28 Jul Reckless MP’s Tweet Reveals Deep Ignorance About Medicinal Cannabis

Mark Reckless MP Mark Reckless MP

You’d think that a member of the Home Affairs select committee (HASC) would have at least a basic knowledge about medicinal cannabis. Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, evidently knows nothing, though he seems to think it’s a bit of a joke.

“…how about qat?” he tweeted when I had reminded Keith Vaz, himself tweeting about Theresa May’s diabetes diagnosis, that cannabis use helps to prevent diabetes.

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Mr Reckless and Mr Vaz obviously missed the extensive coverage in May of the very large US study looking at 5,000 patients over five years, that showed reduced insulin resistance and a massive 16% reduction in insulin levels after fasting compared to non-users.

I suppose Mr Reckless thought his reference to qat was funny. Quite why I don’t understand. Theresa May’s idiotic decision, against ACMD advice, to criminalise 90,000 UK residents who currently use qat, is yet another example of why current drugs policy is so damaging to our society. She has created a criminal market overnight and the consequential harms will be devastating. She made some vague reference in her announcement to terrorism. Well I predict that she has just opened a new source of finance for terrorism and that British lives will be lost as a direct result of her actions, probably by radicalised Somalians.

Reckless really should know better. He’s no stranger to drug use himself for purely recreational reasons. Three years ago, just two months after his election as an MP, he confessed that he was too drunk to vote on the second reading of the finance bill. Not an impressive record.

Now, as a member of the HASC, he is supposed to call the Home Office to account over its drugs policy and the UK is the only country in the world to have licensed a pharmaceutical company to grow massive quantities of cannabis for medicine. GW Pharmaceuticals is currently developing a cannabis medicine for diabetes containing elevated levels of the cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and cannabidiol (CBD).

It’s the blatant, truculent ignorance that is so offensive though. Reckless lacks knowledge, sympathy and common decency. At least hundreds of thousands if not millions of UK citizens use cannabis as medicine and this government oppresses, abuses and denies them relief from pain, suffering and disability.

At the recent HASC drugs inquiry, Reckless, along with all other members of the committee, was regularly sent comprehensive information on medicinal cannabis by CLEAR. We even sent them all a copy of Clint Werner’s excellent book ‘Marijuana Gateway to Health: How Cannabis Protects Us from Cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease’. In fact, medicinal cannabis was the single issue most often mentioned in all the written evidence submitted to the inquiry but it was entirely ignored. Not one word was mentioned about the subject that the public cared about most of all.

This is the ignorance and prejudice that we face in the fight for medicinal cannabis. It’s deeply unpleasantly expressed and Reckless is matched only by his committee colleague Michael Ellis in his arrogance and disdain for evidence and human experience.

Keith Vaz needs to get a grip on his committee. He needs to educate himself and make sure his colleagues do. They need to remember they are there to serve us and not their personal career ambitions.