02 Jul Legal Remedies – A Call To Action

A friend, who I shall not name, spoke to me in despair the other day. She is a medicinal user, someone who really, and I mean really, needs cannabis because it alone enables her to lead a productive life. There are many, even in the cannabis and drug law reform community, who still do not really understand this. They throw around ill-considered ideas such as there is little difference between medicinal and recreational users or that we need to consider all users equally or that this is a subtle and finely drawn distinction.

These people really do not understand how cannabis has a transformational effect on some peope’s lives. They may have read about the endocannabinoid system but they don’t seem to have quite understood how important we now know it is to good health.

The central nervous system, the immune system, cardiovascular system, reproductive system, gastrointestinal and urinary tracts all contain cannabinoid receptors and are regulated by cannabinoids. People who suffer from MS or Crohn’s or ME may well be suffering from an endocannabinoid deficiency. We know that endocannabnoid production declines as we age, a process that may play an important role in the development of age-related and degenerative diseases such as atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, arthritis, osteoporosis and possibly a number of cancers as well as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

So it is entirely logical that endocannabinoid levels should be supplemented with other sources of cannabinoids and the only source outside the human body is the cannabis plant. For some people, such as my friend, this is the difference between a life worth living and a life of misery, disability and pain.

She was in despair because she really believed that if she went to her doctor, her consultant, her MP and through him to minsters of health and our leaders then eventually the logic and overwhemlming evidence of her case would be heard. She believed that because she lives in Britain, a land of justice and freedom and truth, those in power, in a system she trusts, would respond properly to her needs.

I was sad but not surprised to see her so disillusioned. She had been reading the stories of others who have come before her, some of whom have now passed, who have experienced the same hope and then been crushed by spineless, careless and weak politicians. Even those who have some reforming instinct are restrained by the cold hand of prohibition which lurks in the Home Office. In the corridors of Marsham Street there is a malevolent, bigoted and stubborn group that denies any progress even in the face of cast iron proof.

Even while the government’s chief drugs advisor is a passionate advocate of medicinal cannabis, the government’s ludicrous, official line is that it has no medicinal benefits. Our prime minister, who has himself indulged recreationally, who only recently advocated “radical options” on cannabis, now speaks blatant untruths and promotes misinformation. In his footsteps follow utter fools like Nadine Dorries, blathering nonsense about issues clearly far beyond her understanding and Charles “Cocaine For Kids” Walker, possibly the most dangerous speaker in the drugs debate in Britain ever.

Baroness Browning, the new drugs minister, has now shown herself to be just another mindless puppet of prohibition. She fails to respond to correspondence and when pressed just repeats the tired, inane and false Home Office gibberish of old.

We need to do more than just seek to persuade. It is evident from not just the government’s but all our politicans’ pathetic, non-existent response to the Global Commission’s initiative, that we are led by donkeys and cheated by monkeys. Our leaders are irresponsible and inadequate. We must force their hand.

We need to take the issue of the denial of medicinal cannabis before the courts. The process is clear. I first set it out in Legal Opportunities For Medicinal Cannabis Users. It is now part of CLEAR’s strategy. The campaign is Legal Remedies. The time is NOW!

If you are a medicinal user of cannabis, please join with us. We will aim to co-ordinate a doctor’s prescription for you for Bedrocan (medicinal cannabis produced under the auspices of the Dutch government). We will assist you in applying to the Home Office for an import licence to obtain your medicine. We will then seek to bring an action for judicial review in the High Court of the refusal to issue such licences. The more that join together in this, the more chance we have of success.

I cannot promise quick results. Your own GP has “prescriber rights” which fully entitle him or her to write you out a prescription for Bedrocan today – but few are prepared to do so. This may mean that we need to organise an overseas trip to Holland, Belgium, Spain or Italy where we can find doctors who will help. We will need to do this in a way that enables even the most disabled to travel. We may then need to raise a great deal of money to hire lawyers of the calibre we need.

What I can promise is that I and all those involved in CLEAR and all its resources will concentrate on this and that if we follow it all the way through, we have a good chance of success.

Please step forward in your own and others’ interests. Register to be part of this by sending an email to [email protected] Include your name, email address, telephone number and the condition you treat with cannabis. It is the first step on a long but worthwhile journey.