It is now commonly known that cannabis was unfairly vilified and ultimately prohibited, based on ideological, illogical and racist reasoning for the benefit of corporate interests
(especially the pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries).
This led to the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act in the US, the Schedule 1 Status within the 1961 UN Drug Convention and ultimately the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act in the UK.
There has never been any convincing scientific evidence of physical, mental or social harm from cannabis use, to justify prohibition.
Alcohol and tobacco are considered to be traditional drugs.
The use of Alcohol and tobacco results in approximately 90% of all drug related deaths yet there is not one recorded death in history of toxicological mortality from the responsible natural consumption of cannabis.
Alcohol also causes a great deal of social harm due to its propensity for violence in the home and in public spaces not to mention the significant escalating costs to the NHS and Police force.
Moreover, cannabis has been used as a medicine for over 100 diseases for thousands of years.
The Police Federation advised in 2000, ‘Until 1973, tincture of cannabis had been available for medical use for over 100 years. In 1973, the medical use of cannabis was prohibited in the United Kingdom following a long decline in its use in favour of what were considered more reliable drugs.’
Up until November 2018, the Government have consistently claimed that cannabis has no therapeutic value, a statement at odds with its history in the pharmacopeia.
The Home Secretary and Drugs Ministers of the time were closely related to those financially benefitting from the development of cannabis-based medicines by GW Pharmaceuticals.
The lack of access to whole plant cannabis medicines despite announcement that medical cannabis was available, combined with pressure being placed on the CBD industry to eliminate ‘full spectrum’ products, indicates that corporate interests continue to place pressure on Governments to continue the prohibition of cannabis.
It is clearly no more harmful to health than coffee or sugar, substances that we are advised to use in moderation. It is not addictive and has clear medicinal use and so does not fit the criteria of a schedule 1 substance.
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) review of the classification of cannabis concluded that ‘the high use of cannabis is not associated with major health problems for the individual or society’, the criteria required by the MoDA. However, the ACMD report continued, ‘cannabis is not a harmless substance’ which would imply that any substance with a degree of possible harm could be prohibited. Putting aside the evident harms caused by substances such as alcohol, tobacco and caffeine, this would also surely include substances such as sugar?
To this day, the UK Government continue to declare that they have no intention of legalising cannabis and that they have clear scientific evidence that cannabis causes harm to physical and mental health and harm to society.
Following our assessment of available research (see our report), it is clear that there is not and never has been any scientific evidence to justify the prohibition of cannabis.
It is also clear the prohibition has caused serious harm to the physical, mental, societal and environmental aspects of our lives not to mention the damage caused to people’s freedoms, families and job prospects by having persecuted otherwise law-abiding citizens through the misuse of the existing criminal justice system for the past 50 years.