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Coventry Judge Demands “Quit Cannabis Or Year In Prison”

December 22, 2011

A Cannabis user in Coventry has just been told to quit his 10-year cannabis habit by a Judge after he was found cultivating and supplying cannabis from his home during a February raid.

Stuart Campbell originally claimed that the cannabis was for his own personal use but when the case came to court he pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis with intent to supply and production of cannabis. At his home when the warrant was executed, 30 cannabis seedlings were found along with £1,000 worth of “cannabis leaf” and £2,200 in cash. Hardly someone high up the ladder in a drugs network, it is quite clear that this was an independent operation.
The sentence passed down by Judge Trevor Faber was a 12-month sentence suspended for two years while also having to complete an 18-month supervision order and a “thinking skills course”. Judge Faber added: ‘‘It appears to me that you have been using cannabis habitually since the early 90s and nothing has persuaded you to stop it. You will stop it now.” Maybe Stuart Campbell never stopped because it never caused any detriment to his health and because there were no victims to the so called crime that he has been charged with.

It is easier to accept that the courts ask Mr Campbell to stop dealing cannabis but not to ask him to stop using it, which is technically not against the law. The Misuse of Drugs Act states that it is an offence (not sure who to or how) to posses, distribute or cultivate cannabis; this is nothing more than a moral imposition. The legal and political system does not like cannabis us; it is illegal not because it is causing crime or harm to anyone. No victim has been reported in this case. No license exists for this grow but that is hardly surprising seeing as it costs pounds to grow 30 plants and it costs over £17,000 to apply to the Government to cultivate cannabis who deny you what should be, and is in reality, your natural human right to do if you so wish.

The police are wasting a huge amount of money enforcing prohibition of cannabis and the cultivation of it. The courts are complaining that regularly more than 50% of the cases each day are for cannabis cultivation or for those caught dealing on the streets. This says very strongly that there is a strong demand for cannabis and no matter how much money they want to throw at it, the production of it – which is as easy as planting a seed – isn’t going to disappear. The only way to have more control over the situation than they do now is to regulate the market. Allow people to grow it and give people who don’t want or know how to grow it the ability and respect to go into a regulated, dedicated store and purchase it.

The regulation of alcohol allows people to buy it in pretty much any store that sells food and drink now, not only in packs but in single cans or bottles. If you like you can also brew your own beer at home and take the time to get so good at it that you enter it into beer festivals. All without being criminalised. If Mr Campbell brewed beer and sold it in a pub or bar he would be an ordinary member of society. Because he chooses to do the same thing with a plant that kills 14,500 less people a year than the legal and morally acceptable alcohol he is a not only a criminal, he has been put in a personal moral situation that he will be lawfully effected by.

Side note: Hmmm, so this guy was dealing a bit on the side to keep himself afloat and now he has a criminal record and a scary drugs conviction – do our leaders and social task force believe that they have just made the situation any better? For him I would say “good luck trying to get a job acceptable to them now” and for them I would say “well done for meeting your targets again, lads”.

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Community Intellegence Leads Police To Bust £8 Million A Year Cannabis Farm In Merseyside’s Biggest Find.

December 19, 2011

In a disused Merseyside factory, police have just carried out their largest ever cannabis raid it, was reported in The Liverpool Echo on Friday. Those behind the highly professional set up have not been established by the police yet and an investigation has been launched to find them. From the photos released by The Echo it is clear to see that the level of sophistication is no more than a dressed down version than that of the legal warehouse grows of GW Pharmaceuticals, who can grow 20 tonnes per annum to produce Sativex for a limited number of MS patients in the UK, Canada and a dozen other countries across the world.

Are the police chasing a dangerous drug or is this a licensing issue?

The Misuse of Drugs Act ’71 says that cannabis is a dangerous drug that has no medicinal benefits and that is the statement that the Government like to feed the media in any correspondence that they are forced to give. So why are GW Pharmaceutical’s able to grow the same plant whose seed stock came from the same as 90% of the people growing it illegally in Europe and most of America – Hortifarm, a company whose license and the way that it was obtained is in much dispute.
Officers were clearly taken back and impressed by the quality of the grow, “Some of the plants are so tall you could easily get lost for a while in there,” shows you that this is not your regular cannabis “factory” as the tabloids like to report it.

Police Superintendent White in his statement said that it was down to “community intelligence” that the grow was found in Bootle, the largest they have ever come across. Supt White added: “The community are our eyes and ears. They know where this type of activity is taking place.” Certainly the way that the media are set in their ways at keeping the general public dumbed down from the truth about cannabis and maintaining an agenda of demonization to keep their negative stigma afloat, goes so far as aiding the police gain the support they need to match the targets they are probably given so they continue to receive a larger budget. The drug war IS a false economy and it is turning into an entertainment one at that.

Last week Operation Audatious was launched in Manchester where 1000 police officers went out to raid residential and business properties, warehouses and disused premises under a warrant allowing them under the Misuse of Drugs Act again. 130 members from different sectors of the public were selected and invited out on these raids to witness how these kinds of anti drugs raids take place. The media attention that it gathered was ample enough to send out the intended scare warning that ‘this society does not accept (these kinds of) drugs’ yet all the while the pages inbetween are Heineken ads and alcohol culture is at its peak. I bring this point up just to lay example to what I wrote earlier about the MDA71; it creates the situation where the police are involved and take heavy handed action over an agricultural practice for “health reasons” at the same time as a global corporate pharmaceutical company can mass produce it and export it to over a dozen countries in every continent, and at the same time as 14,500 are dying a year from alcohol use (not abuse according to NHS figures for 2005) compared to only 750 cases that were admitted to hospital for cannabis use.

England didn’t know what a cannabis farm war ten years ago, now we are referring to them as a problem just because there is so many of them being stumbled across… just imagine the ones that are going unnoticed and unfound, able to produce four multi-million pound harvests a year – year after year. Not only is the Government not taxing this income that Denver in Colorado have spent the last decade working on regulations for under their Medical Marijuana bill Amendment 20, but they are spending in excess of £16 billion a year trying to eradicate the cultivation and use of the cannabis plant. Cultural cleansing? This is without a doubt today’s civil rights movement and the financial figures calculated by the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit released in September this year back that up.

In A Clear Plan For Regulating Cannabis In Britain we can see that at the lower end of the estimate we would see £6.7 billion per annum generated by tax and on the higher end we can see figures reaching over £12 billion per annum. When you couple up these figures with the money that we are effectively seeing go to waste on enforcing cannabis prohibition in Britain, the Exchequer could be announcing at a future budget how due to a combination of saving and generating tax from legitimising the cannabis market, creating a new industry, there is now a further £40 billion + to spread out across other public sectors including public health care in the NHS, pensions, school programs, the housing crisis, fixing roads and improving Britain in general.

Not to mention… imagine how much time the police would have if they didn’t have to spend days, weeks, months and years investigating cannabis networks. Not everyone that grows cannabis is a criminal and involved in the violent gangs that just use cannabis to make up the money to carry out much more heinous crimes like human trafficking. Many are growing cannabis because they want to be able to do it in a legal industry and they are good at growing cannabis, are we not encouraged from a young age to do the things in life we love.
“The warehouse is not being used for any legitimate business it seems,” says Supt White of Merseyside police who revealed that it had taken longer than they usually take when carrying out a raid on a property for these reasons. This does not look like your standard Vietnames set up, everything is very clean, tidy and laid out in a manor much in the same way as the legal medical marijuana grows in America under regulation of the state, decor finesse is the only thing stopping this grow op from being in the running for a spread in High Times.

It’s time we let our politicians and local councillors know that there is a better way to control this situation – cannabis use is not going away and we need to stop pretending that prohibition is the answer. 50 years of throwing money and police officers at it has not got us anywhere but deeper into the realisation of how deep this culture is. It is time to look at methods of regulation.

All we have to look forward to now that this bust has taken place is room for another group to move in and make bigger profits in the gap that has been created, and more police time wasted hunting for the farmers and brains behind the set up. Lots of money goes down the drain in this process, real criminals get to continue getting away with real crime that has real victims unlike cannabis use, or cultivation, and the police continue to gain a bad reputation from the millions of cannabis consumers in the UK.

Public Freedom Of Information Inquiry Denied By Home Office For “Public Interest” Reasons

December 18, 2011

Clear – Cannabis Law Reform – are on a mission to make the truth about cannabis clear. To aid this task party leader, Peter Reynolds, submitted a Freedom of Information request on behalf of the British public to have published the licenses granted to GW Pharmaceuticals who have the unique lawful ability to grow cannabis for production of their MS treatment Sativex.

This information will allow us to see how we can help stop thousands of cannabis consumers being criminalized, and help hundreds of thousands, if not millions, who need to use cannabis in amounts that require them to grow it and gain the legal right to be able to do so. Between 2 and 6 million people in the UK consume cannabis on a regular basis and £16 billion a year is put on the tax payer enforcing prohibition of the scientifically proven non-toxic plant.

Reynolds original request reads;

Dear Home Office,

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, the Home Secretary is able to
issue licences covering production, possession and supply of any
controlled drug. GW Pharmaceuticals has been granted such licences
in relation to cannabis. I hereby request that a copy of all said
licences relating to GW Pharmaceuticals and cannabis, and all
secondary requirements such as fees, terms and conditions etc., be
provided.”

The reply to the request was not the desired one but has given those following the movement in the UK the feeling that there is something being covered up other than the reasons given by Mr Lee Smith of the Drugs Licensing and Compliance Unit. The most telling part of the reply;

I can confirm that the Home Office holds the information that you requested.
However, after careful consideration we have decided that the information is 
exempt from disclosure under sections 30 (1)(a), 41 and 43 of the Freedom of
Information Act. These provide that information can be withheld where
disclosure would be an actionable breach of confidence or would be likely to,
prejudice the prevention or detection of crime and the commercial interests of
any person, and the public interest falls in favour of applying these 
exemptions.  

In the official Clear reply – swiftly submitted – it points out the two main points of denial for the FOI request and then attacks them;

1. It may damage GW Pharma’s commercial interests.

This is an absurd excuse. GW has already been granted what is
almost certainly an unlawful monopoly. The relationship between the
Home Office and GW is self-evidently corrupt and improper. How does
this square with the anti-monopoly provisions of the Enterprise Act
2002? What opportunities exist for other businesses to grow
cannabis for medicine? This licence is issued by a public authority
and its terms and conditions (redacted in part if necessary) should
be freely available to public scrutiny.

We already know that pharmaceutical companies in both the UK and the US are trying to find a way to patent cannabis or cannabinoids; this is most likely going to happen in a way that patents cannabinoid combinations. So far this has been impossible to accomplish because cannabis and natural cannabinoids known as phytocannabinoids aren’t patentable, they grow naturally and that goes outside the rules. This has encouraged the US to bend the rules a little and soon we will see mass production from another pharma company out there legally distributing cannabis medicine to patients that if they were to grow their own would face federal imprisonment.

In the UK we have a situation where GW Pharmaceuticals have the monopoly on cannabis medicine creating a situation where they are able to completely control the market and the cost of the product – so much to the point that local health authorities are denying it from the Multiple Sclerosis patients that it is intended to be prescribed to. The cost of Sativex is around 1000 times greater than the cost to actually produce herbal cannabis which, according to medical users who have tried the spray, exceeds the spray in effects. If GW were able to be challenged in the market of providing cannabis medicines that can now be scientifically and categorically proven to provide a better quality of life and reduce the symptoms for a whole host of illnesses and disorders to patients, the chances are the price is going to have to come down. That’s just how the market works.

The denial to allow the public to see this information on the grounds that GW’s commercial interests would be damaged just means that it might allow others to use relevant information to start their own business and make money with cannabis legally for medical purposes, just like GW – and that would take away from their profits. What other industry has this kind of protection? Remember they can’t patent cannabis yet…

2. It may make GW potential targets of criminal activity.

Again, an absurd excuse. The location of GW’s facilities are

already public knowledge – at its headquarters in Porton Down,

Wiltshire and at the Kent Science Park, Sittingbourne,.This is nothing but an excuse to prevent public scrutiny and
amounts to an unlawful breach of the FOI Act 2000.

As the reply states, the location of GW is already known and it doesn’t take long to search on the internet to get a result. If there was that much of a concern about the secrecy of GW’s growing facilities would they really have showed it in all of its glory on the BBC Horizon episode The Evil Weed? Maybe we should be submitting a Freedom of Information request to find out how many times the UK’s only legal cannabis farm has been attacked or attempted to be broken into?

Or would it inspire anger in the public that are thrust into the realms of criminality if they try to carry out the same practices. Is cannabis dangerous, or are their concerns about licensing and the financial loss to GW Pharmaceuticals that would follow if ordinary members of the public were able to obtain growing licenses? As the first response from the original request states, the information which shows you the fees for the licensing of producing THC cannabis in the UK are available on the Home office Website:

New application for a licence to:

  • possess controlled drugs = £3,133
  • supply, or offer to supply, controlled drugs = £3,655
  • produce preparations containing controlled drugs = £4,178
  • produce controlled drugs = £4,700
  • cultivate cannabis= £4,700
  • cultivate cannabis with a THC content not exceeding 0.2 per cent = £580

So if you want to grow your own cannabis for your own personal use it is going to cost you £17,291 just for the paperwork cost and then every year you would have to pay a renewal of between £300 and £11,400 depending on the status of inspection for the license but, seeing as we can’t get access to the only one that exists in the country, that information remains a mystery. £17k isn’t something your normal, regular, everyday person who just wants to use cannabis can afford, let alone people who are desperate to grow their own to treat their serious medical needs or for someone to grow it for them. A basic grow set up starts around £500 with some people spending £10,000 on a up to date with the latest technology indoor garden, just as GW have been able to do so. In Colorado and other such states that have regulated medicinal cannabis use for qualifying conditions patients only have to pay around $200 for be legally posess and grow canabis with a plant limit and usable amount of medicine in weight as a requirement. It is so important to the state it has created 8000 jobs, 125,000 patients and has been written into the states constitution meaning the state will intervene with any federal action that is taken against Colorado Medical Marijuana Clinics.

Why should someone have to pay such a large amount in bureaucratic fees for something which they are not going to be supplying, distributing or making any money back on…AND of which a year’s supply would not even cost as much to produce as the licensing fees imposed?

So, as a conclusion, when the Drugs Licensing and Compliance Unit say that it is in “the public interest” to keep this information in the shadows, what they really mean is that it is in GW Pharma’s interest to keep this information redacted in its entirety so that they can continue to charge prices higher than the black market to patients sicker than the kind of people the government are trying to protect from using it – everyone else.

To follow this Freedom of Information request bookmark this page.

For more information about the political campaign in the UK visit http//clear-uk.org.

UK Legalise Cannabis E-Petition: Health – Sign & Share!

December 13, 2011

The truth about cannabis is overwhelmingly clear now. Unfortunately it still needs to be brought to the attention of the public and those to whom the issue doesn’t really affect. We must, as cannabis consumers, not be apathetic about this process; we can’t let ourselves slip into the frame of mind where we say “ah, I’ll do it later”. Otherwise we’re honestly likely to forget, especially with all the distractions and pointless virals that spread around the internet. Why not make this e-petition aiming to legalise cannabis possession the biggest thing on every social media network for the UK?

And what about off the internet?

The link is easy enough to share and if you read it a couple of times you may even remember it! http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/29

Signing this e-petition does not put your name down on a list that says you are a cannabis user; anyone can support this common sense request – you do not have to be a smoker to support ending cannabis prohibition. The petition reads:

“Responsible department: Home Office

A desire for the House of Commons to give a comprehensive debate regarding the merits of legalising cannabis. A need for Parliament to discuss the consequences of legalisation on health, the police force, the economy and our civil liberties. An aim to classify cannabis in line with drugs such as alcohol and tobacco.”

Pretty straight forward, really. We want our MPs to discuss this in the House of Commons; taking into consideration the effects of legalisation on:

 Health

Cannabis is medicine to millions in the UK. Those suffering with Crohn’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, cancer, neuropathic pain, Autism, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Epilepsy, Diabetes and depression could benefit from a natural herbal medicine that has been effectively used for at least the past 5000 years. The science is out there, you simply have to google the word cannabis and any illness and you will find some good evidence of its effectiveness from patients and Doctors alike – not to mention the scientific studies and papers published with findings backing up those patients claims.

Cannabis is just safer than alcohol and tobacco. This cannot be denied now – the best thing about the proof behind the safety of cannabis especially compared to other “legal” and “illegal” drugs (adding pharmaceuticals as a category to the other two legally available drugs mentioned) is many of the scientists that are responsible for these now culture famous studies originally intended to set out to prove cannabis was more harmful. The very Godfather of Medical Marijuana himself, Dr Lester Grinspoon, a strong Clear-UK supporter and the author of Marijuana Reconsidered, was of the conventional belief that cannabis was harmful and those that smoked the drug were putting their health at serious risk. As you would expect from a top doctor he put in the research and low and behold discovered the truth… cannabis was a safe substance to use and even further than that – it had serious medicinal benefits, which he unfortunately had to learn the hard way when his son went on to develop leukemia.

In the UK NHS figures for 2005 revealed that 14,982 people died from alcohol related deaths and the cost to the NHS was £2.7 billion this year in 2011, that’s a £1 billion increase on top of what was spent in 2001. Meanwhile in 2009, 750 people were admitted to hospital for cannabis, none of them died and the cost to the NHS and the tax payer is so minimal it cannot be found. Alcohol advertising is currently coming under the spotlight for targeting children. At the same time the cannabis law reform lobby are trying to change the laws to regulate cannabis so it is less available to children. Currently the only ID a cannabis dealer wants is a £20 note. That isn’t keeping those that are most vulnerable out of harm’s way. Youth surveys in America show that it is easier to get cannabis than alcohol or cigarettes and the reason they give is because they don’t need ID.

Most people who are against cannabis argue that it is damaging to health but as we established earlier the science is out there, smoked cannabis is being used as medicine and no detrimental effects are being reported, this form of ingestion would surely have shown its harms in the 50 years that we have seen such a prevalence in its use. ‘Lung cancer’ we hear a newspaper say? Take a look at the research of Dr Donald Tashkin who set out to prove whether or not cannabis smoking gave you a greater chance of developing cancers… The result? In fact if you don’t smoke anything at all you have a slightly higher risk of going on to naturally develop more cancers in the head, neck, and skin than the dreaded pot smokers – did the media report this with such enthusiasm as the always debunkable stories they do run on the negative sides of cannabis?

Psychosis is the common argument here in Britain though, with the Daily Mail’s favorite “just one joint causes schizophrenia” headlines influencing politicians to the point that the downgrading of cannabis to a class c from class b was reversed in 2009 after only four years of what many thought was decriminalization. It wasn’t – you were still branded a criminal for choosing something safer than legally available, socially harmful substances. The Keele University report commissioned by the Government for the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs in 2009 took a fully comprehensive look at all the reports and publications on the subject (they used 600,00 people in this study – by far the largest ever conducted) and concluded that there is no causal link between cannabis use and psychosis. Unfortunately the same Government and the current one still refuses to ever quote this study that they spent a large amount of tax payers’ money conducting, most probably because it found out and reported the opposite of what they had intended for it to find out. But the public remain misinformed by their Government, which in 2011 lie to quote this:

“The ACMD last published a report on cannabis in 2008 (“Cannabis: Classification and Public Health”). In this report the ACMD renewed its earlier advice that the use of cannabis is a significant public health issue. Cannabis can unquestionably cause harm to both individuals and society”.

In 2007 the same ACMD was responsible for publishing a top 20 list of the most harmful drugs, number one being the most harmful. Alcohol ranked in at fifth place while cannabis lingered quite a way behind at 11th. Professor David Nutt, chair of the ACMD at the time, was sacked and the Government eventually reclassified cannabis as a class c drug again against the advice of its own advisory council.

Whilst the Government continue to publicize that cannabis has no medicinal benefit in herbal form they have also provided a license to GW Pharmaceuticals giving them the unique power to grow at least 20 tonnes of cannabis per year in the UK to produce a “cannabis-based” medicine called Sativex, which is available on prescription to patients in the UK mainly suffering with MS and chronic pain. The progress to having more medical forms of cannabis is welcomed and encouraged but at the moment the price of Sativex – around 1000 times greater than the production cost – is so high that local health authorities have decided to ban it throughout most regions of the UK. This is denying safe access to the cannabis medicine that these patients need and deserve. At the same time, GW’s legal cannabis greenhouse farm is growing continuously through the seasons with supplemented lighting and the finest care. In contrast, regular home growers and cannabis consumers are raided, arrested and put in front of the courts for doing the same thing. With all of the science that GW have published over the last decade it is seriously hard to deny that anyone growing cannabis for themselves can be doing it for the same reason, for medicine, and with the same safety as the large corporate pharmaceutical company and the fact that licenses are available to be applied for in the UK (but are rejected if you try) just shows the extent of the unfairness and inequality that the Home Office are into.

The same compounds that are blamed for causing damage to the brain by the Government are actually produced in the brain. THC has a human synthesized version known as Anandamide and CBDs counterpart is 2-AG. Your body needs these self created compounds to live otherwise we go on to develop all of these age related and autoimmune diseases mentioned multiple times in this text. We have over 20,000 studies on cannabis for the Government to use “we don’t know enough about the way it works” is an insult to intelligence and to science, the scientists that conducted the studies and to the rats that were subject to things against their will.

Pharmaceutical drugs do not always work for patients. Conventional medicine is overly complicated, much of the time is responsible for causing other more serious diseases and needs balancing out with other pharmaceuticals so that you don’t die or go on to develop an incurable cancer. In 16 states across America and Washington DC patients are able to have a license to allow them to buy, possess and in many cases grow their own cannabis.

In Europe we have seen an increasing number of countries either decriminalize cannabis or all drugs and even start to regulate it, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Israel and even the Czech republic have more sensible policies than the supposedly progressive UK. Since the Dutch have had a tolerance policy towards cannabis and allowed coffee shops to sell it with some regulations in place heroin use has remained stable where in the same time (since 1976) heroin use has shot up 2000% in the UK. Why? Because putting cannabis in the same market place as heroin is a bad idea and gives the impression to less educated customers that it might be so bad because cannabis isn’t doing anything bad. This is known as the gateway theory and it really only exists in a world where hard drugs are mixed with herbs.

The truth is out there we need to bring it to the attention of the greater public. This is not as hard as you might think, just remember it’s just a conversation about a plant. Let’s get talking about it and then keep up the pace.

Subscribe to this blog to read the next sections of the argument over the following days;

-Police Force

-Economy

-Civil Liberties

…and after you have signed the petition, please consider sharing it on all your social networking sites, e-mail it to your family members and university clubs. Grab the poster and print it off and post it in visible areas so it will get seen and reach the people that will back our campaign. Reach out to the people that haven’t made their minds up yet before the Daily Mail come out with some more reefer madness and sway them in the wrong direction.

UK Courts: Creating Criminals Over Cannabis

December 5, 2011

Taking A Moral Highground

Honorary Recorder of Sheffield, Judge Alan Goldsack QC has set out on a moral mission to wipe out cannabis use in his city. His argument is policy biased, ignoring scientific and drug related crime data completely.

This week in Sheffield was Cannabis Action Week where police carried out raids on 16 properties of different kinds ranging from family homes to business properties. 15 arrests were made and a reported total of £50,000 worth of drugs were seized.

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Bob Chapman, who lead the Threat Harm and Risk Team from Monday to Friday, said: “Our operation was to tackle low-level dealers who cause immense problems for communities.

“It will not only have a positive effect within the community but also prevent serious criminality from gaining a foothold.”

The opposite is true, because the authorities refuse to wake up to the reality provided by the facts.

During the last Labour government, then-Home Secretary David Blunkett reclassified cannabis from its original Class B status to a Class C, which many claimed was decriminalisation as immediate arrest for possession was removed. It remained a more serious crime for manufacture and distribution.

Cannabis use among Britons also fell after the reclassification in 2004 and in 2005 the Home Office reported that 199,000 police hours were saved by this move. In fact, in 1999 the Runciman Report made it known that the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) had made similar recommendations to reclassify cannabis possession as far back as 1979.

Judge Goldsack’s crackdown has been in effect for some months now. He was quoted on 24th of September 2011 as saying, “Cannabis is a dangerous drug and anyone who brings it into existence must be punished,” and “Six out of the 14 cases on my list [this morning] involve producing cannabis on various scales,” commenting on the prevalence of indoor gardening in South Yorkshire.

Chief Inspector Chapman said: “My message to anyone tempted to grow cannabis is that cannabis is not a harmless drug – it is extremely detrimental to people’s lives.”

He then added…

“The strength of some of the skunk cannabis on sale is, in my opinion, of a strength comparable to Class A rather than Class B drugs.”

Where CI Chapman’s expert knowledge and opinion in drug strength comes from is one question, but why he thinks he is entitled to make those assumptions suggests that he thinks he has more power than is granted to him by his title. In the eyes of the law it doesn’t matter if it is industrial hemp, ditch-weed or skunk cannabis.

We were unable to receive comment on CI Chapman’s Class A and Class B drug taking experiences so we could further understand why he believes he is informed enough to make those claims, just by looking at the cannabis in its growing stages.

Rejection of Evidence and Evidence of Rejection

To suggest that cannabis is a drug as dangerous as heroin and cocaine is simply not supported by any scientific evidence, as the AMCD has consistently reiterated. The AMCD presented evidence to the Government in 2008 supporting its reasons for advising that cannabis remain Class C. This was ignored. Under Gordon Brown, Jacquie Smith reclassified cannabis to a class B drug again the following year.

It is not the first time in recent months that cannabis has been associated with the dangers of class A substances. In June, Charles Walker Conservative for Broxbourne made the preposterous claim in the House of Commons that it was less harmful for children to use cocaine than cannabis. “It is a lot easier to repair a septum in one’s nose than to repair a brain…” completely playing down any of the serious harms that cocaine can cause such as psychological and physical dependency.

In 2007 The Guardian reported:

“British Crime Survey statistics showed that the proportion of 16- to 24-year-olds using cannabis slumped from 28 per cent a decade ago to 21 per cent now, with its declining popularity accelerating after the decision to downgrade the drug to Class C was announced in January 2004.”

And…

“Mr Brown asked the Government’s advisory committee on the misuse of drugs to take a second look at the classification of cannabis in July after reports that stronger strains of cannabis – known as ‘superskunk’ – were dominating the British market…”

But as we have established, the evidence was ignored.

The choice of those in powerful positions to reject the expert and scientific information on the health and social harms of cannabis and dismissal of the health and social harms caused by prohibition, is allowing a criminal underclass to flourish in this country. If this is allowed to continue the damage will quickly become harder to repair due to the culture being passed down through generations. It will become systemic.

Reporting on one of Goldsack’s victims, The Sheffield Star in September said:

“Stuart Brown, 40, of Hay Green Lane, Birdwell, Barnsley, was jailed for six months for producing eight cannabis plants with a street value of £9,140. His mother, who is suffering from a tumour in her eye and was accompanied by his elderly father, wept in the public gallery as he was sent down. The court heard Brown had lost his job at Mercedes Benz because of the court proceedings.”

He will now have a criminal record, leave prison as a new figure on the unemployed register, be dependant on the state welfare system until he finds a job, and find it incredibly hard to find a job as he carries the stigma of a drug conviction. Not to mention the impact this will have on his ability to travel internationally.

Each new prison place costs an estimated £119,000 and the annual cost for someone to be imprisoned is around £40,000, according The Guardian. This means that Stuart Brown has cost the taxpayer £139,000 because he chose to grow cannabis himself rather than gift that money he would have spent on the class B drug to the criminal

underclass that he has now been made a part of.

Regulation

This nonsensical crackdown on cannabis seems even more ridiculous when you take into consideration the Government’s granting of a unique manufacture and marketing licence for Sativex, a cannabis-based mouth spray that is produced by GW Pharmaceuticals in Kent. They grow 200 tonnes of cannabis per annum to extract the lipid-based glands (which store the medical properties of the plant), by dissolving it in ethanol to create an alcohol/cannabinoids solution known as a tincture.

Sativex is a regulated dosage and legally prescribed (in some areas) to patients in the UK, Canada, Australia, and Spain with chronic pain, cancer pain and, mostly, MS. When cannabis is smoked those same medicinal lipid glands combust and vaporise, being taken into the blood stream through the lungs in the same way as oxygen is and your body metabolises it in the same way as Sativex has been proven to under highly regulated laboratory conditions.

In Brighton down on the South East Coast, Green MP Caroline Lucas is trying to move forward and introduce the localism agenda that Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has been pushing.

Lucas said in a speech to health workers: “The current free-for-all in which anyone can manufacture, sell or get hold of drugs needs to end — through proper regulation, strict controls on who can buy what and when, and ending the criminal control of drug markets,”

Speaking about her constituency, she said: “…our experience shows that prohibition and abstinence don’t work – and we want to try something different.”

This is not a green light for the cannabis coffee-shop model of Amsterdam to move into Brighton but a serious attempt to reduce the social and individual harms that drug use in an unregulated market fosters.

The Government – right the way up to David Cameron and Nick Clegg (whose constituency is Sheffield and whose party, the Liberal Democrats have just voted to make it party policy to decriminalise all drug use) as well as other pubic figures of importance, such as Judge Goldsack – needs to be looking at what other areas of the country are doing to tackle the problem that sees “six out of fourteen” court cases being brought against cannabis growers. It also needs to take responsibility by looking towards the rest of Europe, and the world, which is taking a more liberal stance on so called “soft drugs” and seeing a reduction in use of all drug use. In Holland, for example, heroin use has remained stable since the introduction of a cannabis-tolerating policy in 1974. Here in the UK, heroin use has skyrocketed 2,000 per cent in the same time. Instead of cannabis looking as dangerous as heroin, it seems that message being sent out and received is that heroin is as soft a drug as cannabis. The ACMD simply do not support this view.

For CI Bob Chapman to claim that the crackdown in Sheffield “…will not only have a positive effect within the community [and] prevent serious criminality from gaining a foothold” – after taking into consideration the social and scientific evidence presented ­– I believe shows that his stance is one of morally-based policy obligation.