Cannabis

Scotland’s drug statistics are a call to arms for radical reform

Scotland was recently shown to have the highest drug death per capita of any other European country, with the rest of the UK having the fifth-highest.

This figure should be a wake-up call, to both the SNP in Scotland and to the Conservatives in Westminster. This needs to be met with a new, radical approach to tackling drug-related issues. That approach should start with two things. Decriminalisation and legalisation.

It is clear by now that the UK’s war on drugs have failed. Consumption is up, overdoses are up, and our prisons are filled with non-violent drug offenders. We cannot carry on with the same old policies and attitudes towards drug use. 

It's a real public health concern that drug consumption is largely blind, with prohibition meaning that consumers don't know compounds or potency

Rob Wilson, CEO

It is remarkable that in the UK today most people have no idea what is in the illicit drugs they take.  At one level, it is odd that people do not seem to care more about what they are putting into their body – after all there is a level of personal responsibility in all this. But it is also true that with drugs being illegal, it is not easy to find ways of verifying the content even if you wished to.

According to our Public Attitudes to Drugs in the UK 2019 report out today, most people end up using cannabis completely blindfolded.  Many are young people and it is akin to them going into a bar and randomly selecting a drink from a bottle with no label. The majority of cannabis users have no knowledge of the strains they’re consuming and the impact on them of the varying proportions of the compounds.  It’s dangerous not to know or understand exactly what you are ingesting with food, let along illicitly supplied drugs – where levels of concern for welfare of customers is limited.

We must seriously consider decriminalisation for patients unable to access cannabis-based medicines on the NHS

We must seriously consider decriminalisation for patients unable to access cannabis-based medicines on the NHS

David King, Senior Researcher

The draft NICE guidelines for the use of Cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs), which were published last week, contained no recommendations for the use of CBMPs except nabilone as an add-on treatment for adults suffering from intractable nausea and vomiting. Thus, for now, prescriptions of CBMPs on the NHS are likely to remain effectively unavailable. That these guidelines were highly restrictive and risk-averse came as no surprise to most, but nonetheless a huge disappointment for many.

Let’s end the harms of cannabis prohibition

Let’s end the harms of cannabis prohibition

Viewpoint by Andrew Boff AM

At heart, I’m a libertarian - I believe that people should be free to make their own choices. But drugs reform is more than this. It’s about safety and protecting people from harm - a harm of government making.

Cannabis is out there and people are using it - to say that criminalisation is working is borderline delusional. The government’s own data shows that 30 per cent of 16 to 59-year olds in England and Wales have smoked cannabis. This is slightly higher for 16 to 24-year olds, at 30.7 per cent, which suggests usage is rising. Much of this will be provided by the black market - drug dealers don’t have age restrictions or product standards.