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Complainant Name:
Peter Reynolds

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Evening Standard


Peter Reynolds, leader of Cannabis Law Reform, complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had published inaccurate and misleading information about the potential harm of cannabis.


The newspaper did not accept that it had breached the Code; it believed that the article had been accurate and balanced. The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication of the following letter from the complainant:

With regard to your story on the book "Henry's Demons", which tells the tale of Henry Cockburn's descent into schizophrenia: one fact that science has demonstrated beyond doubt is that anyone using cannabis is extremely unlikely to develop psychosis. Since the Reefer Madness propaganda of the 1930s, the anti-cannabis brigade has been desperately trying to prove this theory without success, despite dozens of studies.

In 2009, specifically in response to tabloid scare stories, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs commissioned a study from Keele University. It looked at almost 600,000 subjects and concluded that despite increased use of cannabis, "the incidence and prevalence of schizophrenia and psychoses were either stable or declining". This is by far the largest and most authoritative study on the subject.

In this context, with six million regular users in the UK, the continuing prohibition of cannabis is unjust and undemocratic. More importantly, it denies the extraordinary medicinal benefits of the plant which science is now confirming. Remarkable results are being achieved in using cannabis to treat multiple sclerosis, cancer, Alzheimer's, Crohn's and a wide range of diseases.

Peter Reynolds
Cannabis Law Reform

Date Published: 01/06/2011

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