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England’s Chief Doctor Admits Marijuana Use, Questions Drug Laws

By on August 21, 2013
Professor Dame Sally Davies says she's tried cannabis before and believes criminalizing drug users is not the solution

Professor Dame Sally Davies says she’s tried cannabis before and believes criminalizing drug users is not a solution – England’s chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, made a few surprising remarks during an interview with BBC Radio 3 last week.

Despite her current position as the most senior advisor on public health, Professor Davies admitted to using cannabis recreationally a couple times in college before stopping for good due to “hallucinations,” reports Metro News.

“I never smoked so I couldn’t smoke joints but I did have some cookies, until on the third or fourth occasion I had hallucinations and I’ve never touched it since.”

While most doses of cannabis aren’t capable of causing hallucinations – marijuana cookies can be quite strong compared to a traditional joint – does such an extreme (and rare) side effect warrant criminalization of those who use it?

Earlier this year, Davies made it clear that she doesn’t think so.

“I think we have a health problem, and we would do well as a nation to look at is as a health problem. I think there’s quite a lot of evidence from other countries, and science, about how you could go about that.”

Indeed, in places like Amsterdam and Portugal – where possession of marijuana and other prohibited drugs are overseen by health bodies instead of justice departments – drug use and drug related problems are actually lower compared to most countries in the world.

Professor Davies acknowledged a British Medical Association report which warned that harsh drug penalties were discouraging users to seek medical help or advice, reports the Telegraph.

Unfortunately, she was discouraged from acting on her beliefs due to pressure from the UK government to continue criminalizing drug use.

“I am watching the accumulation of evidence – the BMA last week talking about the health harms and everything… But it’s not high on my list of ‘to try and dos’ because I’ve got so much else and the Coalition has not chosen to decriminalise it. If they chose to, we will be ready with quite a lot of advice.”

Other health officials like Professor David Nutt have faced serious consequences for straying too far from the government’s position.

Professor Nutt was removed as chairman of the government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in 2009 after publicly criticizing the decision to classify cannabis as a class B drug.

[Metro News] [The Telegraph]

  • Peter Reynolds

    In Britain, CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform is working to end the stupid and unwinnable war against cannabis and cannabis users. The £500 million we spend every year on cannabis law enforcement is causing far more harm to our communities than it prevents.

    Illegal cannabis farms destroy rented property, steal electricity, exploit human trafficked gardeners and blight communities with street dealing. There has been a massive increase in the last few years. 7,660 were discovered in 2010/11 and there is no sign of any slowing down. Cannabis prices have escalated to nearly £15 per gram.

    CLEAR has proposed a properly regulated system of production and supply which would minimise all these problems and create thousands of new jobs. We’d have no more dealers on the streets. Cannabis would be available to adults only through licensed outlets and we’d have some control over its content and who it is sold to.

    Doctors would be able to prescribe one of the most effective medicines that has no serious side effects at all. At the moment the government has given GW Pharmaceuticals an unlawful monopoly on cannabis so they export Sativex all over the world at a vastly inflated price when anyone can grow the equivalent at home for pennies.

    A legally regulated system would solve nearly all the problems around cannabis. Science proves how much safer it is than tobacco, alcohol, all prescription and OTC medicines. More than that, experts now recognise that for most adults, in moderation, cannabis is actually good for you. It acts as a supplement to the endocannabinoid system and helps to protect against autoimmune conditions such as diabetes and cancer. It is also neuroprotective and helpful in the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

    CLEAR published independent, expert research in 2011 which shows that a tax and regulate policy on cannabis would produce a net gain to the UK economy of up to £9.3 billion per annum.

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    The Professor Dame is an honest and intelligent person.

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    None of this changes the fact that these marijuana laws are crimes against humanity that will require accountability from these individuals that have cause pain, suffering. death and chaos they caused

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