British Medical Cannabis Register BMCR

Last week’s blog was partly about the problems of obtaining data regarding the use of medicinal cannabis for a project called the BMCR – The British Medical Cannabis Register. Since that blog was written the BMCR has been launched. Sadly a number of issues have become apparent in addition to the confidentiality aspect which lead on Friday to the taking down of links to the BMCR project from UKCIA.

I know that something akin to the BMCR is long overdue; as webmaster of this site I have heard many accounts of people using cannabis to relieve pain and to ease a wide range of conditions. UKCIA has a medical testimony section which has a huge number of submissions recorded and I have personally met many genuine medical users. What follows is an explanation of the issues I have with the BMCR. These are all issues which are easy to address and if they are then I will be only too willing to give the project my full backing.

A few weeks ago I was approached by Peter Reynolds, the founder of the project, to ask if I would like to serve on the council of the BMCR. This was more than an approach asking the UKCIA site to provide links, it was a request for me personally to endorse the BMCR and to play an active role in the development and running of it. The council contains some interesting and respected names and I looked forward to being involved in the development process. At present the council consists of:

Matthew Atha – Independent Drug Monitoring Unit
Chris Baldwin – Legalise Cannabis Alliance
Paul Flynn MP –  House Of Commons
Victor Hamilton –  Medicinal user
Prof. Les Iversen –   Oxford University
Baroness Molly Meacher – House Of Lords
Colin Preece – Campaigner
Jason Reed –  Medicinal user
Peter Reynolds – Writer
Jim “Pinky” Starr – Medicinal user
Edwin Stratton – Drug Equality Alliance
Dr Michael Vandenburg – Consulting Physician
Derek Williams – UK Cannabis Internet Activists

Now, despite running this cannabis law reform website and having enjoyed cannabis in times gone by, I am no longer a cannabis user and haven’t been for some years now. I only mention this because perhaps I didn’t fully consider the need for privacy until the issue cropped up on the UK420 forum a week or so ago. This developed into a very bad tempered exchange between Peter and the people on 420, but I was left with an understanding that there was a very real issue here and one worth taking seriously.

The BMCR isn’t a campaigning site, it’s not asking people to “stand up and be counted”, the very sound idea behind it was simply to try to gather data from some very vulnerable people and in time use it to expose the cruelty involved in the government’s prohibition madness.

Medical cannabis users are often very vulnerable people, they are forced to deal with the uncontrolled black market and also fear being raided by the police, they are between a rock and a hard place. Many medical users are deeply unhappy about the situation they find themselves in, often being ashamed of the fact that they are breaking the criminal law. They have everything to lose by putting their head even a little bit above the parapet and we have to remember that.

To my way of thinking there isn’t an issue with data security if the data collected doesn’t contain any elements which need security. What the BMCR clearly needs is a way to collect the data anonymously in such a way as the person submitting the information cannot possibly be traced. This is actually surprisingly easy to do and I suggested one method.

If it was felt that some kind of check needed to be made on the person submitting the form, the best we could do was to ensure the e-mail address was genuine. It’s not much of a check but it’s the best we have. Because of this I suggested people respond to an invite by e-mailing the BMCR and are then sent a link to a webpage form. No personal data  are collected on the form and there is no link to the original e-mail.

I suggested this to Peter in private e-mails and then via a comment in his blog and was given the distinct impression these concerns were understood and that the person designing the system – Carolyn Cameron – was going to come up with something similar to my suggestion. Carolyn replied to my suggestion in Peter’s blog comments:

Derek I like your idea of signing up by invite only as it would certainly cut down on spammers and would allow BMCR more control over the users who are signing up and submitting their information. I have an idea what could be used for this to ensure this. Will get back to you as soon as possible regarding this!

I heard no more and in the event the form went online with no such safeguards. It even asks for address and postcode although these are optional – but why are they even there?

Other concerns I have with the form are observations about the info the form asked for which apart from asking about the conditions users may suffer from are pretty well unchanged from the original draught; for example the section headed “user type” offers a list of options which include “media”, “supporter” and “user”, I simply don’t understand what it’s asking!

Some really obvious questions weren’t included such as “age” or “gender” and there are no other questions relating to location other than the optional full address – asking for the the nearest city or county would do for example. It might be interesting to know if the person is employed full time or part time, a housewife, bed bound or whatever.

A question asking if a person has been denied SATIVEX might be useful.

There are a number of other shortcomings with the form and there are probably others which would have been suggested had we had a chance to really shake the idea down before it went live, but that hasn’t happened. There are a number of professional people on the council with a great deal of experience of collecting data who surely could  have made suggestions.

There has been no debate or communication between the council members that I am aware of. Peter has a Facebook page but that’s hardly a proper forum for planning.

In a comment to last weeks blog Peter wrote about the issues I’ve raised leading to the removal of the links to BMCR:

This sort of behaviour is exactly the reason that the cannabis lobby has failed so miserably to make any progress in this country and is the same reason that Proposition 19 failed in California. People allow their egos and vested interests to get in the way of the bigger picture.

Actually the reason the cannabis lobby has been as ineffective as it clearly has been is more down to people rushing headlong into projects and not being willing to listen to well intentioned criticism and suggestions.  This has caused so much wasted effort and so many well intentioned projects to come off half-cock.  Peter claims in his blog to have a lifetime of professional experience, as such he should be aware of how to brainstorm for ideas, how to shake ideas down and to stress test things before going public.

Whatever happens regarding my involvement with the project and whether or not UKCIA will carry the links again I wish the BMCR well. To be fair even if it comes off especially well though the data is always going to be compromised because of the stranglehold imposed by prohibition on the gathering of data. But with luck it might shine a light on the scale of medical cannabis use and go some way to exposing the hypocrisy of government. It could be a very good resource if it’s done properly.

All my comments have been made in good faith and are intended to be constructive. I still hope these issues will be resolved.

Derek Williams
UKCIA

———————————–

Update Monday 9.00am.

Seems the above comments are redundant as I appear to have been dropped from the BMCR council, a unilateral decision by Peter Reynolds.

I did not resign and have not been informed of any descion to sack me. Peter is obviously in sole charge of this project and unwilling to listen to advice however well intentioned.

I wish him with his project well but sadly I cannot recommend anyone support the BMCR.

41 thoughts on “British Medical Cannabis Register BMCR

  1. Your concerns seem genuine and clearly stem from wanting to see the job done properly. I have registered with the BMCR and wish it the best, but can see your point about the data collection.

    I especially agree with you that this project shouldn’t be about ‘standing up and being counted’, as medical users by their very nature have a lot to lose.

    Despite all the problems around the edges, it’s encouraging to see Prof Iversen and the perpetually laudable Baroness Meacher on board. Although whether Prof Iversen will be required anymore on the ACMD remains to be seen…scary times.

  2. I must admit that I had seen the BMCR as a way of people standing up and been counted but now I see I was wrong.
    I have registered and too wish it all the best but with issues like this and everyone not working together I fail to see when the register will become useful.
    I am very disappointed that something that seemed so positive only a week ago has turned to this.
    Alan.

  3. Yeah that was never the idea Alan, it was always about getting a grasp of the scale and breadth of medical use. Don’t get too depressed though, with luck and good will these problems can be overcome.

    And Sam, yes these are scary times in more ways than one, but the darkest hour is just before dawn…

  4. Update Monday 9.00am.

    Seems the above comments are redundant as I appear to have been dropped from the BMCR council, a unilateral decision by Peter Reynolds.

    I did not resign and have not been informed of any descion to sack me. Peter is obviously in sole charge of this project and unwilling to listen to advice however well intentioned.

    I wish him with his project well but sadly I cannot recommend anyone support the BMCR.

  5. What is being said here and by Derek Williams at UK 420 is disgusting.

    Of course he can’t remain on the BMCR council when he’s saying such things. He’s proved himself not a fit person.

    Peter works extremely hard for no personal gain on BMCR. Derek just wants everything done his way or he withdraws his support. Well now he is gone for good and good riddance

    I know Peter has given full consideration to all Derelk’s ideas and discussed them with other council members who are a lot more helpful and constriuctive than Derek.

    You should be ashamed of yourselves for trying to damage BMCR

  6. Victor, have you read what precious Peter wrote at UK420 ? Pretty disgusting I say

    Peter Reynolds here chaps!

    You really area bunch of sad, pathetic losers aren’t you? (Well most of you anyway. There are some honourable exceptions who exhibit strong signs of common sense)

    All you can do is criticise and abuse.

    Logik sticks out as a foul mouthed troll. His allegations are beneath contempt. As for “the cash”, you pathetic nerd, it’s all one way traffic out of my bank account as a voluntary donation to what I anticipate will shortly become a charity.

    You may have noticed, I don’t go in for the self-aggrandisement and furious self-reinforcement of inadequate egos that seems to be your game. I don’t need to. I have set out to be inclusive and co-operative.

    Whichever alias the Reverend Paul is hiding behind, you are a classic troll, hiding under your bridge and shouting cowardly criticism and sniping.

    Jeff, I’m surprised at you, particularly given the courtesy and respect I’ve always shown you.

    There seems to be a real difficulty with basic reading and comprehension by some people here and also a failure to understand what a “quote” means.

    ONE LAST TIME,

    I will clarify the position:

    No data will be handed over “voluntarily”, “on request”, “when asked” or any other description which words some of you seek to put in my mouth.

    I will protect any information I am entrusted with to the ultimate. Yes, I would go to jail to protect my sources. You bunch of part-time dossers, scroungers and wastrels who’ve probably never done a proper day’s work in your life, wouldn’t understand the standards and integrity that are required to be professional journalist. While you hide behind your pathetic pseudonyms and alisases, I’ve been putting my name alongside the use and cultivation of cannabis for more than 30 years, not grovelling in cowardly disguise.

    If the authorities were to arrive with a court order or warrant, mob handed with a large van and took away all my papers, computers, etc, I would have no choice. I wouldn’t be able to stop them. Maybe you’re all amateur Rambos or have your own private armies but I don’t think so. I think you’re just stupid and haven’t thought it through at all.

    You see, contrary to Logik’s twisted, inadequate, retarded brain, BMCR has been very carefully planned.

    Its purpose is to create a database of information about the use of cannabis as medicine. For that data to be of any use, it has to be verifiable. All that needs to be provided is a name, a part postcode and a verifiable email address. BMCR has no way of verifying the veracity of the name or part postcode but at least it can say that each submission has been validated by a confirmatory email. That gives the data some credibility, otherwise it’s a waste of time.

    Now, you can worry your paranoid little brains about the police checking part post code and name on the electoral register if you wish. If they want to they can track you from the email address that you used to register on this forum and through your IP address with your ISP’s court ordered co-operation if necessary. Just the same they can come through my door and my ISP’s with guns, dogs and crowbars if they want to.

    You see, all your smart arse criticism just doesn’t stand up, does it? It seems that at least your admin, Joolz, has manners and some dignity but most of the rest of you are just a bunch of loud (sometimes foul) mouthed whingers, complainers, cowards and, in Rev Paul’s case, a certified nutter.

    I’m trying to do my best here and I will continue to do so in the face of idiots like you and the idiots in the Home Office. You are both just as much an obstruction to law reform, both just as bigoted, irrational and negative.

    Once, again I pay due respect to those here who can think and demonstrate common sense but those of you who abuse me, misquote me and lie are just a bunch of sad pathetic losers.

    Lots of love and peace to you all.

  7. Actually Victor I know that Peter hasn’t discussed the plans for BMCR with the all of other council members; I’ve now spoken to two others, neither of which have been consulted at any stage.

    I have been totally open about my concerns regarding the development of this project and I see no reason to regard any of them as confidential. Perhaps you can explain why these issues should not be in the public domain?

    You should know I offered a private forum for the council to discuss the development of the project, I was informed by Peter that no-one was interested in joining it. I now have it from two others that they were never invited, were you?

    Perhaps you have been kept fully in the loop Victor, but I and others were not.

    I was invited to be a founder member of the BMCR and I agreed, but doing that means far more than simply putting my name to something that Peter alone develops. I considered it a duty of a council member to point out clear and serious problems with what is being done and to expect them to be addressed, it is not Peter’s project it was the councils as we all had joint responsibility.

    You should also be aware that I didn’t withdraw my support, Peter took it upon himself to remove my name from the council list – and actually hasn’t even had the decency to properly inform me that he has done so.

    I had previously made it clear to him that if I were to remain a council member, then I would take an active interest in the project and that was my intention, apparently that was not acceptable to him.

    I am sorry the BMCR has been damaged, but it is not I who damaged it. As things stand I certainly do not advise anyone to submit information to such a badly thought through effort as it is at present. I am sorry to have to say that, but it is the truth as I see it and I stand by my comments above. You of course are free to disagree.

  8. That out burst was because some people asked him some questions about data security, prior to Peter posting that no abuse had been directed at him,

  9. Why not submit info to the BMCR and also to another project should it arise?

    I think I have to agree with Peter that if people wish they can avoid implicating themselves at all whilst still providing data. The actual composition of the survey, well I don’t think I’ve got the expertise to comment on it.

  10. I am entirely happy to underline and repeat the post that “Bob Dylan” reproduces above – but have you even read it Bob? If you had you would see that it is precisely a response to a tirade of abuse against me.

    As for you Derek, let’s be polite and call you a dissembler shall we? You publicly withdrew your support for the BMCR and the links from your site – and you expect to remain on the council?

    You are a mischief maker and a troll Derek. Despite the fact that you have a long history of falling out with people I tried to include you (I was warned againt it) but you proved you are the same as ever.

    All your objections are nonsense. Sam sees the truth and it is so simple were you not to confuse it with your own pathetic and selfish ambition. You have made yourself irrelevant. I tried to work with you but, as they say, never a good deed goes unpunished.

    I take no pleasure in the public spectacle that you make of yourself but I object to the damage you do to the BMCR and to medicinal users. I am ashamed of you.

    I will not participate in your selfish, trivial game again but there are many others who will stand up and fight for the BMCR and for truth and freedom, even in the face of people like you.

  11. OK Peter, it’s clear from what you have just written that you regard the BMCR as your personal private project, which is yours to control absolutely. If you expected me to act as a rubber stamp I’m afraid I am simply not willing to do that.

    Clearly you have no intention of listening to advice or taking criticism on board, nor do you seem to have any understanding of how to work in a team. It should be obvious to you that if you invite people onto a council in order to develop a project those people should have a say in the development of that project and it simply isn’t your role to impose decisions.

    I only withdrew the links on UKCIA once you had gone live with the site and had clearly disregarded my concerns about confidentiality, despite me having been given the distinct impression in private conversation with you and public comments from your website designer (linked to above)that you understood them and would accommodate them.

    I note you couldn’t resist a personal snipe in your comments, I’ll leave it to others to draw their own conclusions from that. I will say though that once bitten, twice shy.

  12. I am sorry to hear about your treatment Derek.

    As a long term medical user, I have to say the BMCR seemed like a fantastic idea – Unfortunately it appears to be headed by a rude, egotistical maniac who delights in calling vulnerable people ‘paranoid cowards’ for being unwilling to divulge personal information that could get them in trouble with the Police.

    I would not trust this organisation with my personal data whilst it is connected in any way with Peter Reynolds.

  13. Learn to read for gods sake.

    And I repeat, anyone not signing up and trying to prevent others from doing so, are as much a part of the problem than the prohibitionist themselves, in fact if I was in favour of prohibition I would be very proud of you, however as I am not, the reverse applies.

    SHAME ON YOU.

  14. L Catt, may I suggest that you join the BMCR council as you are so supportive of the effort, then you could accept joint responsibility for the data which you are so confident about.

    Meanwhile the adice of this website is not to touch the BMCR with the disinfected end of a ten foot barge pole. People are, of course, free to ignore that advice.

    L catt – Hmmm… LCAtt more like.

  15. Derek,

    As L Catt says, learn to read and so should evryone else. You spread lies and nonsense

    I can tell you that Peter is nothing like what you describe. I have seen at first hand the work he has put in to BMCR and not once has he looked for personal gain or recognision. I know he listened to you and to everyone else. It is obvious to everyone that you have sour grapes.I know that Carolyn is horrified at your behaviour too.You are a selfish man that cares only for his own gain and insults a man who is doing all he can for medical users

  16. I see you are now referring back to the LCA, the people you argued with before. I wonder why?

    Semms you argue with evryone Derek if you can’t get your own way

  17. And Mr Perry, are you blind too? Can’t you read? No personal data is required to register. You insult Peter too yet you obvusly do not know him or you would not say such things. He is a geunine and caring man of great intellugence and a fantastic writer who has done more to free the weed than Derek could even dream of.

    Derek you have been stupid before but I think this time you have destroyed your name for good

  18. Now there’s a strange thing. When people use the internet their computers have what’s called an IP address.

    Peter Reynolds IP = 86.170.185.34
    Victor Hamilton IP = 86.170.185.34

    What an odd coincidence. Care to explain?

  19. L Catt is actually Lucky_Cat my username at a very compassionate very well run medical MJ site that we use, it is a fun place and also very very educational on so many levels.

    Thanks so much for displaying your paranoia derek.

    This all reminds me of red dwarf when they first discovered cat and how he talked about the wars between fellow cats, red doughnuts v the blue doughnuts, it is needless and you lot need to stop. Carry on and you risk everything you have built, you will be known as the ones who tried to prevent MMJ from happening, again you should be utterly ashamed of yourself.

  20. OK Peter and Victor do live close to each other, so are probably close associates. I have to say I never realised it was so easy to find where people live through google searches and suchlike, which I suppose just goes to prove the confidentiality issue. Interestingly unlike Peter, Victor has left a big trail of cannabis activism.

  21. I have to say peter doesn’t seem the type to play internet games like that. Think what you like about him but he’s always consistent and open.

  22. I am very sorry that the BMCR, whatever its problems, is ironically detained by dispute between parties who have both contributed industriously to cannabis liberation. It eerily echoes the fate of Proposition 19 which was promoted by Richard Lee and vehemently opposed by many other growers and anti-prohibitionists.

    I wonder if everyone, upon studying the issue, can agree that cannabis prohibition is an artifact of the Big 2WackGo conspiracy to get 14,000,000 more youngsters hooked on nicotine $igarettes every year, which means making “too illegal” or “too controversial” any alternative vaporizing (“smoking”) equipment which could be used instead of a 700-mg. hot burning overdose $igarette. As Derek has pointed out (“Toke Pure”), it’s riskier to own or carry a one-hitter or vapouriser than a “joint” which is easily used up or disposed of.

    I think this connects to the other irony, that America, birthplace of tobacckgo, has made more headway getting rid of the plague in recent decades– the addiction rate among adults in USA is now 20% or below while UK and Europe are 23% and higher. This, as Derek knows, is due to the practice, prevalent in Europe and middle East, of mixing hashish with tobacckgo– and the dubious theory (see Dutch Wikipedia article, “Joint”) that a joint was so-named because it joins cannabis with tobacco.

    The one-hitter (see English Wikipedia article, “One hitter (smoking)”) is a cheap way to make mixtures with tobacckgo unnecessary, so I could wish that proven campaigners to legalize LEAP-Herb (Long-term Episodic Associative Performance Memory) will agree on promoting it and, for those with a little more money, vapourisers thus creating a handwork industry using up little pieces of wood and metal.

  23. L Catt
    >>
    Thanks so much for displaying your paranoia derek.
    >>

    Not paranoia, sadly this site has been targeted by a certain troll in the past. Your choice of screen name was unfortunate in that respect and your comments are very troll-like.

    BMCR is badly flawed and, as it stands, unsafe for medical cannabis users to be associated with for the reasons stated above. If you and the others involved regard pointing out such glaringly obvious faults as disruptive then you deserve to fail.

  24. I think perhaps time to draw a line under it! As blackadder once said – “This is developing into a distinctly boring situation”

    I think we all agree that tobacco companies fear cannabis legalisation tower, but all your talk of conspiracies does you no favours. They are businessmen, and of course they will be trying to hook new customers all the time, but its hardly a conspiracy. Vested interests a conspiracy don’t make.

    What they do make is chumps of the entire country.

  25. haha Nice post Victor, yet another council member from the BMCR shows his true colours, you and Peter deserve each other

  26. Sigh

    I deleted Victor Hamilton’s comment Bob, if people are going to post idiot comments like that I’m not leaving them online.

    Sorry if you were offended.

  27. I wasn’t offended, gob smacked perhaps but not offended. I can understand your swift deletion but disagree with it because I feel it’s better to let other people see the sort of vile abuse these people will stoop to

  28. I don’t blame Derek for taking down that post from Victor, it was vile and unwarranted, it seems that Peter is sending in his troops to cause trouble.

    I’m surprised at Victor, he shouldn’t behave like Peter

    🙁

  29. I am new to these blogs, but not to medical cannabis. i have read all your sites and also signed up to the BMCR. but if you are all fighting then there is no hope at all of wining with the goverment, GET TOGETHER AND FIGHT THE PROBLEM TOGETHER> are they going to jail us all.

  30. It would be nice Graham. But it does no good to get together with people who charge into things without proper thought and do them badly, possibly endangering people in the process.

  31. Hopefully something can be worked out that doesn’t compromise a lot of peoples personal details. Don’t underestimate the tactics the Government (If not now, perhaps in the future) could stoop to.

    I don’t think some of the members of the BMCR realise that genuine medical users require a steady supply of high grade cannabis, the manufacture of which is a far greater ‘crime’ than mere possession of a bit of pot, and hence security considerations are essential – It’s not like admitting to being a toker..

    I applaud Peter’s efforts, but as a healthy freelance writer, I don’t think he can really empathise with somebody who is very sick, unable to face prison, and with a large (According to the Police) quantity of cannabis in their home.

    Remember medical use is NO defense in the U.K.

    I’m sure something can be worked out to gather viable data without compromising security.

  32. ‘Mr Perry, are you blind too? Can’t you read? No personal data is required to register. You insult Peter too yet you obvusly do not know him or you would not say such things. He is a geunine and caring man of great intellugence and a fantastic writer who has done more to free the weed than Derek could even dream of.’
    Victor

    I am neither blind, nor stupid Victor.

    I could sign up with the BMRC now,false personal data,aliases, whatever – as could anybody else, from anywhere. Multiple times.

    If a Government agency attempted this half arsed method of unverified data collection I, and other campaigners would tear it apart in seconds.
    It is unproven, garbage data.. It would mean fuck all.

    What is required is a method of collecting real, verifiable, truly quantative data without making the contributors details a matter of long term record. There are plenty of ‘anonymous’ testimonials floating about the net, and they are next to worthless for legal pressure purposes.

    Derek has been thinking along the right lines, and more technology could be used, but the thinking has been stalled by you and Peter have been busy attacking everybody for being ‘negative dissemblers’.

  33. Well said Richard, if Reynolds and Hamilton put their efforts into their organisation rather than attacking others then the bmcr would do better

  34. you don’t have to remind me about medical cannabis quality, as I have said before, I don’t use it to help with pain, I use it to keep my blood sugars down to a normal level, thus keeping me alive. when I have none my blood sugars are in the high twenties and that is with very little food, as I also have a very poor appetite, and the thought of food makes me vomit. when I have cannabis my blood sugars are perfect and I have a good appetite. so yes I have registered with the bmcr, and given my correct details, if they want to lock me up they can i would be dead within a month, that’s how passionate I am about it.

  35. Graham

    I’m glad you feel motivated and determined enough to stand up and be counted for something you clearly and justifiably feel strongly about.

    But you must know that many if not most medical users do not feel as willing to put their heads above the parapet as you do and that is quite understandable.

    Yes, they probably would lock you up if you make enough noise, they have locked up enough ill people suffering great pain for using cannabis as a medicine so there’s no reason they would stop at you.

    We don’t need any more martyrs.

  36. I saw the message that Victor left for Derek.

    You should be ashamed of yourself, Victor. 🙁

    Derek has done a great deal of good work, and deserves better than that.

  37. You are the only one guilty of hurling abuse here, Peter/Victor – Derek has remained a perfect gentleman.

    You were not subjected to a ‘tirade of abuse’ on UK420, but simply asked some reasonably challenging questions..

    The thread is there for all to see and make up their own minds.

  38. I am so saddened by all the bickering & insult
    trading that BMCR has experienced.Have we forgotten the real issues here? We will get nowhere unless we present a united front.The present situation is intolerable & yet we are squabbling rather than concentrating on presenting the facts.Can we really expect to change anything whilst fighting amongst ourselves&

  39. Archibald

    It is unfortunate and it was all avoidable. All that had to happen was for genuine concerns and constructive well intentioned criticism to have been taken on board rather than ignored. Showing a united front involves a little more than letting one person run away with an idea, doing it badly, whilst allowing ones name to be used in connection with it. Showing a united front means working together.

    Believe me, quite a lot of insults have been deleted from these comments and they’ve come from both sides.

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