NewsWritten By Chris Bovey

May 2, 2018

Another bullshit response by the Tories to cannabis petition

By Chris Bovey

The Conservatives have rejected yet another online cannabis petition on the official government petition website.

There have been a number of petitions online petitions asking the government to legalise cannabis or reconsider drugs policy; if they pass over 10,000, the government has to give a response and if they pass 100,000 then they are put to a committee to be considered for a debate in Parliament.

One such petition put forward by Green MP, Caroline Lucas, did pass that threshold a few years ago, obtaining over 220,000 signatures. MPs debated it, Lib Dem Home Office Minister Norman Baker at the time said politicians were out of step with public opinion and called for an end to “robotic mindless rhetoric” and even some Conservative MPs expressed doubts about current policy. It was then of course forgotten and business as usual.

Theresa May, when Home Secretary tried to alter the findings of an official Home Office report that found no clear link between harsh drugs laws and illegal drug use.

The latest petition called on the government to hold a referendum for the legalisation of cannabis. Now nobody in a million years ever expected the government to agree to this, but it’s always interesting to see what rubbish they respond with, since if it gains over 10,000 they have to respond and if it gets over 100k signatories then it could compel MPs to debate the issue

The government quickly responded, repeating its long-held position, saying it has no plans to legalise cannabis with the usual lies about cannabis being harmful and can damage people’s mental and physical health, and our wider communities.

Petition creator, Gareth Lendrum, told Feed The Birds: “The petition is not pro-cannabis or anti-cannabis it’s pro-choice. The government have responded “no plans to legalise” so they have answered a question that was never asked, it asks for a vote, not legalisation.”

The government even cited a report from their own advisors, the Advisory Council Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) which stated on its first page: “You will note that, after a most careful scrutiny of the totality of the available evidence, the majority of the Council’s members consider – based on its harmfulness to individuals and society – that cannabis should remain a Class C substance. It is judged that the harmfulness of cannabis more closely equates with other Class C substances than with those currently classified as Class B.”

The then Labour government ignored this advice and put it back to a Class B drug anyway. They also sacked the previous chair of the ACMD, Prof David Nutt, one of the world’s most respected experts in the field of neuropsychopharmacology specialising in the research of drugs that affect the brain and conditions such as addiction, anxiety, and sleep, because he advocates scientific evidence-based harm-reduction policies. Prof Nutt also supports the legalisation of cannabis, as they are about to do in Canada and already have done so in much of the USA.

How it feels when you watch the rest of the world legalisaing weed.

With the British Government’s propensity to sack people who dare to disagree with them and to try to alter drug reports they don’t agree with, we can’t take too seriously the report that the government referred to in their response.

There have been numerous reports that show cannabis can be used to treat mental health issues and depression. Then there was the Keele University Study that did not find any evidence of increasing schizophrenia or psychoses in the general population from cannabis usage.

The government’s lame response to this petition was disingenuous, as it was predictable. However, it’s always good to keep up the pressure, if you have not yet signed the petition, you can do so here https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/214030?reveal_response=yes

Also, on Thursday 3rd May there are local elections in many parts of England, including all of the capital, London. There are millions of cannabis users in Britain, so if you have the opportunity to vote tomorrow, please make sure you send a message to Theresa May’s Conservatives that cannabis prohibition is not a vote winner, by voting for the candidate most likely to beat the Conservatives in your area.

Do not be fooled by campaigns like Volte Face, TENDO and End Our Pain that are funded by Tory party donors who have links to David Cameron’s dodgy Big Society scam and is run by a bunch of corporate capitalist Tory twats. You will never get legal cannabis under Theresa May, who is on the record as to saying she is sympathetic to upgrading ‘skunk’ to a Class A drug. Even if the Tory leadership changes, we do not want corporate cannabis that will give restricted access to cannabis for the few to give big profits for Cameron’s mates, as advocated by TENDO.

Screen shot from TENDO cannabis campaign.
TENDO campaign funded by Tory Party donors calls for cannabis to be severely restricted as a Schedule II drug. Be careful what you wish for folks.

Keep the 420 protests going, keep writing to your MP, keep signing the useless petitions and keep up the pressure. Remember the rest of the world is legalising weed, several European countries are currently loosening up on the law and ultimately the UK might follow the lead of Canada, Uruguay, Jamaica and much of the USA by legalising pot, but if only if the millions of cannabis consumers in the UK stand up and be counted.


Chris Bovey, writer and musician.
Chris Bovey is a businessman, writer, musician and practical joker. He lives in Devon with his partner, two children and cat.