(OK this is a subject I am pretty passionate about. I feel a change in the law on drugs is long overdue. I wrote to my MP today. Instead of repeating it all again here, it’ll be easier to just copy & paste the email I wrote below.
If anyone else would like to write to their MP about this subject & ask them to represent your views in parliament on 30th October, you can get all the information you need by visiting this link:
Ok now follows a copy & paste of email to my MP, I hope it was OK, I used the template on the site just to help me get started, & kick off my own words; it is much better you write to your MP using your own words.)
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Drugs Policy Debate, 30th October 2014
I am writing to ask you to represent my views in this important debate and to vote in favour of an independent cost-benefit analysis and impact assessment of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 within the next 12 months.
UK drugs policy is falling behind much of the world, & is a disastrous failure as agreed by just about everybody except those in government who run it.
Prohibition doesn’t work, it turns the police against the communities and the people they are supposed to protect. It alienates addicts who need help & support by making them into criminals.
People will take drugs whether they are allowed to or not. Prohibition doesn’t work. It just makes drugs more dangerous & also more accessible to minors. The black market works outside regulation & doesn’t adhere to age requirements. Prohibition also helps to fund criminal gangs & terrorist activity.
My main concern here is cannabis, against which we fight a futile, expensive war and in the process cause far more harm than cannabis ever can. In fact cannabis is less harmful than paracetamol. It has no overdose potential, & unlike paracetamol has recently been shown by a study in Canada that it does not cause harm to the liver.
I feel the vague unclear links to it causing mental illness often printed in biased newspapers to scare people, are unsubstantiated.
When cannabis was prohibited it’s use went up 22 fold in the UK. Yet there are no indications this has caused a 22 fold increase in psychiatric problems. I feel this study was flawed because it failed to take into account how many users had pre-existing mental health problems before they started using cannabis, & failed to state if these users were self medicating with cannabis to treat existing mental illness that was there before they started using cannabis. It also lumped all cannabinoids together, & didn’t state if there was any difference of effects between synthetic manmade cannabinoids, to the natural ones found in the plant.
There is a compound in cannabis called CBD (different to THC, but just as valuable medicinally.) which scientists now believe may have anti-depressant potential & has even shown promise with treating schizophrenia. It is also a safe alternative to sleeping pills for treating insomnia.
I myself am disabled & struggle to move due to pain & spasticity, the medications I am currently on are not perfect, they have unpleasant side effects, & I often find myself dreading to take them. I am unable to get sativex on prescription as it is just too expensive.
I have read & heard people recommending natural cannabis to help with the spasticity & pain, but I cannot get any except through the black market, which I haven’t done & I am unwilling to risk doing. As I don’t think in my current condition I would last very long in prison. I find this frustrating, because my current medication is ineffective & I would like to be able to legally use cannabis to treat my condition.
I think it is wrong & inhumane, that people who are ill & could benefit from using cannabis, are treated as criminals for doing so & risk going to prison if they try it. It is unfair that we deny access to those who need cannabis as medicine. Some of the medications prescribed for chronic illness have harmful unpleasant side effects & can be overdosed on whether accidently taking too much or deliberately. Cannabis as a medication has no such risk, because it is impossible to overdose on it. For many people it could greatly improve the quality of their life.
For 15 years, successive governments have told sick people they must wait for an approved cannabis medicine or they will be prosecuted. Now, Sativex is available but at such a high price that NICE has recently recommended against it’s use due to the cost. This is really frustrating because people could grow exactly the same thing at home for free.
If people were allowed to cultivate cannabis, or their carers/friends allowed to do so for them, (only a few plants for their personal medical use,) it would save the NHS a lot of money in prescription costs. Many of the expensive medications could be replaced by personal cannabis use, which would help cut costs on the NHS. Yeah the big pharmaceutical companies won’t like it, & I suspect could very well be the ones behind the opposition to lift the prohibition of cannabis, & perhaps also the ones behind much of the media propoganda, as one of them so eloquentally put on the radio, ‘ you can’t patent a plant.’
However this is wrong. Sickness should not be something to be profited from, that is unethical & inhumane. People who are sick & in constant pain should not be treated as criminals & risk going to jail for growing a plant which helps treat their condition. This must change and it must change immediately.
In the state of Colorado in the USA nothing bad has happened since they lifted the prohibition on cannabis. The people all seem a lot happier, sociable & friendly, which I think quietly disproves the media hype about it causing mental health problems. And it seems to have created a lot of jobs & contributed to their economy in a positive way. People there are allowed to cultivate up to 6 plants at home, as long as they are only for their personal use & don’t sell it or give it to minors. It can also be purchased legally & safely from a licensed shop, as not everyone has green fingers. Those that do have green fingers spend their money via specialized seedbanks & horticulturists, which also generates more money for the economy. Many people go to cannabis cafes as an alternative to the bars, like they do in Amsterdam; which also benefits the economy & is an extra way to raise taxes & create jobs. It also encourages tourism which adds to the local economy. I believe lifting the prohibition on cannabis would be a great benefit to the UK economy as well, & I’m not the only one. I heard on the radio last night that many programners in Silicon Valley are investing in cannabis, as they say it is going to be the next big thing in the US. They are usually right about this sort of thing, & I think we in the UK should listen & take advantage of this potential economic boon right now & get ahead of the market while we can, & not get left behind, like Britain always seems to do. Especially up here where jobs are seriously lacking, it could create a whole new thriving industry, stimulate economic growth & pump billions into the UK economy. It would also save the expense of unnecessary prison sentences on cannabis users & help cut off some of the funding that goes towards terrorist organisations from cannabis sold on the street & instead that funding would go to the government & the people. It would also help the police do their jobs better, by freeing up their time to focus on more serious crimes.
Also a large percentage of the electorate would be happier, & that isn’t a bad thing for a politician (:
Please speak in the House on this and support the idea of at least legalising cannabis.
It is vital to retaining my vote that you do speak in favour of reform. I can no longer accept this issue being swept under the carpet. When you have a debilitating illness, & there is a natural herb available which could greatly improve your quality of life, it seems inhumane & cold hearted that it is a crime to use it.
I do not know much about the issue of hard drugs, but in 1971 we had 3,000 problematic drug addicts, now we have 350,000. These people need help, they should not be treated as criminals, & many are too afraid to seek medical help because of the heavy handed draconian drugs laws in this country.
Sorry for the long email, this is something I feel passionate about. I won’t take up too much more of your time. I am not currently taking any drugs except those prescribed by my doctor, I don’t find my prescribed medication to be particularly effective or pleasant, & as a free human being, I would like the freedom & the right to use a plant that is relatively safe, with no overdose potential, that can help treat my chronic illness.
This issue is really important, not just to me, but many other people with chronic health conditions, of all ages, & backgrounds across the UK who would like the freedom to be able to use cannabis.
I shall be watching the debate and I ask you again to ensure you represent my views.
(If you want to write a letter too, you can do so by visiting: http://www.clear-uk.org/house-of-commons-drugs-policy-debate-vital-you-write-to-your-mp/