Baroness Browning On Cannabis Part 2
I wrote to Baroness Browning back on 16th May shortly after she was appointed as the new drugs minister. You can read that first part of this story here: A Welcome Note To The New Drugs Minister
I wrote to her again today.
Dear Baroness Browning,
I am very sorry that you didn’t bother even to acknowledge my email of 16th May 2011 (copy attached) in which I welcomed you to your new ministerial role and asked for a meeting to discuss policy on cannabis..
However, I have now seen a copy of your reply of 16th June 2011 to Dr Hywel Francis, MP to my friend and colleague on the CLEAR executive committee, Des Humphrey.
You will recall that Des is a British Army veteran who was injured on active service and is now confined to a wheelchair. The medicinal use of cannabis has transformed his health and rescued him from the highly toxic pharmaceuticals which he was prescribed. Cannabis has literally saved his life.
Your response “Whilst I understand the reasons that have led Mr Humphrey to use cannabis, I cannot condone this unlawful activity” is, to say the least, inappropriate and unsympathetic. Even the most rabid supporters of prohibition acknowledge that medicinal use of cannabis should be permitted. Your repetition of the same inane, tired and scientifically inaccurate words that the Home Office has been churning out for years is deeply insulting to a man who has sacrificed so much for his country. This is a cruel and irresponsible policy.
Des, of course, is not alone. There are tens of thousands of people in Britain using cannabis as medicine and for many of them, it has quite dramatic results. What possible justification can you have for dismissing the case for medicinal use? What harm could it possibly do for you to permit people like Des to receive the medicine that their doctors want to prescribe?
This is an indefensible position for which there is no excuse. It is clear that within the Home Office there is an obstinate and stubborn group that refuses to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence of the medicinal benefits of cannabis. Ministers come and go but this out of touch and truly evil policy persists. You duty here is not to the bureaucracy but to the people of Britain. I urge you to take immediate steps to permit the prescription of medicinal cannabis by doctors.
Bedrocan BV the Dutch government’s contracted producer of medicinal cannabis offers a range of products with various THC/CBD ratios for different conditions. These are grown under very stringent conditions and offer standardised dosage for ingestion by an infusion similar to tea, in food or with a medical vaporiser. All that you need to do is authorise the Home Office drugs licensing department to grant an import licence when an application is supported by a doctor’s prescription.
There really is no justification for any further delay or for prolonging the suffering of those who need cannabis as medicine.
Cannabis is NOT a harmful drug compared to the pharmaceuticals commonly prescribed for the sort of chronic pain that Des suffers from or for MS, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia or other conditions for which cannabis is very, very effective. I know that Professor Les Iversen, your chief drugs advisor will confirm this.
The mental health scare story is a deception. Again, in comparison with prescription drugs and other medicines as well as substances like alcohol, tobacco, energy drinks and even coffee, the risks of cannabis to mental health are tiny. For people suffering from the sort of diseases I have mentioned, the risks are simply insignificant. These are the facts and it is time for the Home Office to stop scaremongering and promoting misinformation. You say the ACMD’s 2008 report on cannabis did “not indicate that there were any medicinal benefits” but I have a letter from Professor Iversen, dated 14th December 2010, in which he says “the ACMD…is not constituted to consider the medical benefits of any drug”. This is just another excuse.
Baroness Browning, it really is time to draw this absurd pretence to a close. I would not use the words “cruel” and “evil” without proper consideration but they are an entirely accurate description of the Home Office policy on medicinal cannabis. In all conscience, you cannot allow this shameful and scandalous denial of medicine to continue.
I am asking you again to meet with me and delegation of medicinal cannabis users who will explain to you first hand the enormous relief that cannabis provides and how it allows them to lead full and productive lives. Please will your grasp this nettle and show some mercy and compassion for these people? Please will you arrange a meeting?