The news which surrounds the highly emotive and well publicised campaign against cannabis is never good lets face it. If the government and the press are to be believed cannabis causes all sorts of ills and ailments. A fact the press are all too ready to point out and publicise at every turn.

But does this news have any credibility? Are there any medical or scientific grounds on which to make, what are after-all, hugely important public health announcements?

Jacqui Smith Home Secretary: Perhaps the word "Lied" is too strong..please read the ACMD report, then decide for yourself note to editors: We have UK citizens from all walks of life who are prepared to talk to the UK press, to give a balanced opinion on why they use cannabis, on why the grow cannabis, as well as why they're turning their backs on alcohol and tobacco. To give your readers the facts they need to make educated judgements regarding cannabis use, please click to "Contact Us" . Like to give your side of the story? We would love to hear from you.

Since February 2007 the Canna Zine cannabis news website has aggragated all of the popular cannabis/marijuana news stories of the day from across the worlds press, and presented them in one place.

During our first year in operation we have forged partnerships with other pro-cannabis reform news organisations across the globe, (such as the Marijuana Policy Project , DRCNet , UKCIA , the Legalise Cannabis Alliance and NORML ), and as a collective we have watched the patterns which have been created by the office of the US drugs czar John Walters, spread out across the worlds press, indoctrinated into policy by the United Nations, which in essence, turns the newspapers in to nothing more than delivery vehicles for goverment generated anti-cannabis spin.

The fact is every story you read, whether its related to current affairs in general, Health, Education etc, are pretty much all initiated from the office of one junior minister or another at Whitehall, depending on the topic.

Often these press releases will consist of only 3 or 4 sentences, and its down to the newspaper journalists to fill in the gaps with research. Which is how-come a single story can have so many different sides, depending on the political "leanings" of the newspaper which publishes the story.

This is how "80,000 cannabis users a year enter drugs rehab", becomes "80,000 a year saved from judicial system", which then becomes "80,000 less convictions since cannabis declassified in 2004". Its the same headline. Just written using different words.

In February 2008, exactly one year from when the Canna Zine was created, the decision was made to stop aggragating news stories of "dubious veracity", which include the ubiquitous "cannabis farm busted" stories which always seem to inlude a plea from the police, for the community to turn to what amounts to "Vigilanty-ism", in a bid to shop a drug dealer.

Whilst the sensationalistic press which surrounds drug dealers is more often than not, hyped wildly in a bid to "beef up" often weak and tenous links to organised crime, there's no mistaking the fact that organised crime brings with it the opportunity of rich's beyond your wildest dreams, and some people will do just about anything to make sure they have (and keep) a large slice of the pie.

So coercing members of the public to go snooping around a "mystery" neighbour's back-garden doesn't seem the wisest piece of advice for police to give via a press release, so we stopped running police PR stories there-after, which takes about 90% of UK cannabis news out of our remit.

ACMD

February 5th 2008 saw the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs hold its public meeting in central London, with the brief a simple one. Hammer out, and come up with medical/scientific advice to give the government, with a view to its creating a more effective cannabis policy.

Straightforward enough?

Pre-eminent medical, scientific and law enforcement experts were drafted in to work alongside drugs related charity workers, in a bid to finally decide the health risks associated with cannabis use.

Information and evidence from many sources was collected, collated, and the ACMD's Cannabis Report 2008 was the outcome, which was duly presented to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, in order that she may make a hugely important decision regarding the UK's public health policies concerning cannabis.

To B or not to B? That was the question.

But in one of the worst kept secrets of 2008, a press leak informed the United Kingdom that, regardless of the advice presented to government, the decision was already made. Government was set to reclassify cannabis back to a class B substance and regardless of the "gains" made since it was initially declassified in 2004.

Did the fact it was a "Tony Blair" policy play a part in this? I'll let you make your own mind up on that!

Gains

According to the document created by the ACMD, cannabis use has shown a marked decline over the last five years. To quote the report, "The most recent BCS (British Crime Survey) report indicates that 2.6 million people aged between 16 and 59 years in England and Wales reported using cannabis in 2006/07; 1.5 million of these admitted use in the month preceding the survey."

"These represent 8.2% and 4.8% (respectively) of the total population of England and Wales. The most recent (2006) SCVS report indicates that 11.0% of people aged 16 to 59 years admitted using cannabis in the past year and 6.8% in the past month."

Overall use of cannabis

"The use of cannabis is predominantly among younger people with prevalence rates higher for males than females. The data are also compatible with the suggestion that, at least in the past, most young cannabis users had stopped (using) by their mid-thirties."

"The Council does not have reliable longitudinal data to determine if this is true, or whether the pattern of use 20 years ago was different."

"Despite the high prevalence of cannabis use, particularly among young people, the BCS also shows that use appears to have declined by around 20% to 25% over the past five years in all age groups."

Cannabis in schools?

Similar findings have been reported from a national survey of English secondary schools, which shows a similar downward trend.

So clearly a more liberal policy towards cannabis has shown great promise.

For the government to wish to undo that, is beyond comprehension, but the mystery doesn't stop there.

Cannabis and the heart

The report also states "The effects of cannabis on the heart and blood vessels are similar to the effects of moderate exercise and do not constitute a risk in healthy adolescents or adults. Furthermore, tolerance occurs with repeated use."

"Cannabis may, however, be dangerous for people with diseases of the circulatory system, particularly those with coronary artery disease, irregularities of heart rhythm or raised blood pressure or those at an increased risk of stroke."

But thats not what the newspaper reports say is it?

Nor do they mention this little nugget of information; "In Britain, cannabis is commonly smoked with tobacco. Due to the nature of cannabis use, fewer joints are smoked by an individual over long periods compared with cigarettes."

"The Council therefore considers that smoking cannabis, even when mixed with tobacco, is less likely to harm lungs than if tobacco is used

alone."

Thats right! According to the ACMD, smoking neat cannabis is LESS of a health risk to the lungs, than smoking it "diluted" with tobacco, or just using tobacco alone?

And yet tobacco is on sale in every corner shop in the UK? Contributing billions to the national economy by way of tax revenues.

So thats why the ACMD cannabis council was ignored

So its little wonder the government took no notice of what the ACMD had to say.

Due to space constraints we have "cherry-picked" the ACMD's report, in a bid to show exactly what information the Home Secretary has deemed "unimportant" in the creation of a workable policy on cannabis.

But a link follows that you can click (please do), which will present to you the entire ACMD cannabis report .

Please read it, and then follow this link , input your postcode to find your local member of Parliament, and ask them why the information presented by the ACMD at huge public cost, was ignored?

There can be few who doubt the rightful place for cannabis, is as a controlled substance, and class C is probably the best place for it, but with the proviso that tobacco and alcohol enjoy the same ranking, and government controls (and taxes) cannabis the way it does alcohol.

Ever since cannabis was declassified, its use has shown a steady and measurable decline. Upgrading the prohibition of cannabis by increasing policing levels, fines and sentences, is simply going to undo all of the good work which has been undertaken in the last four or five years.

Its important the British public doesn't let that happen.

All the medical evidence exists in a single document, which debunks every single argument the government have used to bulldozer this law change onto the UK population.

Reclassifying cannabis has little to do with public health. Tobacco and alcohol carry with them far more risk statistically, and account for over 90% of all UK drug related death's, so isn't it time we brought a bit of perspective into a nations drugs policy, and regardless of which industry this upsets?

Source: Canna Zine
Copywrite: Cannabis News from Canna Zine
Website: Cannabis News from Canna Zine