Halfway through the service I turned around and Amber caught my eye,” wrote Howard. “She gave me a smile and what appeared to be a knowing wink.” She has somehow managed to retain that knowing wink throughout her life. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/aug/21/my-dad-mr-nice-amber-marks-howard-marks Bongme
  19. Woman fined in court for 'potent cannabis smells' coming from her home A woman has been fined in court after her neighbours complained about the "potent cannabis smells" coming from her property. The woman, of South Wigston, had been issued with a Community Protection Notice in March 2020 by Oadby and Wigston Borough Council in a bid to solve the problem, after her neighbours found the stench intolerable. The notice required her to ensure “no offensive or noxious fumes or odours - including all such smells linked to the use of unlawful substances - escaped from the property such as to cause nuisance or annoyance to others in the vicinity”. However, in the three months after the notice was issued, the council received a further 35 reports of cannabis smells from the 26-year-old's property. The authority said that after repeated advice, warnings and offers of support in addressing the drug misuse, all of which were ignored by the woman it took the decision to prosecute. The hearing, which was delayed due the pandemic, took place at Leicester Magistrates' Court on Thursday, August 5. She failed to attend. Samuel Ball, the council’s assistant solicitor, told the hearing that the odours "permeated into, circulated around and lingered for long periods of time in neighbouring properties, causing a significant and detrimental effect on the quality of those residents' lives and the peaceful use and enjoyment of their own properties”. Thomas MacCabe, the council's anti-social behaviour officer, added: "Residents across the borough, including those on Park Road in South Wigston, should be able to live in clean communities, free from nuisances caused by others, in whatever form they may take." In her absense, the accused was found guilty of breaching the notice and was fined £180, ordered to pay Oadby and Wigston Borough Council £180 in costs and charged an additional £34 in victim surcharges. After the hearing, the head of law and democracy for the council, David Gill, said: "This case represents the first known successful prosecution brought in Leicestershire for a breach of a Community Protection Notice concerning the impacts of drug use from a residential dwelling, emphasising the seriousness of being issued with such a notice which should not be ignored." https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/leicester-news/woman-fined-court-potent-cannabis-5750386
  20. hi Ex-minister William Hague calls for drug use to be DECRIMINALISED Former Tory leader William Hague calls for drugs to be decriminalised saying ‘it is the only way forward’ to treat addiction as a health issue as Portugal does Peer said change needed to tackle the ‘massive social problem’ affecting UK Official figures show deaths from MDMA and cocaine rose 10-fold in a decade Hague: ‘We will never suppress the supply of drugs while the demand goes on’ Drug use should be decriminalised and treated as a health problem because decades of hardline approaches to the problem have failed, former Tory leader Lord Hague said today. The former minister said that the UK should follow the lead of Portugal, which has seen use drop after it cut criminal sanctions and ploughed money into healthcare instead. The former Opposition leader admitted he had been guilty, like other Conservative politicians, of a reluctance ‘to abandon a ”tough” law and order approach’. But he said it was now clear something had to change to tackle the ‘massive social problem’, adding: ‘We will never suppress the supply of drugs while the demand goes on.’ Writing in today’s Times, the peer said: ‘Portugal has not legalised drugs and still punishes drug-trafficking. ‘But after decriminalisation, all major indicators in a variety of studies have improved, including an 18 per cent fall in the total costs to society after 11 years. ‘By 2010, the number of drug offenders sent to criminal courts had halved. ‘Less law enforcement work will have helped to pay for better treatments. Might this not be worth a try?’ The former minister said that the UK should follow the lead of Portugal, which has seen use drop after it cut criminal sanctions and ploughed money into healthcare instead. The former Opposition leader admitted he had been guilty, like other Conservative politicians, of a reluctance ‘to abandon a ”tough” law and order approach’. But he added: ‘We will never suppress the supply of drugs while the demand goes on.’ Heroin, morphine and cocaine were behind the most drug-related deaths in 2020 Office for National Statistics figures revealed that drug-related deaths have risen to their highest level in almost 30 years. Charities slammed the figures as ‘tragic and concerning’ and called on the Government to do more to help people with addictions. But one said the rise in cocaine-related deaths, which were the second highest in the country, were sad but ‘especially unsurprising… given that the drug is so readily available and as easy to order as a Deliveroo’. Below are the top ten drugs that sparked the most deaths from addiction: Drug Heroin and morphine Cocaine Any antidepressant Methadone Any benzodiazepine Pregabalin Diazepam Any paracetamol Paracetamol Any other antidepressants Codeine No. of deaths in 2020 1,337 777 517 516 476 344 304 235 235 219 203 He added: ‘Recreational drug use is no longer unmentionable but in most governments the issue of drug addiction remains unresolvable. ‘Ministers face conflicting advice, bureaucratic inertia and a fear of doing the wrong thing. Amidst low public expectations of any change, it is safer to try more of the same. ‘Labour fear being depicted as ”soft” if they deviate from established policies. Lib Dems have always differed but been seen as sandal-wearing potheads as a result. ‘Many Tories are reluctant, as I was two decades ago, to abandon a ”tough” law and order approach.’ Last week official figures showed deaths from MDMA, cocaine and sleeping pills such as Xanax have spiralled up to 10-fold in a decade. Office for National Statistics data showed drug fatalities had surged to their highest level since 1993, with 4,561 deaths in England and Wales registered last year It was the ninth successive year that drug fatalities have risen. Meanwhile Nicola Sturgeon was accused of presiding over ‘national shame’ as Scotland’s drugs deaths hit a new record of 1,339. The grim toll went up 5 per cent last year, the seventh annual rise in a row, as the country continued to have the worst fatality rate in Europe. MDMA, also known as ecstasy, was behind 10 times more deaths in England and Wales than in 2010, and among men fatalities linked to the drug were 13n times higher than 10 years ago. Cocaine-related fatalities jumped almost five-fold over the same period to 777, with rates among women soaring from just 19 to almost 160. And deaths involving benzodiazepine — a class of powerful sleeping pills that include Xanax and Valium — rose by almost 60 per cent in ten years. Experts said today the figures were sad but not surprising, especially for cocaine ‘given that [the drug] is so readily available and as easy to order as a Deliveroo’. They slammed the data as ‘tragic and concerning’, and called on ministers to urgently dish out extra support to fix the ‘public health emergency’. Many of those who died from taking illegal drugs were born in the 1970s. The victims include members of the so-called ‘Trainspotting generation’ that live in poorer towns and cities and became addicted to heroin in the 1990s when prices were cheap. Health Secretary Sajid Javid responded to the figures today saying the Government ‘is committed to tackling drug misuse and saving lives’. Ministers are now proposing to make naloxone — a medicine that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose — more widely available. https://celebritycovernews.com/world-news/ex-minister-william-hague-calls-for-drug-use-to-be-decriminalised/ Bongme
  21. hi Maajid Nawaz calls for legalisation of cannabis to 'reimagine' drug problem 2 vids on link For the UK to tackle criminality and addiction surrounding the illicit drug industry, lower level drugs like marijuana should be decriminalised. Following reports the Government intend to clamp down on drug users, even for the possession of small amounts, Maajid Nawaz made the argument that the Home Secretary's approach is wrong. "Depending on the culture, drugs are viewed in different ways and that is perhaps the reason why in this country we are so hesitant to move forward with this debate and say that actually, the solution is to decriminalise and regulate." Maajid went on: "What I am suggesting is the decriminalisation of all drugs so we don't punish addicts through the criminal justice system but rather treat them because addition is a health problem." He acknowledged that legalising some class A drugs such as cocaine and heroin may be problematic but doubled down to stress that he was "advocating for the legalisation and regulation of marijuana, and its taxation with an age-appropriate limit as we do with alcohol and tobacco." Maajid argued that although there are health risks to smoking cannabis, it no longer warrants criminalisation. He went on to remind listeners that if this principle was applied universally, alcohol would be made illegal. He dispelled further arguments that those opposed might make: "If you're worried about traffickers and gangs, then banning it is what creates that market. "It's about time that we try to change the way we look at this problem." Maajid concluded by hitting out at Home Secretary Priti Patel's plans to clamp down on users and dealers and insisted that "we've got to start reimagining some of our problems." https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/maajid-nawaz/cannabis-should-be-legalised-in-uk-maajid-nawaz-decriminalise-weed/ Bongme
  22. hi The UK’s proposed drugs policy update: should we be treating addicts as patients instead of criminals? TW: drug usage, mention of needles Early this July, the second part of an independent review into the UK’s drug policy was released. This newest document concludes a year-long analysis commissioned by the Home Office and led by former government health advisor Dame Carol Black. Black has previously said that she believes that addicts in this country are treated differently from sufferers of other illnesses and that misusers should be managed as patients, not criminals. Before the report had even been released, Black’s recommendations had been welcomed by lawmakers. Chair of the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group, Crispin Blunt MP, stated: “If drug misusers’ issues were dealt with as a health problem, rather than as a criminal justice problem, we’re likelier to have a much healthier and better society as a consequence.” The Misuse of Drugs Act, which saw its 50th anniversary this year, forms the foundation of the UK’s current drug policy. The law categorises drugs into different classes, each associated with a different criminal sentence. The bill was implemented in 1971 when, at the time, annual deaths attributed to drugs in the UK were under 100. In 2019, England and Wales saw this figure rise to 4,393 – the highest it had reached in 25 years. However, Blunt – as well as a group of over 50 MPs and peers who have called for the Misuse of Drugs Act to be replaced – do not represent the views of most in Parliament. The Minister for Crime and Policing, Kit Malthouse, has refuted these ideas – saying: “We have no plans to legalise drugs. Legalisation would send the wrong message to the vast majority of people who do not take drugs.” Black’s report declares that the UK’s treatment of drugs and drug misusers is “not fit for purpose” and that drug use acts as a substantial barrier towards Boris Johnson’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. The review is heavily critical of successive Conservative governments’ budget cuts that have left services inadequately funded. Black’s team also notes that drug-related deaths occur disproportionately in deprived areas of the country, particularly in the North of England. Overall, the report makes 32 recommendations for the government to better deal with the drug epidemic that the country is facing. At the forefront of Black’s recommendations is getting addicts into treatment rather than through the criminal justice system. Additionally, Black stresses the importance of providing greater support in other areas of addicts’ lives – such as housing, combating unemployment, and improving mental health services. In response to Black’s report, the government has announced that they will be creating a multi-departmental unit in order to better tackle drug abuse in the country. “The government faces an unavoidable choice: invest in tackling the problem or keep paying for the consequences,” Black has commented. The report calculated that dealing with illicit drug use costs over £19 billion or £58,000 per user annually. However, Public Health England estimates that by implementing Black’s recommendations, the government could save £4 for every £1 spent. Black stated, “Failure to invest will inevitably lead to increased future pressures on the criminal justice system, health services, employment services and the welfare system.” In addition to increased spending, Black urged the government to establish a central Drugs Unit which would be responsible for analysing the actions of various government departments and holding them to account. The report also criticised the use of one of the most common metrics of success in drug treatment services: the number of people who are discharged without returning within six months. Not only does this ignore the long-term struggles faced by addicts, but is also often tied to local authorities’ funding. Black has recommended the government recognise that “addiction is a chronic health condition, and like diabetes …, it will require long term follow up” to avoid issues of relapse. She warned that the system must not let sufferers “fall between the cracks”. Labour MP Grahame Morris has suggested that the UK should look to other countries, such as Portugal, for evidence for this approach’s success. Before 2001, Portugal suffered one of the worst rates of overdose deaths and HIV infections (caused by needle sharing among drug users) in Europe. In response to this, the Portuguese government established a committee of doctors, psychiatrists, judges, and other experts to devise a solution. Portugal changed the classification of personal drug use from a crime to a misdemeanour. According to Dr João Goulão, one of the experts behind the changes, decriminalising drugs “ stigma and the approach of drug users to the health and social responses that they needed”. By 2009, it was evident that both drug-related deaths and HIV infections were decreasing. Proponents of repealing the Misuse of Drugs Act point to Portugal as evidence for the success of decriminalisation. Morris said, “It would be wonderful to think we could live in a drug-free Utopia but it isn’t reality.” Advocates of the changes argue that by treating addicts as outpatients instead of criminals – and providing them with the resources and support they need – we can reduce deaths and help sufferers change their lives for the better. However, critics say that this system will not work in the UK as it did in Portugal. The Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Steve Turner, has argued, “If we legalise cannabis, then people will try harder drugs, like cocaine. If we legalise cocaine, then people will go on to something else.” He added: “If someone dies because we’ve allowed it, who’s responsible?” Although, as Crispin Blunt points out, this was the so-called ‘British-system’ before the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971. Opiate addicts (which represented nearly half of all drug poisonings in 2019) could be prescribed safe quantities of medical-grade heroin or morphine by their doctor, providing them with a safe way of escaping their addiction without the fear of being criminally charged. One campaigner, Pat Hudson, whose son Kevin died of a heroin overdose commented: “The stigma of illegality prevents young people seeking help.” Hudson also noted, “Drug policies are killing young people rather than the drugs themselves.” Additionally, Blunt argues that the stigma attached to drugs has made it difficult to develop medicines from cannabis or psychedelics to treat other conditions. In the UK there have been several cases of people having to enter into legal fights for cannabis-based medication to minimise symptoms of conditions such as epilepsy. Despite the recent report, the government shows no indication that it will change tack away from what Blunt calls the “policy of total madness.” While Blunt and Morris represent a small but impassioned faction in the government, they are unlikely to substantially influence UK policy within the Commons in the foreseeable future. Conservative MP Charles Walker explained: “I’m not sure there’s a huge appetite amongst politicians and I’m not sure there’s a huge appetite amongst the public to do much more on drugs.” At the moment, it seems that the current government’s focus is concentrated on things other than reforming drug policy, and there is little reason to believe that this will change at any time in the near future. https://theboar.org/2021/08/the-uks-proposed-drugs-policy-update-should-we-be-treating-addicts-as-patients-not-criminals/ Bongme
  23. hi Vile hypocrisy from Tories on drugs is quite simply coming at cost of lives WHAT percentage of the UK Cabinet do you reckon have used class A drugs at some point in their lives? How many MPs? What percentage of Lords? How many of their staff? I’d be prepared to wager a hefty sum that the prevalence of drug use around Westminster is considerably higher than the population at large – and all the evidence suggests that a substantial proportion of the population use or have used drugs too. And that doesn’t include nicotine or alcohol. By way of context, Scottish Government statistics suggest around 14% of folk are prepared to admit they’ve used controlled substances in the past 12 months. This increases to around 25% of Scots who disclose they’ve used some kind of drug at some point in their lives. The true percentage seems guaranteed to be higher still. Cannabis is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the most commonly identified drug, followed by prescription painkillers taken without a doctor’s note, then cocaine and ecstasy. The Prime Minister, characteristically, tells two different stories about whether he has ever committed an offence under section 5 of the Misuse of Drugs Act. His first public line was that “I think I was once given cocaine but I sneezed and so it did not go up my nose”. Johnson told a different story to GQ magazine back in 2007, admitting he tried cocaine “at university and I remember it vividly. It achieved no pharmacological, psychotropic or any other effect on me whatsoever.” He now claims it is wrong to say he used the class A drug, as he had no idea what the chemical composition of the white powder he snuffled was. You’ll be unstunned to discover this isn’t a defence in law. Presumably because of a compromising number of witnesses, back in 2019 Michael Gove was forced to admit he took cocaine on “several occasions” as “a young journalist” but denied having “a habit”, expressing the necessary public regret for the youthful mistakes he made during his mid-30s. Needless to say, Gove has faced no criminal consequences as a result of this admission. Even Dame Andrea Leadsom – the apogee of small-minded, churchy, middle-English matronliness – confessed that she’d “smoked weed at university and have never smoked it again since”. And “everyone is entitled to a private life before becoming an MP,” she said. A private life? Let me remind you that under the 1971 Act, the maximum penalty for cannabis possession is five years imprisonment. Class A drugs can, at least in principle, get you seven years in the slammer. Curiously there’s no defence in the Misuse of Drugs Act that says “I was wearing black tie at the time, officer” or “what went on in the 1990s stays in the 1990s,” or “I am chairman of the Conservative Party”. But de facto, that’s the world we occupy, where Tory hypocrites can use their disposable income to get wired to the moon, and plead their youth and inexperience in the press, while they preside over a criminal system of drugs laws which jails other people’s children for crimes ministers also committed, while Conservative politicians moralise, fingerwag and contemplate a grim tally of drug-related deaths and record of pointless incarceration with dry eyes. The forever war on drugs must continue, so long as the only casualties are other people. Questioned about his attitude to drug consumption rooms during his visit to Scotland this week, Boris Johnson’s answer summed up the desperate lack of seriousness which characterises his government from tip to tail. “I’ll give you my instincts, okay. I am not in favour, instinctively, of encouraging people to take more drugs. What I am in favour of is helping problem addicts off drugs – helping people with problems off dependency. But I’m also in favour of a tough approach.” This is the considered reflection of the Prime Minister and Minister for the Union, just one week after 1339 drug-related deaths were reported in Scotland. Across the rest of the UK, problematic drug use is also implicated in rising numbers of premature deaths. But with Johnson, these long-standing, life-threatening issues are treated as surprising novelties, the stuff of “instinctual” responses and cheap slogans, years after a more substantive response was called for from his government. The idea that establishing a regulatory framework for safe injection facilities is “encouraging people to take more drugs” – as if we’re proposing to sell ecstasy in a 2-for-1 offer in Boots – sums up the intellectual and moral unseriousness of the man, and of the government he leads. Heads planted very firmly in the sand, inconvenient realties are left to die quietly in alleyways and on waste ground, while MPs dole out lectures about effective law enforcement and the virtues of abstinence. PROFESSOR Alex Stevens from the University of Kent has a sharp phrase for the game Conservative politicians are playing here. He calls it the “moral sidestep”, saying: “When politicians argue for policy change on the basis of evidence, they are met with moral claims, rather than evidential refutation.” He gives the example of Theresa May. Asked by the SNP’s Ronnie Cowan about the proven effectiveness of safe consumption facilities in reducing drugs-related deaths and as gateways to other services, May responded that she couldn’t endorse this “very liberal” approach. “I am very clear that we should recognise the damage that drugs do to people’s lives,” she said. “Our aim should be to ensure people come off drugs, do not go on drugs in the first place and keep clear of drugs. That is what we should focus on.” Forget the evidence: drugs are bad. The basic Tory line remains that there should be no compromises with reality. Small-minded, hectoring, moralistic – you won’t be surprised to discover that Douglas Ross made a series of interventions during his stint in the House of Commons, decrying any and every harm-reduction measure the Scottish Government has contemplated and introduced to try to address this appalling crisis in our public health. Ross’s original solution is “enforcing the law properly, not soft-touch sentencing and back-door decriminalisation”, clutching his pearls at the idea of the Government “actively setting up these places where drug possession and consumption are condoned. That would set us on the road to a sort of selective decriminalisation.” Absolutely Douglas, because cultures of condonement for drug use should only apply to Oxford colleges, Fleet Street parties, big corporates and toilets in the House of Commons. Ross has also attacked the Scottish Government’s naloxone programme, which provided funding to embed the medicine in the NHS and across the wider community. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist. When injected, it can rapidly reverse the effects of an overdose. In practice, it can save a life. For Ross, however, funding wider public provision of this life-saving treatment isn’t “ambitious” enough. We should “enforce the law” instead, he says. I don’t blame anyone for feeling exhausted by these debates, angry about the terrible tally of people killed in this country by the drugs they take and the reasons they take them, frustrated by our collective lack of progress and the worsening position, year on year, and the families who suffer as a consequence. So let’s agree on this, can we? Denying reality isn’t “tough”. Blocking harm-reduction measures which have proven effectiveness isn’t “tough”. Maintaining a criminal justice system for other people’s children, while you minimise and excuse your own youthful dalliances, is not “tough”. It’s just murderous hypocrisy. https://www.thenational.scot/news/19498883.vile-hypocrisy-tories-drugs-quite-simply-coming-cost-lives/ Bongme
  24. hi Drivers could land a £5,000 fine or driving ban for using herbal remedies The legal products are often used to help with problems like anxiety Drivers could face fines of up to £5,000 or even a ban from driving if they’re found driving under the influence of herbal remedies. Herbal remedies such as Rescue Remedy, CBD oils, gummies and capsules have become increasingly popular in recent years These legal products have boomed in popularity in recent years, with many people taking them as supplements to help relieve anxiety, stress and nerves. What is CBD? CBD is the generic name for products containing cannabidiol - a compound from hemp plants. While the product is placed in the same box as medical marijuana it does not have the same effects. Marijuana contains large amounts of THC, while hemp plans contain minimal amounts, and contain more CBD. CBD affects our cell-signalling system, which has been known to help regulate functions such as sleep, immune response, and pain. What is Rescue Remedy? A type of Bach Flower Remedy, Rescue Remedy contains a blend of five flowers: cherry plum, clematis, impatiens, rock rose and star-of-Bethlehem. The flowers are placed in water and infused via a heat source, the flowers are then discarded, and the liquid is preserved (usually with alcohol), diluted, and stored in vials. The effect of this product is like that of CBD. It’s reported to soothe pains, help with sleep, calms nerves and even improves focus. Will the Police stop you on these substances? If a police officer has deemed that you are driving dangerously and called you over to stop, it is unlikely that they will be suspicious of CBD or Rescue Remedy. However, it is possible that they may ask if you have consumed any substances such as these. If this goes to a drug screening test, you should be clear if you have consumed the recommended amount due to the amount of THC and alcohol in each of these products. Appropriate consumption of CBD and driving should not land you in trouble as you should not exceed the 2mg legal limit of THC allowed in your bloodstream, but if you are particularly concerned about this, there are CBD products available that contain no THC. Similarly, with Rescue Remedy, there is a small alcohol percentage in a dose of the product that you should not exceed the legal alcohol limit. Officers may also conduct a field impairment assessment instead of a drugs screening, this test will allow them to judge whether you are fit to drive. If you are using these products, there is a chance you may not be in the right state to drive, CBD can cause drowsiness and fatigue which could lead to poor reaction times, which is not safe for driving. Even though these products are legal, they could potentially leave you in a state that is unsafe for roads. A first offence for this can be a 12-month driving ban, void your car insurance and a fine of up to £5000. The penalties get more extreme for second-and third-time offences, it can even lead to prison time. Joel Kempson, car insurance expert, says: “Although substances like CBD and Rescue Remedy are legal and some users swear by their effects, they can lead to danger on the road. It is technically legal to drive when using the suggested dosage, but we do not recommend it. “These substances can lead to slower reaction times, which can put you and other drivers in danger. The potential consequences are not worth it, whether it leads to some sort of accident or if it leads to the police issuing a penalty. We think it is best to use these substances when you are not needed to operate a vehicle.” https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/drivers-could-land-5000-fine-21072193 Bongme
  25. hi Green and pleasant land? The future of cannabis use in the UK Eliot Wilson is co-founder of Pivot Point and a former House of Commons official. Smoking as a social activity suffered a heavy blow around 15 years ago. Between 2006 and 2007, the four parts of the United Kingdom brought in new laws prohibiting smoking in public places, with Scotland being the first to take the leap. I bear a sliver of responsibility: I worked for the House of Commons Health Committee which recommended tougher restrictions than the Blair government had originally intended. The result was that it became illegal to smoke in bars, pubs, restaurants, cafés and any other hospitality venues. The effect of this was—as had always been intended—to reduce the incidence of smoking. At least two million people have stopped smoking since the ban was introduced. Most agree that is a societal and epidemiological good. There is no doubt, though, that it has changed the character of some social interaction: the idea of a pint and a cigarette, or a cigar and a brandy, or an afternoon in a pub’s snug with a pipe, has been consigned to history, and smokers must go outside for their nicotine hit, or else do without. Many have chosen the latter. However, a new, or at least newly overt, habit is on the rise to transform our socialisation further: cannabis. We have been using Cannabis sativa for its psychoactive properties for more than 5,000 years, and it became almost synonymous with the counterculture of the 1960s, but its non-medical use is now becoming more widely legal. Canada, Mexico and South Africa have removed prohibitions on the drug, as have several American states including California, Colorado and Washington. Many more countries take a relaxed view of existing legal injunctions and have effectively decriminalised it. An interesting development was the announcement by British American Tobacco this week that it envisioned cannabis as part of its future business model as sale and use of cigarettes continues to decline. BAT bought a stake in Canadian medical cannabis manufacturer Organigram earlier this year, and has begun to fund research into a new range of adult cannabis products. What might the future look like, then, if cigarette sales continue to fall and other products are teed up to take their place? Vaping is very much part of the landscape now: there were around 11 million vapers worldwide a decade ago, but that number is today more like 50 million. And cannabis fits neatly into the vaping market: cannabidiol (CBD) liquid can be smoked in a vape easily and is sold as relieving anxiety and physical pain. Anywhere which has invested in outdoor smoking facilities—the smoking ban saw a boom in sales for patio heaters—can just as easily welcome cannabis smokers, either vaping or enjoying a traditional joint. Another effect, humans being as they are, has been the development of cannabis social clubs, or teapads. These are not-for-profit associations which cultivate and harvest cannabis for smoking by their members: a kind of allotment-cum-party which emphasises community spirit, group enjoyment and, in a strange way, a start-to-finish traceable supply chain. There is even a UK-wide list of such organisations. An inevitable outcome will surely be associations of cannabis connoisseurs. We all like to have an outlet for our chosen form of expertise and snobbery, whether it’s wine, spirits, cigars or food. One can imagine the scene of a circle of smokers, lips pursed finely around a joint made with marijuana grown on the south-facing slopes of the Himalayas, or a pipe packed with particularly flavoursome hashish from a remote part of Afghanistan. From there, the world is your oyster. Specialist cannabis shops selling the finest products from across the world, an array of pipes and hookahs, high-grade rolling paper, dedicated smoking hats and jackets: if you think any of this is far-fetched, look at eBay’s “tobacciana” category. None of this is new. Think of the opium dens of the 19th century, more often imagined than real in London but certainly existing in San Francisco and New York and Marseille and Toulon: these had their own attendant rituals and cultures, borrowing heavily from their Chinese originators. It’s easy to imagine a cannabis lounge in the London of 2025. Style mavens must always be attuned to new and developing trends, like insects detecting the finest tremors in a still pond. Cannabis has been with us for centuries, but our newfound openness to its use—and the direction of travel towards respectability seems strong—will have an impact on how the bright young things of tomorrow disport themselves in their leisure time. Keep your eyes open, but more, follow your nose. https://www.cityam.com/green-and-pleasant-land-the-future-of-cannabis-use-in-the-uk/ Bongme