Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Monday, 26 July 2010

Medical cannabis - the law as it stands is an ass

A chap named Jason got in touch with me recently to draw my attention to an article that he had written where he explains how he has suffered for the majority of his life from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) and that how the only drug he has found that allows him to live a relatively normal life without dreadful side-effects is cannabis.

Of course cannabis is a controlled substance under the law and there is no legal way to get hold of it so therefore he has had to regularly break the law in order to get the only medicine that he feels is of any real use for his condition.

It is well worth reading Jason's article in full to get an idea of just how pernicious our drugs laws are that somebody who has suffered with an awful condition for most of his life is forced to break the law to treat it and the intermittency of supply is such that he cannot always get access to it.

Amidst all the headlines of the "War on Drugs" and politicians trying to sound tough we need to remember that there are people like Jason caught in the crossfire. He is just trying to live his life the best way he can. The law is an ass when it comes to cases like his and the government has no business preventing him from getting the treatment he needs for his condition.


It needs to be reformed, now.

8 comments:

Jason said...

I would like to thank Mark for raising awareness on this and for the work he does on sensible drug policy in general.

I'm Jason, the one who wrote the piece. (excuse the mistakes in the article, I'm very aware of them!) I wrote this for Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Professor Emeritus of Harvard Medical School (hence the Americanisms in the piece) Knowing how far behind the UK are on cannabis, Dr. Grinspoon urged me to seek outlets and Mark has been a true hero in providing a platform and his general manner. For anyone not aware of Dr. Lester Grinspoon's work, look him up, he is a true pioneer and heavily respected.

There a very few people in the UK willing to tackle cannabis as a subject matter, we are literally ignored by the best of them, Mark has proved to be a real champion in the truest sense.

Although I am a medical user and I would like to see a change in law for people like myself who are simply disabled and not criminals, I would also like to point out I am very much for the idea of regulation across the board on cannabis, I now know much about the plant as stated; it is totally nonsensical and counter-productive that cannabis is classed as a controlled drug when the hypocrisy of alcohol hangs over me like a goading bully, I could reel facts and figures off with the best of them now, but this is not the place. When I can, I now give speeches on this subject and I have turned the hardiest of "prohibitionists". The evidence that I can use to combat the anti argument makes the debate too easy, I don't profess to be able to argue the point well, I just have good scientific, legal and political citations to draw from, I thank these people also who have put so much work into this issue!

I would not lay claim to new pioneering new tactics with the cannabis debate, but I debate from the stance that the "pro" and "anti" argument have bogged down the debate for too long and that we are actually all on the same page. Wiping the slate clean and looking at the inevitable goal, we all wish for less harms, less usage in children, and less crime. People soon realise that the enemies in the debate are not the opposition but the current method of control and that we are striving for the same goal, you quickly see a change in attitude. It no longer becomes a battle of wills on a contested subject that we all have a bias on, the focus then becomes on working together for communal well-being. More often or not, when presented with the full picture, prohibitionists arrive at the conclusion of regulation before the idea is even proposed. Changing the conventional argument has worked in my experience, and the latest poll that resulted in 70% of the populace wished for regulation also clarifies this stance. The debate has been muddied for deliberate reason I feel, all the while it rages, no conclusion can be reached, and when a clear sense of calm rationality takes over, enemies invariably become allies. All to often it is just a change in perspective that is needed and not a stubborn battle of wits.

Once more, not only would I like to thank Mark, but my loved ones who suffer with me due to knock on consequence would also like to extend their emotive gratitude as they too are under threat from current law. As Mark says, in every conceivable way, the law is an ass, and when we know why it is this way- lobbying, right wing press and political point scoring- it is hard to forgive governance when I know what I do now. It is also demoralising that I have to lay out my private life and personal troubles just to get a message across. It's not great for self-esteem.

So, from all of us, the hundreds of thousands that suffer in the UK, both directly and indirectly, thank you Mark, truly thank you.

Jason said...

I would like to thank Mark for raising awareness on this and for the work he does on sensible drug policy in general.

I'm Jason, the one who wrote the piece. (excuse the mistakes in the article, I'm very aware of them!) I wrote this for Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Professor Emeritus of Harvard Medical School (hence the Americanisms in the piece) Knowing how far behind the UK are on cannabis, Dr. Grinspoon urged me to seek outlets and Mark has been a true hero in providing a platform and his general manner. For anyone not aware of Dr. Lester Grinspoon's work, look him up, he is a true pioneer and heavily respected.

There a very few people in the UK willing to tackle cannabis as a subject matter, we are literally ignored by the best of them, Mark has proved to be a real champion in the truest sense.

Although I am a medical user and I would like to see a change in law for people like myself who are simply disabled and not criminals, I would also like to point out I am very much for the idea of regulation across the board on cannabis, I now know much about the plant as stated; it is totally nonsensical and counter-productive that cannabis is classed as a controlled drug when the hypocrisy of alcohol hangs over me like a goading bully, I could reel facts and figures off with the best of them now, but this is not the place. When I can, I now give speeches on this subject and I have turned the hardiest of "prohibitionists". The evidence that I can use to combat the anti argument makes the debate too easy, I don't profess to be able to argue the point well, I just have good scientific, legal and political citations to draw from, I thank these people also who have put so much work into this issue!

I would not lay claim to new pioneering new tactics with the cannabis debate, but I debate from the stance that the "pro" and "anti" argument have bogged down the debate for too long and that we are actually all on the same page. Wiping the slate clean and looking at the inevitable goal, we all wish for less harms, less usage in children, and less crime. People soon realise that the enemies in the debate are not the opposition but the current method of control and that we are striving for the same goal, you quickly see a change in attitude. It no longer becomes a battle of wills on a contested subject that we all have a bias on, the focus then becomes on working together for communal well-being. More often or not, when presented with the full picture, prohibitionists arrive at the conclusion of regulation before the idea is even proposed. Changing the conventional argument has worked in my experience, and the latest poll that resulted in 70% of the populace wished for regulation also clarifies this stance. The debate has been muddied for deliberate reason I feel, all the while it rages, no conclusion can be reached, and when a clear sense of calm rationality takes over, enemies invariably become allies. All to often it is just a change in perspective that is needed and not a stubborn battle of wits.

Once more, not only would I like to thank Mark, but my loved ones who suffer with me due to knock on consequence would also like to extend their emotive gratitude as they too are under threat from current law. As Mark says, in every conceivable way, the law is an ass, and when we know why it is this way- lobbying, right wing press and political point scoring- it is hard to forgive governance when I know what I do now. It is also demoralising that I have to lay out my private life and personal troubles just to get a message across. It's not great for self-esteem.

So, from all of us, the hundreds of thousands that suffer in the UK, both directly and indirectly, thank you Mark, truly thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi jason just finished your piece and wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading it. I found your writing really interesting and thought provoking it flows so nicely. It really paints a sad picture of how these laws effect so many people like yourself and ones that don't even know it. I wish I could read a newspaper with pieces that enlightened me and educated me like that everyday instead of the brain washing drabble most of them print. I hope you can grow the medicine you need sometime soon and find the peace of mind your looking for someday mate

Kevin Boatang said...

The law is wrong full stop. The criminalisation of recreational drugs has achieved nothing but and escalation of drug use and an increase in health issues due to a poor supply and quality of those drugs.

Prohibition solves nothing.

Jason said...

Thank you Anon, it genuinely is a pleasure to speak to people who both understand and show empathy. In the "director's cut" version of this piece is says how I have seen the ugly side of humanity all too often, so when I receive nice sentiments, they really do mean a lot. I do tend to come across heavy handed because of this.

I really am doing all I can now on this subject, my life is once more on hold while I fight this battle, my book is shelved, my partner barely sees me as I am fighting so hard, and I have my head buried in one piece of research or another. Of course, my health is suffering immeasurably in having to apply such efforts into something that could be so easy to change. It's once more hard not to become bitter over it all.

And I agree whole heatedly (with Kevin Boatang) that prohibition as a model is complete lunacy. There is little to no logic to it once you get passed the ingrained knee-jerk response that has been built up over the last 80 years. Like many of us, I could talk for hours (and often do) on this.

It really has been welcome contribute and to speak to people who have a knowledge on this, once more, thank you all!!

Peter Reynolds said...

http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com/?s=cannabis

I am very keen to try and get a proper UK medicinal cannabis campaign going. No one has ever addressed this issue properly here. Professionally presented it is an incontestable argument.

Case studies of users/patients are the easy part. What we need are medical practitioners, scientists, qualified professionals, authority/celebrity figures.

Can you help? Who do you know who can help?

Anonymous said...

Hi there I just want to point out there are more people smoking it now then five years ago. I have more bone on my knee then necessary witch make it hard to walk and run without it hurting (I can walk for about 15 mins)and smoking green helps my problem and helps me relax, I'v broke the law countless times to get it but what else can I do if the government will not change the law we the people must change the government!! the government was created for the people. So they should change it or we will have to do something to get them to realise that there wrong and if it is not dealt with it wont be something nice!!!!

Marion Zacarias said...

This is a great blog for anyone who wants to know about this topic. Thanks for sharing such a nice information to everyone. herbal incense