Home Affairs Committee - Drugs: Breaking the CycleWritten evidence submitted by Fraser Ross (DP095)

I am Fraser Ross, a 20 year old student studying Biomedical Sciences. I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the call for written evidence with regards to the Home Affairs Committee’s drug enquiry.

I feel the statement made in the Report of the Global Commission on Drugs Policy’s report in June 2011 is completely agreeable. This states that:

“The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and 40 years after President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed.”

No doubt you have familiarised yourself with this report so I will not quote this further.

I do however feel it is neccessary to provide the objectives and aims of CLEAR. These are:

1. To End the Prohibition of Cannabis

Prohibition is a failure that has cost our country countless sums of money and lives. It is brutal. It puts disregards the safety of people. The “war on drugs” has cost more deaths than any other war and will only continue to take the lives of otherwise innocent people. History has shown that prohibition creates far more problems than it solves, it allows criminals to gain a foothold in the lives of those who would never encounter them had there been no prohibition. In the 21st century we should expect far better solutions from our policy makers and governments.

2. To Promote as a Matter of Urgency and Compassion the Prescription of Medicinal Cannabis by Doctors

No reasonable human being can deny another relief from pain, suffering or disability. There is no rational argument against permitting access to medicinal cannabis for those who need it. The fact that the British government and the deeply rooted bureaucracy of the Home Office stand in the way is a deep and lasting shame on our nation.

3. To Introduce a System of Regulation for the Production and Supply of Cannabis based on Facts and Evidence

Authoritative research from the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit proves that a cannabis tax and regulate regime in Britain would produce a boost to the UK economy of at least £6 billion per annum, money that could be used in all areas of society. That’s based on a cannabis tax of £1 per gram, massive savings in law enforcement costs but allowing for the cost of administering the system and providing additional healthcare and education services. All the evidence point to the fact that, and experts agree, a responsibly regulated system would also reduce all health and social harms.

4. To Encourage the Production and Use of Industrial Hemp

The prohibition of cannabis has caused huge damage to our society, environment and economy by preventing the cultivation of hemp. Although the industrial strains of the plant have no psychoactive potential, the absurd level of control has effectively destroyed its value as an agricultural crop. With this we have lost the most efficient producer of biomass in the natural world, the strongest natural fibre known to man, a better fabric than cotton, a better paper than wood and one of the most ecologically important activities on the planet. Throughout history hemp has been used as a multi purpose textile and it has only been in recent times that we have cut ourselves off from such a beneficial plant.

5. To Educate and Inform about the Uses and Benefits of Cannabis

Prejudice is based on ignorance. In the case of cannabis there is also deliberate misinformation. It started with Randolph Hearst, the media, timber and oil magnate of the 1930s and it continues today with the vested interests of alcohol, tobacco, Big Pharma and, yes, media, timber and oil. The truth about cannabis is clear and we have to spread the truth in the face of ignorance and lies.

I must also add that probably the most important benefit of legalisation and regulation of cannabis is that we can keep our children safe from it. Regardless of ones age they can purchase cannabis from any dealer on the streets, all the need is the money to do so. This is by far the most dangerous aspect of cannabis (like any drug, alcohol included) because if a child is exposed to something at such an early stage of their life where the development of the body is so crucial to their future health it can only ever do more harm than good. By legalising and regulating cannabis we can put it in the same class as alcohol and cigarettes and keep them out of the hands of our children. The fact that Britain’s government can not seem to get this idea into their heads, I feel, says a lot about the people running this country and exactly where their interests lie.

Finally I’d like to finish with a quote from the 20th century most respected astrologist, Mr Carl Sagan:

“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to the full utilisation of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”

Prepared 8th December 2012