18 Jun Tomorrow, Tuesday, 19th June, Is A Very Important Day For The Cannabis Campaign

Tomorrow, at the HASC drugs inquiry, Professor David Nutt leads the first group of genuinely impartial, expert witnesses. Until now, with perhaps one exception, all we’ve had have been celebrities, government stooges and the most extreme prohibitionist propagandists.

First there was Sir Richard who is, of course, very rich. He’s also a cool cat who appreciates the value of cannabis but, by his own admission, he’s “no expert” and he’s a little confused between “skunk and ordinary marijuana”. “Ordinary marijuana” is presumably what some gringo buys from some hispanic hombre in Tijuana. “Skunk”, apparently, is “too strong”, whatever that means. The Global Commission is a welcome initiative but it contributes influence rather than expertise.

The UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC), represented by Roger Howard, is the one honourable exception. It claims to provide “objective analysis of UK drug policy” and does know the difference between evidence and prejudice.

Then there was a flush of representatives from the self-serving drug support industry which – surprise, surprise – wants to see a continuance of the status quo and finds it convenient to lump all drugs together as one, with the aim of getting as many new referrals through the door as possible. The medical establishment in the form of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Royal College of GPs followed, never letting evidence or modern science stand in the way of their vested interests or out of date knowledge.

Then came the entertainment with Russell Brand, dressed to impress, theatrical, controversial and passionate but probably counterproductive. A crescendo of misinformation, bigotry and prejudice was reached with the joint appearance of Kathy Gyngell, Peter Hitchens and Mary Brett. On reflection, perhaps it was a good thing to herd them all on at once. The most blatant lies and extreme propaganda all crammed into one short session.

So tomorrow is of vital importance. Professor Nutt and Dr King will, of course, be discussing more than just cannabis, although the recent controversy over the British Lung Foundation report will almost certainly be mentioned. In the second session, the representatives from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) will be more focused on legal highs and their current reviews of khat and cocaine. However, I am very hopeful that Professor Les Iversen will be asked about the medicinal use of cannabis and I have written to Keith Vaz, chair of the committee suggesting this.

Watch the hearing live here from 11.00am tomorrow.