09 May Email To David Burrowes MP, 9th May 2011

David Burrowes, Conservative member for Enfield, Southgate, referring to the medicinal use of cannabis, said in the House today:

“That is not the most significant medical issue in relation to cannabis. In its higher form in particular, there are significant risks to young people, such as the probable causal link to mental illness, especially psychosis and schizophrenia. Will the Minister reassure the House that the Government will continue to take a tough line and ensure effective enforcement of the law on possession of cannabis?”

My email in response:

From: Peter Reynolds
To: [email protected]
Sent: Monday, May 09, 2011 10:21 PM
Subject: Cannabis

Dear Mr Burrows,

Regarding your intervention concerning cannabis in the House this afternoon.

You said there is a “probable causal link” between cannabis and psychosis. This is inaccurate and misleading. It’s a part of a political idea that is now discredited and failing.

All the experts agree that while cannabis use is a risk factor for psychosis, there is no proof at all that it causes it. The real distortion of the truth is to overlook that cannabis is much less of a risk factor than alcohol, tobacco or even energy drinks. Professor Les Iversen, chair of the ACMD, is on the record that cannabis is one of the “safer recreational drugs”. In comparative terms there is no truth or justification at all in the argument you presented in the House.

Professor Glyn Lewis, universally regarded as the pre-eminent expert in analysis of all the published research said only a few weeks ago that: “it is important to note that we cannot be certain that there is a causal link between cannabis use and psychosis…96% of people can use it without any risk”.

The problem with cannabis is that it’s illegal. Prohibition creates massive harms and denies the extraordinary medicinal benefits of the plant to millions of British citizens. It also prevents proper education and treatment for those who are at risk. Authoritative new research now proves that a tax and regulate regime would boost the UK economy by at least £6 billion per annum and reduce all health and social harms.

I appreciate that you have been fed a very different story, as have so many but the evidence is now indisputable. Continuing on our present path costs us billions and causes far more harm than good. The progressive, intelligent, pragmatic and inevitable policy is to tax and regulate.

Please could I arrange to meet with you at your convenience to present the evidence to you? Next year, at least one state in the US is going to legalise, then common sense will roll out across the wold. This is the leading edge of policy.

I am the leader of Cannabis Law Reform (CLEAR). I am attaching a copy of our leaflet on medicinal cannabis which is now going into nationwide distribution. I hope you will agree to meet me soon.

Kind regards,

Peter Reynolds