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Complainant Name:
Peter Reynolds

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Lancashire Evening Post


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 complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication of the following letter from the complainant:

Your article "Teenage Drug Use Rises" on 28th February 2011, highlights how ineffective the prohibition of cannabis is.

Cannabis Law Reform (CLEAR) seeks to represent the interests of the six million people in Britain that use cannabis regularly. We advocate a system of regulation which will protect children and the vulnerable. Under the present system, it is easier for children to buy cannabis than it is to buy cigarettes or alcohol. This is a ridiculous, irresponsible and self-defeating policy. Clearly, no psychoactive substance should be used when the brain is still developing.

However, what makes matters even worse is the sort of information which you were provided with by the Lancashire Drug and Alcohol Action Team. Samantha Jones said that cannabis is "far from being a safe drug" yet Professor Leslie Iversen, the government's chief drugs advisor says cannabis is "one of the safer recreational drugs". In fact, the latest evidence is that cannabis is at least 100 times safer than alcohol and 1000 times less toxic.

Also, Ms Jones says that cannabis increases the risk of cancer and lung disease. However, the largest study of its type was carried out by Dr Donald Tashkin of UCLA in 2006 who found that cannabis has a protective effect against lung damage and cancer, even inhibiting the carcinogenic effects of tobacco smoke.

However much money it wastes, the government is not going to stop people using cannabis. A tax and regulate regime would produce a net benefit of at least £6 billion per annum to the UK economy and much better protection for children.

How much longer do we have to wait before we get a drugs policy that is based on facts and evidence, rather than hysteria and misinformation?

Peter Reynolds, Leader, Cannabis Law Reform

Date Published: 11/05/2011

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