The BBC Cannabis Debate with Peter Reynolds

10:35 Thursday 1st March 2012
The JVS Show Three Counties Radio

JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Over a week ago I spoke to Jill about her son. Now he’s 23 now, and has been smoking cannabis since he was 14. It’s now dominating his life, and he’s become addicted to it. His wife has kicked him out, no longer able to cope with his drug taking. He’s stolen from his parents to fund his dependency, and he’s just not able to have a relationship with his young son that most fathers would want, as a result of his drug taking. Well when I spoke to Jill, I had Del Conlan, a drug rehabilitation counsellor from Trust the Process in Luton on the programme as well. After hearing Jill’s story, Dale made a staggering offer to Jill. He said that he’d arrange a 12 week rehab. programme for Jill’s son. This is what happened next. (TAPE)
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Jill, I want you to tell him now. He’s sitting there next to you. Tell him now. You’ve got two options today. Either you go to Trust the Process counselling for three months now, or this afternoon he’s leaving the house. Tell him that now.
JILL: You’ll go to counselling Martin and get some rehab. treatment for three months, and you stay here. Otherwise if you don’t decide to do that, then you’re going. Then you’re out today. Do you understand? They can help you.  Someone can help you in rehab. And unless you’re going to accept that, then you’re out on the streets today. Do you understand? Are you agreeing to that. He’s nodding his head. He’s agreeing.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: He’s prepared to go into rehab.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Well on the day that Jill’s son was due to go into rehab. surprise surprise he changed his mind. Jill says that she just can’t get through to him. (TAPE)
JILL: There’s no-one that he’ll listen to. That’s the other thing, He won’t listen to anybody. There’s nobody in the family. Even my brother’s tried talking to him. He had him working with him for while he taught him to do painting and decorating. And he can’t get through to him either. There’s nobody that can get through to my son. Nobody. And they say that most drug users do realise that it’s not till they get help that they really realise they needed it.
JILL: And he’s got to get to that point. And it’s not happened yet.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: I know it’s really tough what you have done in terms of making that break from him.
JILL: Mmm.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: But I do think in the long run that will actually speed up the process of him finally realising he needs help.
JILL: Yeah.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Because let’s face it, he’s not going to stay with this mate for long, is he?
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Because he’s either .. something’s going to go wrong ..
JILL: Yes.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: .. or something won’t work out. The mate will get rid of him. And he needs to get to that point ..
JILL: Yes.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: .. of sitting there, in the gutter, looking at himself.
JILL: Yes.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: And thinking, I need to change this. I don’t want this for my life. And at the moment, while people keep putting up with his bad behaviour, and giving him somewhere to sleep, food on the table, while he can then go and spend all of his money that he’s receiving on drugs ..
JILL: Yes.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: He’s not going to change, is he?
JILL: No. He’s basically just going to be a drifter, and a loser, basically. He’s just going to drift in and out of life, hanging on to one person to help him out. And then they’ll drop him, and then that’s what .. it’s awful to think that your son is going to have .. you can foresee his future. He’s going to be nothing and nobody. And that’s what’s so upsetting. Really. (WEEPS) It’s so upsetting.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Jill, listen, I want you to keep in touch with me. I’m going to catch up with you next week. I’m not going to go away on this.
JILL: Yes.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: One way or the other, we’re going to sort your son out. (LIVE)
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Well saying that Jil’s son was addicted to cannabis prompted a bit of a debate on Twitter. There seemed to be disagreement on whether you can be addicted to cannabis. There’s research to say that it may not be a physical addiction, but you can have an emotional addiction to cannabis. I also received an email from Peter Reynolds from Cannabis Law Reform. Now he was concerned that we were showing cannabis in a negative light. And he felt that as the head of a political party that wants to change the laws governing its use, he wanted to have the opportunity to put the other side of the story forward. .. Peter Reynolds is with me now. Good morning Peter.
PETER REYNOLDS: Good morning Jonathan.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Anything good about cannabis?
PETER REYNOLDS: There’s lots and lots of things good about cannabis. It’s one of natures’s or God’s greatest gifts to mankind. The first thing to say is that obviously Jill, and her son Martin, are in the middle of a family tragedy. And while I have enormous sympathy for them ..
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Caused by cannabis and his addiction to it.
PETER REYNOLDS: .. and quite quite clearly cannabis is not a good thing for Martin. But there are millions of people in Britain who use cannabis for a variety of reasons, some of whom will use it for medicinal reasons, where it transforms their lives. It rescues them from pain, disability and suffering, in a safe and effective way that no other medicine can. I think the important thing to do is to give you some facts. Ok? First of all, addiction is not a word that is used by doctors these days. The word they use is dependence. And it is true that cannabis does produce a mild dependency in about 9% of users. And that’s almost exactly the same number ..
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Mild dependency. This is a man who has chosen cannabis over his wife, over his son, over his mum, over his dad, over everybody. Over his life, he’s chosen cannabis.
PETER REYNOLDS: An appalling story, and one feels terribly sorry for him and enormous sympathy for his family. You’re talking about an anecdote. And I have enormous sympathy for this one instance. But there are three million people in Britain who use cannabis at least once a week. In Britain we consume about three tons of cannabis every day. Ok? To put it in perspective again, Martin’s story is a tragedy, but in Britain, every year there are about 750 people admitted to hospital with behavioural problems relating to cannabis. There are about 3,000 people admitted to hospital every year for peanuts. That puts the thing in proper proportion. That’s not to say that every single one of those people admitted to hospital for cannabis is a tragedy, and every single one of those people admitted to hospital for peanuts is a tragedy. But we don’t go and spend millions, in fact half a billion pounds on police and law enforcement resources, trying to stamp out peanuts.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: So you make it sound as if Jill’s son is really a very isolated case.
PETER REYNOLDS: Well he is, and I’ve just given you figures to support that. I can give you some more figures.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: So there won’t be people listening to my programme who have in their families also witnessed the devastating effect that cannabis can have.
PETER REYNOLDS: Well there may be. There may be. But there will be many more people who will witness the positive effects that cannabis can have.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: OK. Well let’s .. you’ve just spouted some statistics on the programme. What about the other statistics of the number of people for whom .. become completely involved with much harder drugs like cocaine, like heroin, like ecstasy, of which cannabis is the gateway drug.
PETER REYNOLDS: Well the gateway theory is a theory that’s been around for something like about 75 years, and it’s been disproved time and time again. And the Government’s expert committee, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, in their latest report into cannabis in 2008, said there was no evidence to show that the gateway theory is a valid theory. It’s just as valid to say that the first substance people took was mothers’ milk, and therefore all those people who took mothers’ milk moved on to use cannabis, and moved on to use alcohol, and moved on to use heroin. It’s a fallacious argument.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: A lot of people have said, on programmes I have done over the years, that cannabis used to be better than it is now. And one of the major problems is the fact that the type of cannabis that is being sold, and the type of cannabis that people are smoking, it’s a much stronger form than ever before. And that is why we are now seeing the number of people who are being psychologically affected by the use of cannabis increasing so enormously.
PETER REYNOLDS: Well first of all, the last point you made is simply not true Jonathan. There isn’t a massive increase in the number of people being psychologically affected by cannabis. I’ve just given you the statistics, and if you look on the NHS database about the number of people admitted to hospital, or to psychiatric institutions, the figure is stable. It’s not increasing at all.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Let me ask you a very direct question. Can you be addicted to cannabis?
PETER REYNOLDS: You can experience a dependency to cannabis. Addiction used to require .. Martin, from what you’re saying to me, from the evidence I hear from your show, Martin clearly is addicted to cannabis. Because addiction means that you require more and more of the substance to get the same effect, that you develop a tolerance to it, that you would experience withdrawal symptoms, physical withdrawal symptoms, and thirdly that it affects your life in such a way that you would put the normal everyday things of life like having a proper relationship with your family, behind using the drug. So those three criteria make up addiction, and it sounds like Martin is. But the fact of the matter is, as I say, most people, the vast majority of people who use cannabis, it’s a much much safer substance than alcohol ..
PETER REYNOLDS: It’s something like 80 to 100 times safer than alcohol, if you look at all the data. It’s something like 1000 times safer than tobacco. In terms of medicinal use, and this is where the real tragedy of this is,  that because of our ridiculous non-scientific based laws, people who need cannabis as medicine are denied it.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Well what I’m interested in as always on this programme, is people’s individual experiences. Let me put two of those experiences to you that’s come in on text while we’ve been talking. Ann in Luton says, ” My brother smoked cannabis from the age of 14 to 40. He now has a lung disease. He’s really suffering. Don’t tell me it’s any good.” says Ann. Gary texts in as well .. saying “Cannabis has destroyed my six year relationship. My girlfriend ended up with serious mental issues. I’m now with a wonderful new partner. My ex- has still got problems, 14 years on.” says Gary. These are real people texting in to talk about their experiences with this drug that you say has so many positives.
PETER REYNOLDS: There are many many positives to cannabis. I’m not saying there aren’t any negatives. Cannabis is a psychoactive substance. It’s an incredibly powerful medicine, therefore it has the potential for harm. But if you want to talk about policy, if you want to talk about practical steps as to what to do, then what you need to do is talk about a properly regulated system, where somebody of 14 years of age would find it a lot more difficult to get cannabis than they do at the moment.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: But then do we not add yet another drug to the number of legal drugs that are on the market that also have .. ? For example, if you would like cannabis to be more widely available, if you want it to be regulated ..
PETER REYNOLDS: I didn’t say I want it more widely available. The control and availability of it ..
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: So are you talking about decriminalisation?
PETER REYNOLDS: No I’m not talking about decriminalisation, because in a lot of ways that’s the worst possible argument.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Are you talking about legalisation?
PETER REYNOLDS: I’m talking about regulation, legal regulation.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: So ultimately, people being able to legally get hold of cannabis.
PETER REYNOLDS: Adults being able to go to a licensed outlet.
PETER REYNOLDS: And being able to purchase cannabis which is properly labelled, so they know what the contents of it is. Coming back to your point about modern cannabis, it’s true that there is more .. there’s a higher ratio of THC to CBD, the two principal ingredients in modern cannabis. And there’s a direct parallel to this with alcohol prohibition in the US. When alcohol became prohibited in the US, gradually the market moved to higher and higher strengths of alcohol hooch as it’s famously known. Because that’s what illegality does. When you make something illegal, you prohibit something, and the cost goes up, criminals become more and more interested in it.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: And that’s the point, isn’t it? That even if it were legally available, people would still want to get hold of the strongest stuff.
PETER REYNOLDS: That’s exactly what doesn’t happen. What happened in the US when alcohol prohibition was ended was hooch went, and people went back to drinking beer and wine. Because the market finds its own level. When something is prohibited, and criminals are involved, inevitably they move towards trying to make stronger and stronger varieties of it.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: So as far as you’re concerned, it is all good. It is all positive.
PETER REYNOLDS: No that’s exactly what I didn’t say, did I? I did not say that at all. I said there are dangers in cannabis, as there are dangers in any substance. And particularly there are dangers in it for young people. And what we need in order to protect young people and the vulnerable is a regulated system, where .. if you go to a .. we need to take the dealers off the streets. The only ID that a dealer asks for from a 14 year old is a £20 note. What we need is a situation where adults can go and buy cannabis from a licensed retailer, and the cannabis will be labelled with the contents of THC and CBD available.
PETER REYNOLDS: And of somebody does have a problem with it, because it’s not illegal and prohibited, they’ll be able to go and find help about it.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Peter, let me bring Ali in Hemel into the conversation. Morning to you Ali.
ALI FROM HEMEL: Morning. How you guy’s doing alright?
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Yeah. What would you like to say Ali?
ALI FROM HEMEL: Well firstly I’d like to say about the lady that called in about her child dependent on cannabis. I just wanted to make a point is when people use cannabis at a more younger age, they can have a different effect on them, whereas if there’s someone with mentally more mature, for example over the age of 18, it has different effects on them on their mind.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: How do you know this?>
ALI FROM HEMEL: Well, when I used to be a student, when you’re a student you delve into .. you have a little party, someone has it there, they pass it to you, you try it. So when I was a student, I did try it. Yes.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Has that had any negative effect on you?
ALI FROM HEMEL: Well not really. You get a little bit of giggles. You might get the munchies afterwards. But apart from that, nothing really. I just wanted to say, there’s a lot of things cannabis has benefits with. For example, it tackles anxiety. It tackles stress. It tackles depression.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Yes but a lot of .. and I wonder whether Peter you can address this point .. because when I was at university, there were a couple of guys on my halls of residence who smoked cannabis all day long. And to be absolutely honest, yes they didn’t have any anxiety at all.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: They hardly had any brain cells to be honest. All they ever used to do is walk around (MIMICS) talking like this.
PETER REYNOLDS: The thing you’re saying about brain cells is classic disinformation and propaganda.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: No it’s not propaganda. it’s my experience of seeing how two guys’ personality was completely changed because of a drug.
PETER REYNOLDS: Listen, if somebody sits around and smokes cannabis all day, it’s not going to do them any good. If somebody sits around and plays computer games it’s not going to do them any good. If somebody sits around and does alcohol all day, it’s not going to do them any good. If somebody sits around and drinks coffee all day it’s not going to do them any good. But cannabis, or the endocannabinoid system, is directly implicated in neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells in the hippocampus. Cannabis does not kill brain cells. Cannabis stimulates the production of new brain cells.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: I would love .. I can’t even remember the guys’ names.
PETER REYNOLDS: If you’d like me to, when I get off the phone, I’ll send you the link to a number of scientific studies proving that.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Well I’d love to just try and get hold of the two guys that I lived with at university, and speak to them now. And I wonder whether their brain cells are vibrant and whether they’re full of intelligence now.
PETER REYNOLDS: Well I don’t know. Anybody who sits around and smokes cannabis all day while they’re at university and supposed to be studying is not really following a very sensible path, are they?
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: OK. Ali, thank you for your call. Let’s bring John in Buckinghamshire in. Hi John.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Hello. Is there anything good about cannabis John?
JOHN IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE: no. It’s wrecked lives. It’s wrecked the lives of my nephew. Even his drug dealer had him commit crime. He ended up in prison. All kinds of stuff that’s just horrible. And he was stealing. He stole from everybody. I wanted to blow a hole in this little argument about prohibition. You see, when people smoke cannabis or any other drug, they get a high. And they get a high that you can never achieve naturally. And so they’re always chasing that high. And that’s the reason why they’re always taking more and more. Because every time they get up to the .. they try to get that high again, they can never quite reach it. And so it perpetuates again and again and again. Unlike alcohol, where you take alcohol probably because you’re sad or you start off perhaps wanting to just have it for a bit of fun and it’s harmless, whwn you overdo that, you’re just looking to forget things. With drugs, you’re seeking a high.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Peter, you don’t agree?
PETER REYNOLDS: Not at all. No. Apologies to John, was it?
PETER REYNOLDS: Well, I mean. What nonsense. Alcohol is an enormously damaging substance. It’s inherently poisonous to the body. People use it for whatever reason they choose, a relaxant or whatever. The two things are like comparing chalk and cheese. Alcohol is a poison. Cannabis ..
JOHN IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE: Well don’t compare them then. You’re the one who compared them and said, oh, it’s just prohibition. It’s not prohibition at all. It’s really simple. When people take drugs, they screw them up, they make them paranoid. When people take .. I’ve got two nephews who took this, and every time they’re on it, you knew, because they were completely paranoid.
PETER REYNOLDS: These are anecdotes.
JOHN IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE: They’re not anecdotes.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Peter you don’t seem to want to hear the real experiences from real people that have been affacted by cannabis. All you want to do is talk about statistics and say, well statistically all these people are taking it and having a lovely old time.
PETER REYNOLDS: No, that’s not what I said at all. Clearly, if one’s talking about policy, or what one can do about those very few people who do fall .. who are vulnerable in some way or another to cannabis, if you want to talk about policy then you have to talk about it on a rational basis.
JOHN IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE: Yes. There’s a rational .. go and look at Holland. Go and look at Holland. If you really want to do it that much, go over there and let everybody else try and get their kids to stop stealing. We had a guy on Three Counties last week who’s poor mother was trying to get him into rehab. And he was stealing from her. I just thought it was absolute mirror .. (?)
PETER REYNOLDS: Anecdote doesn’t make ..
JOHN IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE: Anecdotes! What do you mean? These are people’s lives.
PETER REYNOLDS: I know they are.
JOHN IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE: You dismiss them and call them anecdotes. They’re people’s lives. The people they stole from. The jobs that they lost.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Go on Peter. You respond.
PETER REYNOLDS: Am I on the BBC, or am I on Daily Mail Radio?
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: No, no, Peter. You’ve had 22 minutes so far for you to be able to have your say. So I don’t think in any way you can try and argue you’re not having an opportunity to have your say.
PETER REYNOLDS: I’m not arguing that at all. But to take from tragic individual stories, and extend those into massive generalisations, when there are millions of people using cannabis extremely safely, and extremely effectively. Archeological studies now show that we’ve been using cannabis as a psychoactive substance and as a relaxant for 27,000 years.
PETER REYNOLDS: It’s only in the last 80 years that cannabis has been prohibited.
JOHN IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE: I didn’t know we’d been keeping records for 27,000 years on cannabis. It’s amazing, isn’t it. I guess you believe everything you read on the internet as well, don’t you?
JOHN IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE: I guess you believe everything you read on the internet. (INDISTINCT) .. publish there, just for the hell of it.
PETER REYNOLDS: Well I think I must be on Daily Mail Radio now. What I’m talking to you about is peer-reviewed scientific studies. And I suggest what you need to do, if you want to make this debate coherent and sensible, is you need to look at evidence.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: OK. John, thank you very much indeed for making your point. And I do assure you Peter, this is the BBC.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Let’s bring Andy in Bedford in. Hi Andy.
ANDY IN BEDFORD: Morning Jonathan.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Hello. You’re through to both of us. What point would you like to make?
ANDY IN BEDFORD: I’m undecided on the whole thing. I’ve seen a friend suffer psychosis. He was a heavy cannabis user. I actually met him when I was in a psychiatric unit myself, and he blamed much of his psychosis on cannabis. And I believe there’s some evidence to suggest that some people may be genetically predisposed to develop a psychosis if they smoke cannabis. But on the other hand, my late wife was an oncology nurse. In the States they have a medicine derived from cannabis for appetite .. that stimulates cannabis (cancer?) patients appetite again. So recreationally or irresponsibly used it could be a bad thing, but then again. like many dangerous plants, psychoactive plants, we can derive life-saving or life-altering medicines from it.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: OK. But do you want a .. are you talking then Peter about cannabis being turned into a tablet that is given to people on prescription by a doctor? Or are you talking about people going out and buying a little bag of what looks like mixed spice, and then putting it in some form of cigarette?
PETER REYNOLDS: Well there’s two different things here, aren’t there? There’s recreational use, responsible recreational use by adults, and there’s medicinal use. Cannabis is already available on prescription in this country. It’s called Sativex. The myth that is promoted is that Sativex is an extract of two particular components of cannabis. That’s not true. And if you speak to GWPharma which is the pharmaceutical company involved, they’ll confirm that. The problem is that Sativex is sold to the NHS at ten times the price that cannabis is available on the streets. And that means that many PCTs are simply not prepared to pay for it. And one of the huge injustices that is going on in this country at the moment is the people who are being prescribed Sativex by their doctor, and who’s PCT is refusing to pay for it, these people are growing themselves a few plants in their greenhouse, or under lights in their loft and whatever. And they’re being arrested and sent to jail.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Andy, thank you very much indeed for your call. I just want to put this text that’s come in from someone. Sadly it’s anonymous, which is a bit unfair really, because it is having a bit of a go at you, but I’ll read it anyway. It says “My 16 year old son has been smoking cannabis for two years. He is withdrawn and short-fused. He steals because he can’t be bothered to work. He sits around his friends’ houses. They get completely out of their faces. Because my husband and I refuse to let him smoke it in our house he ran away for three days. This happened three times before he moved in with his friend, and refused to come back. In my opinion, cannabis destroyed the good relationship I had with my son. He won’t give it up, because of idiots like Peter who sit and promote it.” says this angry anonymous texter.
PETER REYNOLDS: Well again clearly this anonymous texter is going through a family difficulty. But many people go through family difficulties with teenagers of that age. Teenagers shouldn’t be using cannabis. And the sooner we get the dealers off the streets, and introduce a regulated system where it’s available to adults only, then the sooner we’ll be able to do some more to protect our children and protect vulnerable people.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Got some more emails that are coming through as well on this. Jim says, “My son is on cannabis and has been for about 20 years. He’s paranoid. You can’t tell him anything. Even his daughter is about to fall out with him. It’s all because of the cannabis.” says Jim. I know you keep talking about, well these are all anecdotes. These are my listeners who are contacting the programme.
PETER REYNOLDS: I’m not denying the difficulty or the truth of what these people are saying at all. What I’m trying to put to you is a more rational more scientifically based more sensible policy, which would help to minimise that. You mentioned Holland earlier. Let me tell you a fact about Holland that may surprise you. in Europe, Holland as you know has something of a sort of regulated system for cannabis, where basically adults can buy up to five grams from a coffee shop. Holland has the highest age at first use in Europe. So in other words, children if you like are older in Holland before they try cannabis than anywhere else in Europe. And Britain has one of the lowest ages of first use. Part of that I think is due to the forbidden fruit argument, but a lot of it is due to the fact that the supply of cannabis is controlled by criminals. And criminals, as I said earlier, don’t care how old their customer is. As long as they’ve got the £20 note, or whatever it is, they’ll sell them the cannabis.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Listen Peter, you’ve come in for a lot of criticism in this half-hour. And I want to finish on something that’s in support of you. From Sean who says, ” JVS, legalise cannabis in the UK. Cannabis is good. It’s a plant. It was here before drink. Some people can handle it, some people can’t. I’ve been smoking it for about four or five years. I’m fine. I’ve never been ill. I still live my life. And I know people who’ve been smoking it for years. Look, it can’t be that bad, if other countries use it.” says someone who is in complete support. Peter, I hope you feel you’ve had your say.
PETER REYNOLDS: I do. I’m very grateful to you for giving me the time.
JONATHAN VERNON-SMITH: Thank you very much indeed for joining me on the programme this morning. There’s Peter Reynolds, who’s from the Cannabis Law Reform.


38 thoughts on “The BBC Cannabis Debate with Peter Reynolds”

  1. heard this radio piece recently, but this has reminded me off it and allowed me the chance to comment on it.
    Jesus! john, how do you expect your nephew or whatever to act when hes high if he knows the ridiculous social stigma you associate with it, im pretty certain hed act just as paranoid if he wasnt high, but learned that you had found out he had smoked weed, your one of the suppressed and brainwashed masses of the last generation; try not to rage or get mad, you can still change, open your mind and realise, please, dont turn to drink or let the drink make you confused and then violent.

    Leading me onto your stupid attempt and trying to reason with when and why people drink alcohol and how everyone drinks alcohol responsibly. I dont know what part of britain you live in or which fancy little place you hide away from the world, in, but through out britain, and a lot of the world, there is a massive problem drinking culture; leading to violence, riots, to name but a few of the more major things alcohol so strongly fuels.

    Sorry, i let that sound a tiny bit patronising at one point, but again try not to get ‘paranoid’ (oh yeah drinks ilegal you have nothing to worry about, and theres no one with ridiculous, strong views on something they have never tried and clearly dont have that mindset, which is more than fair enough. As i was saying, you dont have a peer judging you and telling you what you can and cant do based on their un-knowledgeable reasoning).

    Thats all for now, john your fin idiot.

  2. End prohibition now! Legalize cannabis! It has been safely, legally used by humanity for *millenia*, and only the recent 100-year criminalization of it has resulted in bloodshed and hardship! The plant itself is innocent. Thanks to Peter for being so brave as to put up with this ignorant hysterical purveyor of propaganda.

    Some of the callers try to claim it is “marijuana” that caused all these problems. This is a massive assumption, for which there is no evidence at all. Sounds to me like the families’ problems stem from their own hysterical over-reaction, and in a more general sense, the prohibition. If cannabis did not cost as much as gold due to being prohibited, it would cost as little as carrots or any other naturally growing plant. Thus, no financial hardship would result in using cannabis, if it were not illegal. If these reactionary parents had not threatened their offspring with abandonment over his use of a natural and *relatively* harmless herb, maybe he’d still be living with them today. Constantly claiming that “these are peoples’ real lives” does not change the fact that they are anecdotes, and that the people in question are causing their own problems by their overreactions.

  3. Mr Reynolds makes some good points about cannabis vs alcohol and there is a lot more can be said about cannabis vs prescription pharmaceuticals many of which are certainly abused and far more deadly.

    I think he could be one good voice amongst many calling for cannabis law reform but he really should not serve as an “expert” or “leader” because of exactly what is pointed out on those links from LukeHennesy in these comments.

    btw @LukeHennesy I understand that Reynolds pledged to step down as leader of CLEAR. He has one week to get about nine times more paid members than the party has now. It’s in the video at this link: scroll down to near the bottom.

  4. If you listen to the call, the caller John isn’t happy at all talking about his “nephew”, he mumbles and bumbles and wants to change subject quickly to his strange nonsensical stuff about “chasing the high” which he’s incredibly happy talking about that (why people don’t chase a “high” with a far stronger drug of alcohol is beyond his theory). That’s very telling – someone who isn’t comfortable talking about something like that usually means they are being deceitful in some way.

    Then later in the piece one “nephew” becomes two! What? Why did he keep quiet about knowing two nephews at first? Did he want to go easy on cannabis? Funny it sounds like he is completely against it.

    Changing the subject and then his story – this caller John doesn’t exactly sound the truthful type I’m afraid.

    That’s what positive change is up against I’m afraid, people willing to distort or even completely lie to back up their viewpoint. That clearly isn’t an adult or even honest way of debating the subject – that’s making society a far worse place it needs to be by pushing total ignorance.

  5. Stella and Luke – you people genuinely purport to represent the cannabis community, but you still have nothing better to do than try and damage a successful ongoing campaign. Jeez – get a life please, everyone in the cannabis community has gone past annoyance with you, they are now on pity. Go out today, perhaps go for a walk, read a nice book, do some crochet or embroidery work, anything but this sad sorry existence you are continuing.

    You are being completely selfish to normal nice people – the vast majority of the cannabis community in fact – everyone would just like you to stop, because it isn’t pleasant what you are doing, it’s actually despicable.

    Sorry, but that’s just the absolute truth. Please find something else to spend your time – the cannabis community is asking extremely politely for you to just get a life and do something else.

  6. I’m afraid the argument put forward by Peter Reynolds is totally unworkable, how can he unite people when he is obviously so decisive?

    3 or is it 4 Eexutive members have left since Christmas? and all the MP’s that stopped supporting him due to his views

    The dopefiend podcasts are very informative

  7. I hope that nobody thinks this Peter Reynolds represents the average cannabis user in the UK – one minute he’s saying it’s God-given but he is actually advocating license fees for people, to grow there own and tax on supply to adults – it it is such a beneficial and medically sound plant, why on earth tax it – why drive up the prices – we can see what happened when prices are driven artificially high through taxation – a boost to smuggling and illicit sales.

    What Reynolds and the Government need to wake up to is our RIGHTS – our Right to believe and practice what we want, our Right to a Private Life. That is what he ought to be campaigning for, not campaigning to make cannabis growers and users pay.

    Full legalisation with consumer protected supply and tax on profits – it must be much better than the present system which fails to protect people – remember all the problems associated with cannabis use are happening under prohibition and it is a fact that countries with greater tolerance have less problems.

    Reynolds ought to be ashamed of himself for claiming that he has the interests of users at heart – I have read his racist and anti-gay comments on his blogs – why on earth is he leading the cannabis party?

  8. Mr Thomas; they are informative if you are a cowardly goon with only one reason to get up in a morning. That reason being hate.

    If you are a normal person, incredibly pleased with the huge strides now clearly happening for change under Peter Reynold’s leadership of CLEAR, then they are a complete insult to the hard honest work you are putting in yourself for CLEAR and cannabis law change. To those vast numbers of normal people, the podcasts then are just hate filled silly crap that are having a detrimental effect on the positive change they are campaigning for.

    Why would you be so rude and inconsiderate to normal nice people up and down the country campaigning for change?

    Why can’t you people just campaign yourselves? You’ve apparently been doing it for a “long time” already. In that long time you’ve achieved………..I don’t know actually, what have you all achieved? Why are you no longer campaigning for change to the cannabis laws? Why are you instead spending all your time spreading hate against an organisation who are actively campaigning for positive change?

    It’s a lovely day, I’d love to be out but I’m working. If you can, get yourself outside and enjoy the sun. Spending day after day after day spreading hate can’t be good for your soul.

  9. Alun Buffry – he’s leading it because he was democratically elected.

    What is your cannabis campaign Alun? Do you have one? Why are you actively campaigning against a successful one?

    The irony is you are the one who should therefore be ashamed Alun Buffry. Very very ashamed. What you are doing is despicable – nothing less. Your clique might justify it as OK to you, but it isn’t, not by a long long long chalk.

    People just want change Alun Buffry. Why are you actively trying to stop that? What have you got against millions of normal nice people up and down the country Alun Buffry? What have they done to you that you would act so despicably against them?


  11. Jack Herer, you know you shouldn’t be using the computer for this when you are at work, so please leave it until you get home or I will have to inform the college that you are ‘at it again’

    Peter Reynolds had 17 MP’s drop him from facebook over his remarks on race and gender in his blog, Paul Flynn included, so how is that helping ?

  12. Mr Thomas, I already work from home. I have been on the phone with the boss of my entire company this morning as it happens though. We speak quite often – he is my direct boss, we are good friends. It is a multi million pound company. My counterpart from sales was in Milan Wed/Thurs/Fri last week for a conference. I expect he probably had very long lunches with potential clients, I expect he probably also worked very late at night.

    When you get to a certain level within a fair sized company, you are given certain privileges that come with responsibility. The privilege is that no one is looking over your shoulder, the responsibility is that you work hard when you need to. My boss is happy with me for the hard work I constantly produce. I’m know he views me as one of the lynch pins of the firm.

    I don’t work for a “college”, I work for a successful company.

  13. Of course you do Derek, there’s no harm in it being reported to the college then if it isn’t you?.

    Also I notice you yet again ignore the question of the MP’s and Mr Paul Flynn distancing themselves from Peter Reynolds over his views on race and gender?.

  14. @Jack Herer, why do you say a person is against the cannabis community, if they question the leadership and tactics of Peter Reynolds?

    I never claimed to “represent the cannabis community,” but Peter Reynolds does make that claim.

    The fact is, Peter Reynolds =/= CLEAR =/= The Cannabis Community.

    As for time wasted when one could be taking nature walks or embroidering, you and Peter Reynolds himself are wasting a great deal of time insulting and banning people who speak out against his leadership.

    I hear that CLEAR is a democratically-run organisation. I would like to see that democracy in action, but instead I have seen members attacked and insulted and their memberships revoked when they dared voice their opinions. Shame.

    If CLEAR is a “successful ongoing campaign,” now, think what it could do if it could retain members, being responsive to their valid concerns instead of alienating and banning them.

  15. Derek (or should I call you Jack?), what do you think about this? Are you going to put your name to it too, or will you devoutly stand against your dear beloved leader?

    In view of the detrimental controversy surrounding remarks made by Peter Reynolds and his dictatorial leadership style, we feel it would be in the best interests of CLEAR for Peter Reynolds to stand down as leader. Therefore we propose a vote of no confidence in Peter Reynolds and further propose an interim leader(s) should be appointed by the Executive and ballot of the membership should be called to appoint a new Executive and leader as soon as possible.

    Proposed by Chris Bovey
    Seconded by Greg de Hoedt

  16. Poof. I was gone. Working if truth be told.

    Mr Thomas & Freddy; whilst there is no denying that it does amuse me when you claim I am someone else, it’s disgusting that you use it to justify your continued despicable hate filled smear campaign.

    I am not Peter Reynolds. I am not Derek Williams.

    Are they from Blackburn? I am, and it’s fair to say I had a very misspent youth growing up in the town. I had an active part in the warehouse parties that took place there in the late 80’s; a little known but crucial early part of the acid house revolution. Our parties were legendary. No other town had it like Blackburn, no where, not in the whole country. We did nothing less than change the world and we were all under 25. Look up high on hope on Google.

    I don’t know if Derek was there too but I’d be surprised. No disrepect to Derek but he just doesn’t look the type to be facing off riot police to throw a party.

    Here I am last year extolling the hooligan passifying qualities of both the parties and ecstasy on my local paper. I can’t have faked it, those dates are set in stone:

    I am not Derek, therefore it is wrong for you to justify your continued sick smear campaign on the basis of it. I am just a member of CLEAR trying, like the rest of CLEAR, to just change the world for the better. Therefore, in your all encompassing sick drive to attack Peter Reynolds, you are attacking normal people and a campaign they passionately believe in.

    Why not just stop eh. We’re doing al right here. The world is going to get changed. We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again!

  17. Stella, why do I say a person is against the cannabis community, if they question the leadership and tactics of Peter Reynolds?

    I didn’t. I have nothing against questioning the tactics and comments made by any CLEAR members – no-one does. But a hate filled smear campaign isn’t that -it’s a hate filled smear campaign and it’s disgusting.

    By continuing a sole campaign to personally attack the leader of CLEAR publicly, you are attacking the CLEAR campaign, and therefore you are damaging and attacking those members of CLEAR who are campaigning for it. I don’t see anyone representing the cannabis community like CLEAR. It’s why I joined and campaign for them. Therefore you are attacking the cannabis community at large because you are attacking by far the best hope for positive change on their behalf.

    If you want to be a part of CLEAR and have legitimate issues against policy, raise them on the forum, they can be discussed and debated between adults. No one will mind. Don’t go round doing the things you are doing – it’s disgusting and it’s attacking CLEAR, it’s members in general, and the hopes of the cannabis community at large.

    One thing I will say is this as well. This comment warrior won’t be campaigning for CLEAR if Peter is ousted in any kind of underhand way. You are clearly attempting to oust Peter in an underhand way and so you would certainly say sayonara to this supporter if you succeed. Although I can’t speak for the other comment warriors, I’d hazard a guess that many felt the same way. I’d certainly take a vote to check if you want that facet of CLEAR to continue.

    You might not think we are much, but we are doing all right. I’ve been doing this for years and years, long before CLEAR came into existence, long before I knew about Peter or Derek and there really hasn’t been much change over the years. For some reason recently though I’ve been seeing real amazing change where local papers are waking up and saying very positive things – and big fish are taking note of little papers. I’d like to think CLEAR’s comment warriors played a little part in that.

    Think about what you are doing therefore. Go and start your own campaign, this one is doing all right thanks. Leave it alone with your hate, it isn’t welcome.

  18. Actually, Jack Herer was a well known cannabis activist from the USA who is now deceased. Many people write under the pseudonym Jack Herer to discuss the subject of drugs and you could have pulled up any article from anywhere in the world, and claim that you are from that place.

    Tip: Change your writing style when using sock puppet accounts

  19. “Actually” – go and look on that website, I’ve just posted “Hello Actually!” (twice in my haste!) on a story about a “Backstreet Boys” party – whatever that is – in “Accy” which had no comments (I’ve just noticed a story about cannabis as well which I’ve not commented on yet, no-one has, the locals will expect me to first – we had a great debate the other week where someone from Darwen claimed cannabis turned you into a lizard!)

    Try and start an account on the LET website with my name “Jack Herer”. You can’t, there can only be one account with that name. It’s mine. I’ve been using it for years, long before I joined CLEAR.

    I’ve never come across anyone else in the UK who campaigns under the name Jack Herer. If you see the great man’s name anywhere in the country online, it’s almost certainly me. I certainly have a monopoly already on pretty much every local paper site in the UK!

    Therefore re-read what I have posted. I am telling the truth unfortunately.

  20. The clear website is down and all details have been taken, membership details, log in etc, what’s going on Jack? Has Peter rigged this to cover himself?

  21. No Peter hasn’t rigged this to cover himself. It appears to have been done by the same sorry set who have been doing despicable things for so long. Pathetic and disgusting is the only way to describe them.

  22. Two executive members propose that clear has a democratic leader and they are dismissed, that party is in a clear crisis, if this is how Peter Reynolds runs a party then there is no chance of him running an effective campaign

    I can see why he’s hanging on, he’s failed at everything he’s ever tried, business failed, bankrupt, etc this is his last chance to ‘be somebody’ it is very sad but his extreme views make him unsupportable

    Derek has been reported to the college hierarchy for the misuse of computer equipment so hopefully he’ll be stopped

    I see the clear facebook page have taken the link to this article down, how pathetic they are

  23. Do you honestly think I’m still Derek with your silly and spiteful reporting to “college” comment? Do you want my username for the Blackburn Rovers’ fans website? I can post a message for you there as well if you want. Why would Derek have any interest in Rovers? Is a big football head? Does he have a season ticket for Blackburn?

    Look you numpty, I’m me, get over that and get used to the fact that you are insulting a real person, a member of CLEAR, who isn’t Derek or Peter.

    Why can’t you just go away and start your own campaign instead of constantly attacking CLEAR? It’s obscene and it’s disgusting constantly doing what you are.

    You are the ones who are completely pathetic, everyone can see that apart from your bitter little clique.

  24. You getting ratty Jack? I saw all your bluster over claims of hacking and it happened to be Derek the computer whizz messing up a simple plugin install lol

    Not very professional but then clear isn’t is it lol You really expect us to support them when they can’t even update their website without it crashing

    I bet them 17 MP’s are glad they dumped him, Reynolds & Williams, more like Laurel & Hardy

  25. No I don’t expect you to support them. I’m sincerely hoping you don’t support them. I’m sincerely hoping you just go away.

    Why won’t you? Everyone wants you to. Why do you keep hanging round CLEAR? It’s so sad it’s bizarre.

    My bluster wasn’t about the website going down, it’s always been about your continued and disgusting campaign.

    Why are still hanging round CLEAR? Why – I’m genuinely confused? If it’s so wrong why aren’t you starting your own campaign? You have this huge amount of these amazing activists so you should be quid’s in.

    Why are you more interested in spoiling other people’s fun and constantly attempting to derail CLEAR? Are you man enough to answer that?

  26. It may be worth looking at the .htaccess file. Maybe something has written something in there. Or possibly, as you say, a plugin has misbehaved. It will get sorted out no doubt. It’s quite a job keeping a WordPress install happy.

  27. Why would you jeopardise a man’s job for your own sick petty ends? Why would you do that to someone? Do you know it’s rare to come across people as selfish and horrible as you? Do you have no shame?

    I could come out with more but I genuinely don’t want to be hate filled like you.

    Derek – you can contact me via Facebook or the CLEAR forum – I will gladly email / phone anyone you would like me to (under my real name) to prove that it wasn’t you posting, it was me.

  28. maximus – how can you justify what you have done?

    Do you think I am still Derek? I’d be nuts crazy if I was Derek, still posting, after you had just reported him. I’m very clearly not Derek therefore.

    Are you man enough to defend your actions maximus? A better name for you surely would be minimus.

  29. I’ve just been shown this thread and would like to state that I am not the “Jack Herer” who posted above, although I am that Derek.

    For the record Peter Reynolds did a splendid job of getting his point across in that programme – I did hear the original – although I would take issue with his claim of how long cannabis has been used. The earliest recorded use of cannabis was only around 4,700 years ago (pharmacopoeia of Shen Nung, one of the fathers of Chinese medicine). There’s really no need to over egg the hashcake, Peter.

  30. Hahahaha,you are a one eh Derek…ooops Jack, sorry Derek, I am sure a psychologist could write a thesis on such a multi-personality disorder…

  31. The latest from Norwich is that it was Peter who took down the CLEAR website, he was trying to remove admin priviligies from an Executive Member who’d seen the light and couldn’t work with Reynolds anymore (well done Chris) During this attempt (after a little drink) he messed it up and crashed the site and is blaming all and sundry with false claims of hacking

    Peter says hacking or was it his incompetence?

    Derek, don’t try and sort out Peter’s mess from work because you may have got away with it recently 🙂 but we are watching, weekends and evenings are fine as long as you do it on your own time

  32. Jack Herer/Peter/Derek is losing the plot and seems to have ‘turds’ on the brain, Jack, Peter and Derek do need flushing so he is at least right on that score

    Stop trying to derail the topic Jack/Peter/Derek, it is obvious that only Jack/Peter/Derek thinks that CLEAR is doing a good job

    Mr EDITOR which allegations are you claiming are unfounded? I can prove them all and will happily do so,

  33. Cheers Editor

    Because if it was about (redacted) then I can prove them all and will be happy to do so. or was it about the MP’s dumping him or the Executive Members resigning?

    Sorry just curious 🙂

  34. This seems to be a constitutional issue within the organisation. I don’t think that can be solved by rehashing (!) old arguments. Is there a clause within the articles of CLEAR that allows this to be settled amicably? If it’s a case of members being locked out of the website, then why not use this space to conduct the debate you would have conducted there? That can’t surely consist merely of slinging mud in the hope that some of it will stick. I am confident that if you maintain a semblance of decorum, then all parties will feel more inclined to join together to work in the best interests of the movement.

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