14 Dec Dear Mr Vaz, Millions Of People Who Need Medicinal Cannabis Need Your Help

Two days ago I wrote to Keith Vaz asking him why the drugs inquiry hadn’t considered the vital issue of medicinal cannabis.

Today I received a reply.

I have written to him again.

—– Original Message —–
From: Peter Reynolds
To: BROWN, Sarah E ; Keith Vaz
Sent: Friday, December 14, 2012 2:43 PM
Subject: Re: Medicinal Cannabis

Dear Ms Brown,

I am very grateful to you and Mr Vaz for your prompt reply. However, it raises more questions than it answers.

1. As mentioned, medicinal cannabis was the single issue most often raised in all the submissions of written evidence to the drugs inquiry. Furthemore, I wrote to Mr Vaz several times while the inquiry was in progress asking why the issue wasn’t being given any attention but didn’t receive any reply at all.

2. Consequently, I and many others feel misled. Why was the exclusion of medicinal cannabis from the inquiry not announced previously? Many people invested a considerable amount of time (as well as their hopes and prayers) in submitting evidence on this subject. It is astonishing that this dismissal of widespread concern is addressed only now after the inquiry has finished. People have been waiting a year or more to hear a response to their submissions and now they are denied any consideration. Why?

3. I and millions of British citizens agree with you that medicinal cannabis is a medicine. Unfortunately the Home Office does not. As cannabis remains in schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations, it is described as having “no medicinal value”.

4. Of course, this is contradicted by the licence to grow cannabis issued to GW Pharmaceuticals for the production of its medicine Sativex, which currently remains in schedule 1 but is covered by an ‘open general licence’ for prescription, dispensing and possession. In fact, this licence is unlawful as the Home Secretary only has powers to issue licences for schedule 1 drugs for “special purposes such as research”. Commercial exploitation and trafficking across borders as GW Pharma is engaged in with cannabis is unlawful both under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the UN Single Convention 1961.

5. Will the HASC please now address this issue which is of vital concern for the health as well as relief of suffering and disability for millions of Britons?

6. The HASC is the only select committee that can consider this issue. The Department for Health refuses to consider it and refers enquirers back to the Home Office thus producing a perfect circle of ‘passing the buck’. Until the Home Office changes the unscientific, and simply incorrect scheduling of medicinal cannabis then it cannot be a matter for the Department of Health.

This is something which neither I, nor millions of other people are prepared to drop. It is not going away. Many people’s lives are transformed by the medicinal use of cannabis, enabling them to lead full and productive lives, yet they live in constant fear of criminal prosecution under what is one of the most cruel and senseless government policies.

I appeal to Mr Vaz to take up this issue on behalf of those who need his help. He has shown great compassion recently on the tragic death of the royal nurse, Jacintha Salanha. This is an issue which concerns the life and health of millions.

Would it be possible to arrange a meeting with Mr Vaz to discuss this in more detail?

Yours sincerely,

Peter Reynolds