News & Comment

19 Feb 2017

‘This House Would Say No To Drugs’, The Oxford Union, 16th February 2017.

On Thursday, 16th February 2017, the Oxford Union held a debate on the motion 'This House Would Say No To Drugs'. I was honoured to be invited to speak against the motion in the august company of Paul Hayes and Stephen DeAngelo. Speaking for the motion were Andrew Ng, Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan and Shaun Attwood. We successfully defeated the motion by approximately 120 votes to 90.  A video of the debate will be released shortly.  I...

31 Jan 2017

The UK Government’s Very Last Excuse For Denying Access To Medicinal Cannabis.

Essentially, UK government policy on cannabis hasn't altered since 1971.  Despite the vast amount of new evidence published since then and revolutionary change, particularly on medicinal use, all across the world, successive governments have stubbornly and obstinately refused to consider any sort of reform. It doesn't matter which party has been in power, Conservative, Labour or the coalition, it's a subject that ministers and MPs simply refuse to engage with.  It's easier that way for them and be in no doubt: laziness,...

08 Jan 2017

WARNING. So-Called ‘Indica’ CBD Products Are Illegal.

Any CBD products marketed in the UK as derived from 'indica' cannabis are illegal and you could be prosecuted for possession, importation or supply as with any other form of prohibited cannabis. The situation which started last October with the MHRA trying to shut down marketing of CBD products arose because of irresponsible, cowboy companies making medicinal claims about their products.  It was well understood by all professional CBD companies that this would cause problems and indeed it has. Only the intervention of CLEAR...

09 Dec 2016

The UK’s First Licensed Cannabis Dispensary.

When Mike Dobson first called me a few months ago and told me he had an idea for gaining legal access to cannabis in the UK, I was, of course, sceptical. CLEAR has frequently been approached with hare-brained and convoluted plans for avoiding the law that prohibits cannabis.  Without exception they have all been bonkers. Within a few minutes though, I could see this one was different.  In the past, most of these ideas have been around sidestepping the...

06 Dec 2016

The Facts About CBD In The UK. December 2016.

On 3rd October 2016 the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)  issued notices to a number of CBD suppliers stating that cannabidiol (CBD) was being designated as a medicine and that sale of all CBD products must stop within 28 days, ostensibly by the 1st November. A lot has happened since.  Most importantly, the Cannabis Trades Association UK (CTAUK) has been established to represent the industry and protect the interests of CBD consumers but there remains great confusion as to the legal status of CBD...

05 Dec 2016

My 11-Year Old Dog, Capone, Is A Miracle Of Medicinal Cannabis.

Capone Stanley Reynolds, to give him his full name, has been my faithful, handsome and sweet-natured companion since 2007.  He really is a lovely dog, a strong silent type, very self-contained, gentle, calm and, I believe, wise. Sadly, he developed epilepsy around the age of five and a couple of years later was struck with severe arthritis which means for the last three years or so he hasn't been able to walk with me as he used to. However, regular use of CBD...

23 Nov 2016

Crispin Blunt Asks Parliamentary Question On Medicinal Cannabis, 22nd November 2016.

Q. To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether (a) his Department and (b) the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has reviewed the latest evidence, including evidence on different regulatory approaches in other jurisdictions, for the use of medical cannabis. A. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) reviews evidence submitted by a company seeking a marketing authorisation for a medicinal...

22 Nov 2016

House Of Lords Short Debate: Placing Health Rather Than Prohibition At The Heart Of Drug Policy.

Watch Here   "Cannabis currently sits in Schedule 1—the schedule for dangerous drugs with no medicinal value, believe it or not. This has become unsustainable, and I would say laughable if it were not so serious. We have abundant evidence to support a change of that schedule. The reason for urgency is that the current policy is contrary to the human rights of hundreds of thousands of patients with severe chronic illnesses who we know could benefit from this change." Full transcript here....

17 Nov 2016

Cruel And Irresponsible Response from UK Government To Parliamentary Report On Medicinal Cannabis.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, the response to the recent call from MPs and peers to legalise cannabis for medicinal use has come straight from the top.  Theresa May's longstanding reputation as a denier of science and evidence on drugs policy is reinforced by her peremptory dismissal of the expert report.  It seems that, at least in the short term, the UK government is sticking by a policy that is discredited, ridiculous and deeply cruel. It fell to Sarah Newton MP, minister of state...

17 Nov 2016

Guidelines On Cannabis For Medical Professionals.

In a new initiative, CLEAR's scientific and medical advisor, Professor Mike Barnes, has written to the presidents of several Royal Colleges proposing the development of guidelines around the use of cannabis as medicine. This is a tricky situation for doctors.  Surveys and individual reports from CLEAR members indicate that many doctors tacitly endorse their patients' use of cannabis but clearly cannot recommend the illegal use of cannabis, however safe and effective it may be. Professor Barnes' letter...