What an amazing week!

What an exciting week it has been for the drug law reform movement. If you’ve been away with the fairies for the past few days, you will have missed the Global commission report when former Presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Switzerland, Prime Minister of Greece, Kofi Annan, Richard Branson, George Shultz, Paul Volcker and Other Leaders Called for a “Major Paradigm Shift” in Global Drug Policy. In this country Release launched its new campaign “Drugs – It’s Time for Better Laws“. No wonder the prohibition supporters have been getting jumpy recently!

For a good account of the past week, take a look at the Transform Twitter feed (#Transformdrugs) and follow the links from around June 2nd.

The coverage this week has actually been quite good, although the Mail  tried to dis the whole thing as best they could  with a  report on the Global Commission  report  entitled “Luvvies for legalisation: You’re being naive in the extreme, celebrities told after drugs plea to PM” (read it here) – who did the telling? You’ll never guess!

Mary Brett, a trustee of charity Cannabis Skunk Sense said: ‘This is naive in the extreme.

Although to be fair the Mail also ran a straight article the next day entitled “War on drugs has failed and caused ‘devastating consequences for societies worldwide’ claims global narcotics watchdog” (here) which was actually very good – and included a side bar about the anarchic mess unfolding in Mexico as a result of President Calderon’s attempt to crush the drugs trade. It was spoilt by the last paragraph though which just said

But the stars were condemned by drugs campaigners who said removing penalties for cannabis would send a message such drugs were safe.

The daily Mail can, from time to time, come up with factual and unbiased reporting like this and should always be congratulated when it does.

One of the more interesting reports came from AlJazeera TV which featured a debate between Steve Rolles of Transform, Guxd De Wit an addiction expert from Amsterdam and poor old Neil McKegany of Glasgow University who alone argued the prohibition case, such as it is. This report is worth watching – it’s quite a lively debate and features the sort of graphic images of third world drug use UK broadcasters wouldn’t show, but which add a level of reality lost in more sanitised presentations.


One newspaper which had a difficult time of all this was the Independent. To its eternal shame the Sunday edition was responsible for one of the worst examples of gutter press reporting back in 2007 when it withdrew its support for cannabis decriminalisation (not legalisation)  with a truly disgusting “apology” which simply repeated the reefer madness hype put about by the prohibition lobby
With doctors and drugs experts warning that skunk can be as damaging as cocaine and heroin
On Friday the newspaper front page carried a very different story

Legalise cannabis and ecstasy now
Independent, Friday 3rd June 2011

So would they say sorry for the reefer madness style “apology” from a few years back?

The answer came on Sunday with an article written by the author of the offending article,  John Rentoul (read it here). Far from saying sorry Rentoul trots out the same old hype as if it were unquestioned fact.

The Independent on Sunday accepts that the law has a role, as an expression of social disapproval, in discouraging experimentation.

Does it really? Rentoul should be aware that for millions of British people the disapproval of the law had absolutely no effect in discouraging cannabis use. If this is the official view of the Independent it is badly out of touch with reality.

Information and education is more important than legal prohibition, but decriminalisation would predictably lead to more mental illness and, in the case of other drugs, addiction.

Which is such utter garbage as to not merit a serious reply. Do read the article for yourself and then read the replies which are altogether better informed than this pathetic article and generally scathing of it.

Finally, what of the government’s view in all this? The home Office was quite clear in it’s view: The Home Office stated it will ignore all such requests for a change in the prohibition law. ‘We have no intention of properly controlling drugs. We don’t care what anyone says, we’ve got our fingers in our ears and we’re not listening…lalala…” A spokesman with no name said.

The madness continues, but the cries for change are getting to be a deafening roar.



UKCIA is a cannabis law reform site dedicated to ending the prohibition of cannabis. As an illegal drug, cannabis is not a controlled substance - it varies greatly in strength and purity, it's sold by unaccountable people from unknown venues with no over sight by the authorities. There is no recourse to the law for users and the most vulnerable are therefore placed at the greatest risk. There can be no measures such as age limits on sales and no way to properly monitor or study the trade, let alone introduce proper regulation. Cannabis must be legalised, as an illegal substance it is very dangerous to the users and society at large.

14 thoughts on “What an amazing week!

  1. Nice one. I was wondering when you’ll cover this. Home Office has always been a barrier between prohibition and common sense… I guess this time the “immovable object” has met an even “stronger force” that has to be reconned with. Good days are coming whether politicians like it or not. 😀

  2. Well, I’m happy that Mr. Rentoul at least openly admits that he thinks the proper use of the law is to violently enforce his culture on other people.

    Perhaps he merely does not understand what it means to have the law used against you for reasons that you’re not told. And no, the fact that in his sick mind he thinks he’s helping me is not a reason but drivel of a violent lunatic.

  3. I wouldn’t dare for a moment to censor, let alone, curtail Mr. Rentoul’s right to think, say and write about whatever he wants. It his right and I defend it, even I if I wholeheartedly disagree with him. However, it’s my right, also, not to listen to or reading about what he says or writes. And the same goes for what is written about in the Tabloids. If one talks the talks and walks the walks, then the right thing to do is to stop buying them.

    Gart Valenc

  4. I just posted a full transcript of Any Questions in the gibber room of the forum if anybody want to read what was said in response to the question put by Peter Shelly

    Q:”It is said that the war on drugs has been, lost does the panel agree and would legalising drugs be the answer?”


    Nadine Dorries. LOL

  5. This has been brilliant week, influential people sending the right message to those in charge and celebrities spreading it to the “great unwashed”. I think this has done a damn good job of showing our leaders that we do actually want change. They can no longer hide behind the idea that we think soft on drugs means soft on crime. The Home Office may not be willing to admit so yet but I’m assuming ears have been pricked and eyebrows raised. If the UN takes notice no doubt the HO’s stance will change with time. Either with this government or the next. I may be a bit too hopeful but I think this is much bigger than anything that’s came before.
    As for Rent-a-tool’s article, I thought it was perfectly timed for ridicule. Here we have some numpty questioning the finding’s of the commission with nothing more than opinion and stale prohibitionist slander. I haven’t replied to this article but it has been thoroughly dissected by others. Which is where these articles really help. The more Joe Public knows the reasons why this guy’s talking rubbish the better.
    Anecdotally, I’m noticing more and more none users that see our side of the debate. For every idiot out there, yammering in our ears about the risks of “en masse psychosis”, we all seem to know a few people who indulge without incident. And that’s where the prohibition movement fails miserably.
    Maybe it’s not long now? Any idea what us activists are supposed to do once the laws change?

  6. “Any idea what us activists are supposed to do once the laws change?”

    Grow a wider variety of crops on our allotments? 🙂

  7. ““Any idea what us activists are supposed to do once the laws change?””

    I have a better question; What can we do now?

    Just like Dragon83uk, I am also really hopeful regarding this. I really think it good be made into a giant turning point if we as ordinary people made a stand too. Might be a bit optimistic, especially seeing as I know nothing about methods of protesting and the likes…

    Do you think we can do anything? If so, what?

  8. You never know what is just around the corner. I am convinced there is also a political appetite for the significant financial benefits that drug law equality will bring. Less money spent on enforcement and more tax revenue from new products looks very tempting in the modern financial climate but they are looking for ways to argue the merits of the change to some of the more extreme prohibitionists in the media (the general public already see sense on this issue when the argument is put before them in a balanced way). As the article says – this week some important steps towards putting these pieces together may have been taken. The debate seems to be moving from arguing about whether a substance is harmful enough to prohibit (making the unseen assumption that prohibition somehow works) to whether prohibition makes the situation better or worse. Tackle this issue head on and the change will come (maybe even soon !)

  9. What we need to do now is to make it as widely known as we can that the prohibition case is nonsense. Whenever you hear a politician saying stupid things – like the Nadine Dorries sample I posted above – make some noise! Write to them telling them how wrong they are and why. Write to the press when they print stupid things as well. That said, avoid opinions, keep it factual.

    For the first time there is a widely accepted argument against the war on drugs: control and regulate, protect minorities.

  10. Derek,

    We’ve already exchanged points of view about the need to make the case for the supply side of the so-called ‘drug problem’, so I apologise for bringing up the subject again (see ” Does cannabis make you mad?” entry).

    I understand and support unreservedly your focus on cannabis, but since people are asking “what to do” I’d like to remind anybody interested in the so-called ‘drug problem’that the ultimate and real “enemy” is Prohibition and the War on Drugs.

    As I previously mentioned somewhere else:

    We may think that Prohibition is having seriously detrimental effects on our country (and they are serious, indeed), but they pale into insignificance when compared to the extraordinary price drug producing countries like Mexico, Colombia, and many other countries around the world are paying. It is understandable that we concentrate on the consumption for that’s what is closest to us and therefore, concerns us more immediately. However, in order to appreciate the true scale of the disastrous effects Prohibition and the War on Drugs are having on millions upon millions of citizens around the world, for no rational, scientific or economic reasons, one has to look at the whole picture, and not just at consumption.

    Gart Valenc

  11. @UKCIA, lol, now to find myself an allotment…

    @Brandon Kelly, RE: What to do now?
    As Derek has said, the only thing we can do at the moment is get educated and be vocal. If you hear someone saying something stupid (like “it’s 50 times stronger”) you should shout out about why it’s nonsense. If you hear family or friends repeating prohibitionist lies, don’t leave them unchallenged. Whenever possible bring up all the faults the drug laws have. If nothing else you may be quite surprised by how many people agree with you. We may be near the end but now is no time to rest on our laurels. We need to make sure everyone knows why prohibition must end. I was reading a blog earlier today that made a very good point. Politicians need to know that their jobs are on the line by not touching this issue. We need to put these cushy jobs at risk to get any real change, which can only be done by making the electorate talk about it.

  12. 1 obstacle that stands in the way of legalisation of cannabis in the uk is gw pharmaceuticals why would that be an obstacle??

    Well there is 20 alkaloids in the opium poppy 4 of which is economically significant to big pharma and they are morphine, codeine, thebaine and papaverine. I wonder how much money is made off of heroin addicts in the uk with methadone and the thebaine derivative subutex. A simple plant with alot of problems and profit we all know who invented heroin in the 1st place.

    morphene isolated 1804 first distributed 1817 and commercially sold 1827

    Home office gives gw pharma a research and development lisence to grow cannabis in uk

    Well there is just over 60 phyto(plant) cannabinoids thc and cbd are the obvious 1st choice for a tincture that gw pharma have produced called sativex. Now the hunt goes on for other cannabinoids cbc thca cbda etc.

    Look up what patents gw have filed and what patents they have got well they even tried to patent bhang lassie for a cough mixture but that got rejected due to indian scientists objecting against saying it was an indian drink used for centuries now thats monopolising in a massive way. Look and see how many countries are going to buy sativex Why are these countries not producing it themselves??

    MU opiod receptor and the cb receptor have alot in common more so that you can give an opiate addict less opiates and more cannabinoids.

    Sativex is just the start for gw pharma be prepared !!

    What happened with opium/morphine etc is going to happen with cannabis/thc etc after all gw already have the man geoffry guy who made a fortune off morphine

    Lets be realistic people

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