26 Dec CLEAR Highlights for 2015
New Website Launched
CLEAR started the year with a brand new website, launching on January 19th.
The Daily News e-mail service began at the same time.
CLEAR Delegation to the Department of Health
A delegation of medicinal cannabis users met with George Freeman MP, minister for life sciences with responsibility for medicines regulation.
Mr Freeman requested a summary of the evidence on cannabis as medicine, which led directly to creation of ‘Medicinal Cannabis: The Evidence’
CLEAR to Change its Legal Status
The CLEAR Executive committee decides that CLEAR will become a lobby group.
CLEAR Delegation to the Home Office.
A delegation of medicinal cannabis users met with Lynne Featherstone MP, Minister for Drugs Policy.
CLEAR Briefs Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg MP, on Medicinal Cannabis.
Following a series of meetings in the Cabinet Office, CLEAR was requested to brief Nick Clegg on medicinal cannabis.
Channel 4 broadcasts sensationalist ‘Drugs Live: Cannabis on Trial’.
UCL conducts reckless overdosing of study participants and formerly respected journalist Jon Snow descends into extreme reefer madness. Despite this, the show unequivocally confirms safety of cannabis.
Reefer Madness Returns Prohibition not only adds to existing dangers, it creates new dangers.
The Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) Drugs Conference.
The HASC conference took place in the delightful surroundings of Homerton College, Cambridge. Almost everybody who is anybody in UK drugs policy was there and while there were no groundbreaking new revelations or ideas, it was an important occasion. It marked the current position of the debate on drugs policy in Britain at the end of the first coalition government since 1945. As Keith Vaz, chair of the HASC, said, the conference will influence the drugs policy agenda in the next government.
‘Medicinal Cannabis: The Evidence’ published by CLEAR.
This paper reviews the evidence in support of the safety and efficacy of using raw herbal cannabis as medicine.
It is widely claimed that there is insufficient evidence to support medicinal use but this is not borne out by the facts, let alone 10,000 years of human history. In fact, there is so much evidence available for so many conditions that this paper is restricted to conditions for which cannabis appears to have the most beneficial effects.
Peter Reynolds Interviewed on BBC Radio Kent
Julia George programme – medicinal cannabis. Includes Nick Rijke from the MS Society and a phone-in caller with a tragic personal story
CLEAR Cannabis Saves Lives leaflet published
A revised and updated version of CLEAR’s leaflet on medicinal cannabis. This is available for purchase and for inclusion in membership packs.
The General Election
In May we suffered a major set-back following the general election in which the Conservatives won an overall majority. Gone were nearly all the Lib-Dem MP’s who had been so supportive of our case for medicinal cannabis and a long-standing opponent of drug law reform – Mike Penning – was given the job of Drug Minister.
Since then Penning has lived up to his reputation of someone who is unswayed by evidence, utterly dedicated to prohibition and unsympathetic to the medicinal use of cannabis.
More Prohibition Madness
June saw the government, with the tacit support of Labour, introduce yet a new layer of prohibition law with the much criticised “Psychoactive Substances Bill”which aims to outlaw “Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS), aka “Legal highs”. Based as it is on similar laws in Poland (where use of “NPS” increased after introduction) and Ireland where the law has proven to be unworkable. Despite widespread and sustained opposition from experts including the government’s own AMCD, the bill remains on course to become law in 2016.
The Fight For Medicinal Cannabis Reaches The House of Lords.
Wednesday 17th June, Baroness Molly Meacher asked a question about cannabis in the House of Lords. The question was whether cannabis could be re-scheduled, out of schedule one, which determines that it has no medicinal value, to schedule two or three which would allow doctors to prescribe it and also enable researchers to access and use cannabis more easily in studies and clinical trials.
This was followed with a debate in the House of Lords on 23rd June
Even The Sun ran a sympathetic article about medicinal cannabis
Peter Reynolds Steps Down as Leader of CLEAR
At a meeting of the CLEAR Executive Committee held over the weekend of 18th/19th July 2015, Peter Reynolds tendered his resignation as leader. He was first elected as leader in February 2011, won a confidence vote in April 2012 and was re-elected unopposed in February 2014.
Roland-Gyallay-Pap was appointed as Acting Leader.
CLEAR launches IPSO Complaint Against Melanie Philips article: “We’d be off our heads to tolerate cannabis”
“Cannabis itself is extremely dangerous. It impairs memory, cripples judgment and the ability to learn. In high doses it can cause addiction, paranoia and psychosis and provoke schizophrenia. It also acts as a gateway to other illicit drugs, not least because it suggests their use is acceptable”. Melanie Phillips
CLEAR launches IPSO complaint regarding the story “Our Police Have Gone To Pot”
Peter Reynolds Interviewed on The Victoria Derbyshire Show, BBC News 24
Victoria Derbyshire interviews PCC Ron Hogg, Peter Reynolds and David Raynes following the announcement that Durham police will no longer target small scale cannabis growers.
George Hutchings, A CLEAR Medicinal Cannabis Activist Gives an Emotional Interview to CLEAR
George Hutchings suffers from ‘Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease’, otherwise known as ‘Hereditary Motor and Sensory Neuropathy. This is a progressive disease for which there is no cure.
George tells his story and explains why he finds cannabis the best medicine (Youtube video)
A complete climb down by the Daily Mail
On 24th June 2015, a Daily Mail headline screamed: “Medicinal cannabis DOESN’T ease pain, nausea, vomiting, MS muscle contractions, sleep disorders or Tourette’s”. In fact the study reported on, from the University of Bristol, found exactly the opposite.
Massive, Long Term Study Shows No Health Harms From Cannabis. Where Are The Headlines?
Long term cannabis use by teenage boys is not linked to later physical or mental health issues according to a very large, long term study published by the American Psychological Association. This study is all but ignored by the UK media.
Sky News Interview
Sky News Sunrise interviewed Peter Reynolds of CLEAR following the massive success of the petition to legalise cannabis now running on the government petitions website.
Vicky Hodgson, CLEAR Medicinal Cannabis User describes her condition
Vicky is aged 62 and lives in the South west of England, she is one of the stalwarts of the CLEAR Medicinal Users Panel having represented CLEAR in several meetings with Government.
Peter Reynolds Interviewed on three radio programmes
The Government Responded to the Cannabis Petition
Despite the petition to legalise cannabis receiving 234,740 signatures the government’s response came as no surprise. As expected it consisted of the same misleading claims the Home Office has been parroting for many years.
Date Announced for Parliament Debate Following the Petition
Following the huge response to the petition, a debate about cannabis law reform was granted and a date given of 12th October 2015. CLEAR encouraged people to lobby their MP with an guide to how to do it.
The responces were sadly much as expected.
CLEAR Members Vote on Creation of ‘company limited by guarantee’
CLEAR put the motion that it become a ‘company limited by guarantee’ out for referendum to its members.The change was approved overwhelmingly.
Peter Reynolds Interviewed by Pamphlet TV
A short interview with Peter Reynolds from Clear UK about why he believes cannabis should be legalised in the UK.
Cannabis Debate in Parliament – Very Few MP’s Turn up
If your MP didn’t attend the debate, particularly if you wrote asking them to, it is your right (I would argue it’s your duty) to complain and ask for an explanation.
Peter Reynolds Interviewed on Sky News
Sky News discusses the impact Australia legalising medicinal cannabis could have on the UK
Mike Penning MP – The Drugs Minister – Backtracks on Medicinal Cannabis Promise
During the Cannabis Debate Penning said “We need to look at why the research is not taking place and at the effects of certain parts of the legislation…We have cross-party agreement that we will look at research and see how we can help people. I am committed to that…”
On 26th October he said “The government’s position on the medicinal value of cannabis remains unchanged and no discussions are planned.” Source: Hansard
CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform becomes a company limited by guarantee.
CLEAR is happy to announce that it is now registered as a company limited by guarantee, as voted for by members in the referendum that took place at the beginning of September.
Government Continues to Lie About Medicinal Cannabis
The Home Office has been systematically lying and misleading the British people about cannabis for at least 50 years. The Department of Health is timid on the issue, leaves the public statements to the Home Office heavies and seems more interested in generating fee income for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), than in actually treating patients effectively.
CLEAR Offered Advice On How To Respond To Standard Replies From MP’s
During the build-up to the cannabis debate we asked CLEAR members to contact their MP. Many of the replies were cut and pasted standard replies from the Home Office
Stop and Search Leads to Alienation and Radicalisation
Figures were provided by the UK Home Office this week: National Statistics Police powers and procedures England and Wales year ending 31 March 2015 which show how strongly drugs law enforcement is involved in confrontational encounters with the police.
The Institute of Psychiatry Confirms It Mislead Media
The Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London issued a press release claiming that its latest study shows cannabis causes damage to the corpus callosum. As confirmed by the NHS, the study showed nothing of the sort. Suddenly the headline of the press release had been changed!
Original: “Study shows white matter damage caused by ‘skunk-like’ cannabis”
Edit: “Study shows white matter damage may be caused by ‘skunk-like’ cannabis”
Sloth Campaign Detracts From An Important Message
December saw a truly terrible anti cannabis campaign from Australia; The Stoner Sloth. Widely ridiculed it became a world wide hit for all the wrong reasons. What this campaign should have been was an educational drive to encourage responsible use, but under prohibition that simply can’t happen.