17 Apr HASC Drugs Inquiry. An Analysis Of The Written Evidence. Part 2

HASC Drugs Inquiry. An Analysis Of the Written Evidence. Part 1

This inquiry is the best chance we have had for drug law reform since the last one in 2002!

That eager young backbencher David Cameron, then a member of the committee, was in the first flush of enthusiasm of his political career:

“We need fresh thinking and a new approach towards drugs policy…it would be disappointing if radical options on the law on cannabis were not looked at”.

David Cameron, 2002

So the 2002 report was largely ignored but I think we have more grounds for optimism this time.

It’s extraordinary, if you think about it, how the inquiry’s “terms of reference” are a knee jerk response to Sir Richard Branson and the Global Commission on Drugs Policy. That Sir Richard, cool dude that he is, can command such response from government is a sad indictment of celebrity culture and the way that our politicians respond to it. He is an extremely able man but as he has confessed publicly, bless him, he is no expert on drugs policy.

There are 731 pages of written evidence and 171 submissions to the inquiry. 80% are opposed to prohibition and demanding reform. If the committee bases its recommendations on the written evidence and parliament acts on them, then prohibition will be prohibited tomorrow.

Sadly, I don’t think it will be as easy as that!

CLEAR is having a huge impact on this inquiry. Because of the efforts of individual members and supporters , out of 171 submissions, CLEAR evidence is cited in 49. We are 29% of the argument. We are the largest single contributor.

So, to the evidence itself. You can download it here. My aim is to point to the submissions worth reading.

Kathy Gyngell has cheated. She is at 01 and also at 116. I recommend that you read her. To any reasonable person, her prejudice, spite and empty argument is self-evident.

Derek Williams, of UKCIA, at 14, is erudite as ever. He argues convincingly that prohibition is no form of control and is an abdication of responsibility by government.

Mary Brett, at 21, of Cannabis Skunk Sense, the sham charity, tries hard, too hard. Her submission speaks for itself and what a sad, bitter woman she is.

Then, Roger Titcombe, at 36, with an hysterical “Reefer Madness ” submission reminds us what we are really fighting – crazy, deluded prejudice. That this man has been responsible for the care and education of children is very worrying. His submission provides no evidence and cites no authorities. He just writes “I suspect…” and claims that cannabis is associated with extreme violence. What sort of man is this who has pretended to educate children and then embarrasses himself with such a display of incompetence and prejudice?

Dr David Marjot, at 44, is a consultant psychiatrist with impressive credentials. He argues that drug users are a “persecuted minority” and supports David Nutt’s assessment of risk in drug use and other life activities.

Stuart Harper, at 52, is a tireless campaigner, member of CLEAR and scourge of the Home Office. His personal story is both moving and inspirational. His submission is one of the best. Do not miss it.

Dr Sue Bryce of the University of Nottingham, at 53, describes herself as a “reluctant legalizer” but her position arises out of personal experience of living with an addict and intensive study of drugs and addiction.

Phil Walsh, at 56, has become a fierce opponent of CLEAR in recent months but I give him great credit for his submission. He knows his stuff and what is between us is misunderstanding. We are entirely on the same side.

Tjalling Erkelens, the director of Bedrocan, at 75, should not be missed. Bedrocan is the most advanced source of cannabinoid medicine in Europe, produced and marketed with unrivalled expertise but, most importantly, with integrity and patients’ interests at heart.

The University of Kent, at 77, is one of the most impressive submissions from academia. It avoids the dreadful, pretentious “sociology speak” which so many of the academic and quasi-official bodies, such as UKDPC and Drugscope, fall victim to. It is worth reading instead of just being a collection of jargon and meaningless phrases.

In forthcoming parts of this series, I will highlight further submissions which are worth reading.

HASC Drugs Inquiry. An Analysis Of The Written Evidence. Part 3