22 Aug Baroness Browning On Cannabis Part 3
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 on 27th June. You can read that here: Baroness Browning On Cannabis Part 2
I wrote again today:
Dear Baroness Browning,
I refer to my previous emails and letters to you concerning the medicinal use of cannabis.
Despite four emails and two letters since you were appointed drugs minister, I haven’t received anything from you which even attempts to deal with the issues I have raised. That is bad enough in what is supposed to be a democratic country but now I have absolute proof that the Home Office is providing false and misleading information about medicinal cannabis. This is a very serious matter which involves dishonesty towards people who suffer from dreadful illnesses and disabilities. It requires your urgent attention.
In correspondence from the Home Office, enquirers are now being told that the medicinal use of cannabis will not be permitted, nor even reviewed, because the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has not “identified any medicinal benefits”. However, the ACMD has offered no such advice, nor could it. I have a letter from Professor Les Iversen, chair of the ACMD (copy attached) in which he states unequivocally that it “…is not constituted to consider the medical benefits of any drug”.
This is not something that has happened just once or twice. We have the evidence of the many occasions when this explanation has been given in writing. Clearly, it is Home Office policy and it is dishonest. It must be corrected. It is nothing more than an excuse because there is no reasonable explanation for the denial of medicinal cannabis.
The matter of the re-scheduling of Sativex brings this to a head. Any attempt to re-schedule Sativex as anything but cannabis will be dishonest. There is no pharmacological difference between cannabis and Sativex. I give you notice that the government will be subject to legal action if it seeks to re-schedule Sativex dishonestly or in a misleading way.
For your convenience, I am attaching copies of the emails and letters I have sent previously. As leader of CLEAR, I see a great deal of correspondence between the Home Office and our members. The policy you are pursuing is not only dishonest, it is also shockingly cruel, deeply unjust and flies in the face of all the scientific evidence.
If you want to know what your chief drugs advisor, Professor Iversen, actually thinks about medicinal cannabis than I suggest you watch the video of his British Pharmacological Society lecture last year “Bringing Cannabis Back Into the Medicine Cabinet”: http://vimeo.com/19315276
CLEAR is now co-ordinating the efforts of approximately 30 individuals who have a doctor’s prescription for medicinal cannabis. They are just the tip of the iceberg and there is no reasonable argument against permitting them access to the medicine their doctors have recommended. Unless you can offer me some definite indication of change, we will be pursuing this through the courts. This will cost a great deal of public money as well as adding to the suffering of those involved. Will you not now please reconsider this terribly cruel, unfair and irrational policy?
As I have already explained, this does not require any change in the law, merely for you to authorise the issue of import licences for Bedrocan, medicinal cannabis from the Dutch government’s official producer. If you will not do this, when it is required in order to fill a doctor’s prescription, please will you explain to me why?
Please understand that these questions are not going away. Ignoring them or providing misleading answers will not achieve anything except to prolong pain and suffering. There are millions of people in Britain who will not stand for any more dishonesty, deception, misinformation or procrastination on this. It is time for your department to stop playing games and deal with this properly. Continued failure to do so can only add to growing suspicion about the government’s relationship with GW Pharmaceuticals which has been granted a unique and unparalleled monopoly.
I repeat, again, my request for a meeting to discuss this. The government is not dealing with this in a reasonable way. Please will you arrange an appointment for me to come and see you?