What if Cannabis Was Legalised in the UK?

26 mins read


Before even considering this, I feel it is essential to point out that it is not cannabis itself that is illegal – it is the possession, cultivation (production) and supply without a license, that is banned. The law is against the people that wish to use the plant to their benefit.

The lame Government excuse I’ve heard throughout 20 years of campaigning, for not changing the law, is that they believe use would go up – they then go on to tell us blatant lies that cannabis is a dangerous drug and causes this or that problem with people, whilst denying the medicinal and other advantages.

The Government speculates use and therefore harm will go up. I have heard many cannabis campaigners say that it won’t, but there I disagree – use will go up – I HOPE SO – simply because the very vast majority of users benefit from the plant and many more will benefit if they can grow or buy cannabis legally. If the vast majority of new users benefit, in comparison the number of those that suffer damage associated with cannabis use will be small and they can seek help sooner without fear of being busted. Because quality will improve and the criminal element removed, all users will benefit from clean cannabis and we will see an end to that disgusting “grit weed” and “soap bar”, that itself causes damage.

My argument is that the overall benefit to society would far outweigh the risk of more harm.

So I’d like to dream for a while, what the world would be like if the law is changed to allow personal possession and cultivation – maybe licensed production and supply to adults.

There’s an estimated 5 million cannabis smokers in the UK with at least that many again that have tried it. That means technically some 10 million people in Britain alone, almost 25% of the adult population, are criminalised – many “break the law” daily, out of necessity or choice – and most of them live in dread and stress for fear of that knock on the door, court case and criminal record. How many have respect for the law-makers when they daily live under fear of the law even though they are not actually doing any harm? Millions!

Perhaps strangely and surely hypocritically, our own Prime Minister, David Cameron and many politicians, along with high-powered businessmen, sportsmen and women and other professionals, and a massive proportion of those involved with the entertainment industry, are included amongst those once-upon-a-time users. And considering most cannabis users share their smokes, technically they were all guilty of supply too.. Now and then they raise their voice against this law but I cannot say I have seen much help for the cannabis campaign, from them, ever.

So, of course, those so- called “medicinal” and “recreational” users (a vague distinction in many cases) would immediately benefit if the law is changed, as they will then be free to grow and possess cannabis without fear of arrest. And if adult supply centres such as cannabis shops or cannabis clubs / cafés are allowed, those that cannot grow their own will have a safe environment, away from crime and hard drugs, with consumer protection, quality control and cleanliness guaranteed. No more back street drug dealers.

The immediate knock on effect will be easing of the burden on the police and courts, the revenue taxation of profits presently being avoided by criminal suppliers and a saving of billions of pounds a year of taxpayers money presently used to fight and unjustifiable and unenforceable law.

Cannabis as a legal alternative to people that over-indulge in alcohol; cannabis available medicinally to replace so many pharmaceutical drugs with risks of side-effects (and drugs to counteract those side-effects) – the feel-good factor!

Take the case of students and young people. When we reach the age of 18 we are allowed to buy and consume alcohol on licensed premises – despite the fact that it causes so much grief, violence, illness, absenteeism, accidents and premature death – but of course huge profits are made and revenue gained. At that age most of us want somewhere to go to meet people, and there is little alternative to drinking. That leads to drinking competitions and binges, and my experience is that there is plenty of that, at least when I was that age. I certainly over-consumed more than once, and fortunately, I survived. The problem with alcohol is that it warps one’s judgement, and not only did I ignore warnings that i was getting too drunk, if they were ever given, but once when having been asked to look after the car keys so my mate did not drive whilst drunk, I almost got into a fight when he demanded them back – and he too was very drunk. One only has to visit an inner city at night to see the fights that do happen, fuelled by booze. But show me a Dutch Coffeeshop where people end up fighting! Had there been Coffeeshops when I was 18, I think I would have been visiting them and meeting the sort of people I really wanted to meet, not fellow drunks.

Incidentally I have met a few people that have successfully used cannabis to overcome their addiction to booze. For most people booze and weed do not mix well.

But the breweries, distilleries and off-licenses are not the only people that fear that more people using cannabis would detrimentally affect their profits. We also face opposition from drug companies and suppliers – both legal and illegal.

Those drug suppliers that offer oft-inferior quality and contaminated cannabis along with hard drugs, whether on the streets, from houses or in clubs, do not relish the thought that their cannabis customers may have somewhere to buy legally – what will they do if they can’t get the trade? Hence the vast majority refuse to support efforts to change the law.

Then there’s those drug companies that produce pills and potions to “heal” us, or at least ease the symptoms – although of course their drugs often cause bad side-effects so we need more drugs to counteract those effects. I have met people taking literally dozens of pills daily, at quite a cost to the NHS – and at least some of them, when resorting to a more efficacious substance called cannabis, are able to stop taking many of the pills at all – Multiple Sclerosis sufferers amongst them.

How strange that GW Pharmaceuticals are able to produce “Sativex”, a solution of cannabis in alcohol with a hint of peppermint, to treat MS and pain. GW say that sativex is Sativex is a whole plant medicinal cannabis extract containing TetranabinexTM (tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) and NabidiolexTM (cannabidiol or CBD) as its principal components. The medicine is administered by means of a spray into the mouth. Yet the UK Government deny the medicinal value of cannabis presumably trying to convey that if dissolved in alcohol (THC is not soluble in water) it suddenly gains value!

So natural cannabis is apparently value-less as a medicine, but available as a medicine if dissolved in alcohol and made into a spray. What nonsense!

That would be bad enough – sufferers of MS being prosecuted for growing the same plant at home that GW grows in warehouses – if limited to MS.

But the list of health problems that are eased by cannabis goes far beyond that. Here are some examples of where natural cannabis can help: treating cancers and tumours, relieving side effects such as nausea caused by cancer chemotherapy, pain, glaucoma, migraine, epilepsy, rheumatic pains, depression and mood disorders, bipolar, asthma, insomnia, loss of appetite, tinnitus – it can help with anti-microbial effects, dystonias, Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, Chron’s Disease, diabetic gastroparesis, psuedotumour cerebri, phantom limb pain, post traumatic stress disorder – and of course stress itself.

Let me also emphasis that for those that choose not to smoke (cannabis is far safer and more effective when NOT mixed with tobacco), cannabis can be consumed using vaporisers, or added to food or drinks (just dissolve in hot oil or butter – or even alcohol as does GW – to extract the essentials, and test dose gradually). So, although there is no actual evidence that smoking pure cannabis cooly causes lung problems, those that are concerned have alternatives

Cannabis users and non-users alike will benefit both through their physical and financial well-being.. It all seems so obvious to me.

But it doesn’t stop there.

It doesn’t stop there because cannabis is much more than a drug, if indeed it is strictly a drug at all (not being toxic, addictive, hallucinogenic, stimulant or narcotic).

Cannabis is a PLANT – a quite remarkable plant, and every part of it has a potential use – thousands of products can be made (and disposed of) in environmentally-friendly ways replacing many chemical products we depend on in our lives – from foodstuff to packaging, fuel to plastics, from paper to clothes, and much more. See http://www.ccguide.org/manyuses.php

Cannabis aka Hemp is one of the most versatile plants on the planet. It has been used since prehistoric times. It has been used throughout history until the first quarter of the twentieth century. Its production was then mostly prohibited. This was at the same time that large American pharmaceutical and petrochemical companies were ready to replace hemp with synthetics ranging from diesel to nylon, plastic to drugs. This has produced huge profits for these companies at the cost of the environment and of personal freedom.

Hemp has been grown for its fibre, for its seeds and for the tops, heads, flowers and leaves.

The fibrous parts of the hemp plant are the stringy threads which come from the stalk and the woody part of the stalk itself, which is called the hurd.

The fibres can be used to produce paper, sails, rope, clothes, shoes, nets, building materials like bricks and chipboard, packing material, animal and human bedding, furniture and even lace. It can also be used to produce blocks or charcoal for burning.

The seeds can be used as a human and animal food (it is more nutritious than Soya) and for oil. The oil can be used as a salad dressing, as fuel for lamps and engines (the original Model T Ford was designed to run on hemp fuel). It can also be used to make lubricants, paint, sealant, varnish, lotions, ointments, lacquer and soap.

The tops and heads, along with some leafy material, can be used as a sacrament, a medicine and as a recreational substance.

Many experts blame the rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere primarily on the use of fossil fuels. Biofuels, over time, would actually help restore the level of CO^2 to a safer level. Acid rain is caused by sulphur being released into the atmosphere by industry. Fossil fuels contain sulphur and are a major source of this problem. Biofuels do not release sulphur into the atmosphere. Chemicals are causing the ozone layer to disappear. Hemp cannot solve this but it can withstand the increased radiation better than pine trees, soya beans and other plants.

_Excerpted from ‘Energy Farming in America’, by Lynn Osborne_.

“Biomass conversion to fuel has been proven economically feasible, first in laboratory tests and by continuous operation of pilot plants in field tests since 1973. When the energy crop is growing it takes [carbon dioxide] from the air, so when it is burned the CO2 is released, creating a balanced system.

“Biomass is the term used to describe all biologically produced matter. “

“Hemp is the number one biomass producer on planet earth: 10 tons per acre in approximately four months. It is a woody plant containing 77% cellulose. Wood produces 60% cellulose. “

_From ‘The Report of The FCDA Europe’ by Kenn and Joanna d’Oudney, Fourth Edition, ISBN 0 9524421 1 6._
See http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1902848071/webbooks05

“The Cannabis Biomass Energy Equation (CBEE) demonstrates for the first time on record that fuel-energy sourced from the renewable, pollution-free resource of flora in the form of Cannabis Sativa, achieves uniquely economical replacement of fuels, and has always been so. There has not been this century, a single ecologically-pertinent fact, theory or postulation embodying practicable potentials as beneficial to the planet and the well-being of its people as those of the CBEE, given practical application in the CBRPF [Cannabis Biomass Resource and Pyrolysis Functions]; this formulation resolves Mankind’s most crucial predicament in macro-Economics and Ecology to have arisen since the incipience of The Industrial revolution.”

See also Hemp and the Marijuana Conspiracy: Emperor Wears No Clothes (http://amzn.to/jxqbW6)

Hemp and other biofuels can safely, cleanly and completely replace both – no more oil spills, oil fires, radiation leaks or nuclear meltdowns. The hidden costs of these industries – subsidies, military costs of protecting oil fields, clean-up costs and health costs borne by society – are not paid for at the pump, they are added onto tax, insurance and health care bills, and oil wars, such as the Gulf War in 1991. We, the people, still pay all the costs, they are merely hidden from us. When these hidden costs are taken into account, biofuels are much more economical.

As a foodstuff, hemp seed is one of the most complete sources of vegetable nutrition known to man. It is a source of high quality protein containing all of the essential amino acids in nutritionally significant amounts. Hemp seed oil is a rich source of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) – important for optimum health in the body. In the last hundred years we have learnt that Minerals & Vitamins are essential for our health – it is now considered that EFA’s constitute the final part of the health triumvirate. Luckily hemp has significant amounts of all three. Not only that, but the nutrition in hemp comes in the most optimum ratio and also most easily digested

See http://bit.ly/mzvjWN

Being so easy to produce almost anywhere in the world, hemp seed offers a powerful part-solution to world hunger: people could grow their own plants even in poor soil, produce their own medicines, fibres, oils, fuels and seed for food – THAT would save countless lives – if indeed that is what the world powers seek. I wonder if it is?

See http://bit.ly/mEn35E

So the potential result of the removal of cannabis possession, cultivation and supply – the “freeing-up” of cultivation of hemp for industrial uses, will be a happier, cleaners society.

So the only question we need to ask is: why do successive Governments just say NO?

I sincerely wish I knew the real answer to that question. I can only surmise that they have secret reasons, probably financial and concerns over loss of power through loss of votes.

Interestingly, a couple of years back to Legalise Cannabis Alliance (now called “Cannabis Law Reform” – “CLEAR”, a political party but with different structure and policies) issues a postcard to be sent to Labour telling them that if they raised cannabis back to a class B drug, we would not vote for them – they went ahead, then they lost the election. So 5 million tokers had their say – unfortunately the result was the present coalition that is no better.

Beyond speculation, looking at the reasons that the Government give for not changing the law on cannabis, they cite international treaty and their fear that it would mean increased availability, increased use and increased harm – although they have no evidence to back that up.

A document called “Cannabis: Challenging the Criminal Justice System” produced by Don Barnard and Alun Buffry and sent to the Labour Government, along with hundreds of MP’s, initiated the following response from Caroline Flynn MP, then in the Home Office:

“The public discussion document … represents a carefully considered examination of what I believe you would accept is a complex, multi-faceted issue.

“I accept that you have fairly reflected the main requirements of the
UN Conventions, which govern these matters internationally and which
largely underpin the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. These provisions provide signatories to the Conventions with a fair degree of flexibility. The
United Kingdom Government exercises that flexibility responsibly at
every level, having regard both to the terms of the Conventions and to
the impact of our legislative actions at home as well as on the international community.

“Central to our thinking is the importance of protecting the health and welfare of the British public. We have taken the view that prohibition
is the most appropriate means of doing this. The Government has no intention of either decriminalising or legalising cannabis (or any other currently controlled drug) for recreational purposes.”

“Our view is that cannabis is a controlled drug for good reasons. In
recommending the reclassification of cannabis, the Advisory Council
on the Misuse of Drugs, which, as you know, advises the Home Secretary
on such matters, asked for it to be clearly understood that cannabis
is unquestionably harmful. It has a number of acute and chronic health
effects and can induce dependence. It clearly makes sense therefore
for it to remain a controlled drug whose unauthorised production (including cultivation), supply and possession are and will remain illegal.

“To decriminalise or legalise the possession of cannabis for
personal consumption would send the wrong message to the majority of
young people who do not take drugs on a regular basis, if at all, with
the potential risk of increased drug use and abuse. Our target is to
reduce the use of all illegal drugs – including cannabis – substantially and the consequent drain upon the health services that would result from increased consumption due to more ready access to increased supply. While our drugs laws cannot be expected to eliminate drug misuse, there is no doubt that they do help to limit use and deter experimentation.

“The Government is aware of the arguments for legalising cannabis in
a regulated way and has concluded that the disadvantages would outweigh the benefits. A substantial increase in consumption of cannabis (largely by smoking) could have significant implications for public health. Also, unilateral action on the Government’s part would undoubtedly encourage unwanted drug tourism to this country in the event that there were no similar move to legalise internationally. At a time when we are doing much to try to reduce the use of tobacco and alcohol due to ever greater concerns about their safety, it would be perverse to take the huge gamble with public health that would be involved in legalising cannabis.”

see http://www.ccguide.org/lca/challengeintro.php

Considering the misery, poverty, illness, crime and pollution caused by cannabis prohibition, not only do they need to be asked – they need to be indicted for Crimes Against Humanity.


Alun Buffry

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