Cannabis, as a plant extract, is not harmful. One of the most compelling reports to say so was a joint study (no pun intended) by Kings College London and Duke University, Carolina. You would, however, have to work hard to find that information in the report because, both the authors and the press who quoted extracts from the report, concentrated on teenage and pre-teenage smokers. No one in their right mind suggests that young teenagers should smoke (either cannabis or tobacco) anymore than they should be allowed to drink alcohol. It is noteworthy, for example, that in the UK the government is considering placing additional restrictions on teenage drivers. The simple fact is, there are many things that we should prevent children and adolescents from doing. So to concentrate the anti-cannabis critical firepower on this group is disingenuous to say the least.
(In any event researchers in Norway cast doubt even on the assertion that cannabis caused an IQ reduction in teenage smokers)
The most telling lines in all the reporting on this 25 yearlong study of cannabis are these:
Professor Terrie Moffitt, lead author, who holds a dual appointment at King’s and Duke says: "This work took an amazing scientific effort. We followed almost 1000 participants, we tested their mental abilities as kids before they ever tried cannabis, and we tested them again 25 years later after some participants became chronic users. Participants were frank about their substance abuse habits because they trust our confidentiality guarantee and 96% of the original participants stuck with the study from 1972 to today. It’s such a special study that I'm fairly confident that cannabis is safe for over-18 brains, but risky for under-18 brains."
Dr Avshalom Caspi, co-author, also from King’s and Duke, says: “I hope this research does not get mired in debates about marijuana legalization for adults. The simple message is that substance use is not healthy for kids. That's true for tobacco, alcohol, and apparently now for cannabis.”
The problem is, that in a world where everyone is chasing the shock-horror headline, there is pressure to publish only bad news. The fact that cannabis is relatively harmless for most adults is an insipid headline. Of course it is less harmless for children and people with certain medical conditions - isn't that true of everything?
Our government, and others around the world, should be held to account for the misinformation that they daily disseminate - because what they are doing is dangerous.
The primary reason why governments don't like cannabis is because it is a weed that can be grown anywhere by anyone, thus it cannot be taxed. All governments have the tobacco and alcohol industries safely under control so that vast sums of money can be diverted from the public, via this cartel of companies to the respective governments.
Because money truly is the root of all evil, those who benefit from these funds: the bureaucrats, judges, lawyers, policemen, probation staff, prison staff - to name but a few - can all be relied upon to say whatever is necessary to protect their salaries, perks and pensions.
Similarly, it is difficult for the educational establishments that would normally be expected to perform the necessary research to issue a report that called government bureaucrats liars. A good example of this is a report issued some years ago by the World Health Organisation. The text quoted medical specialists one after another stating that there was insufficient data or research to conclude that cannabis was harmless. This did not prevent the Director from writing in the report's conclusion that cannabis had become "a dangerous pandemic". Anyone who only read the summary and not the full text would have formed a completely false view of the findings of expert contributors.
It is bad enough that organisations funded by the taxes of the people then lie to the people but the situation gets worse because the propaganda - as always happens in totalitarian regimes - opens up the way for more serious human rights abuses.
In Britain the lie at the heart of cannabis policy has created a fantasy land within the legal system.
Read more. . .
As one would expect in the modern British state, as modelled on George Orwell's novel 1984, The Proceeds of Crime Act is neither about "proceeds" nor "crime"
This is what leading lawyers and barristers have said about this law:
The scheme of the Act is meant to be severe and unforgiving. Anyone with legal training coming fresh to confiscation law may feel disorientated. Part 2 (of POCA) appears to occupy some parallel legal universe which has no apparent relationship with the normal rules of criminal process.
Speaking of an earlier template, Tucker J. Once said, “evidential burdens are cast upon (the defendant) which are, to say the least, unusual in the area of criminal law. An examination of the Act shows this to be an understatement.
The CPS can pursue individuals in the civil courts who are perceived to be in possession of ‘property obtained through unlawful conduct’ without necessarily being able to identify any particular criminal offence.
All cash, wherever it is found, may be seized if it is ‘believed’ to be associated with criminal conduct, or even if magistrates can be led to believe it ‘might' be intended for some future criminal conduct.’
Accordingly, defendants are penalised for criminal conduct which is unproven; civil standards and methods of proof apply; assumptions of fact and reverse burdens of proof punctuate the various... it is public policy, not procedural fairness which drives its workings.
In an extraordinary construction of the amended form of the CJA 1988 the Court of Appeal decided that ‘the ordinary rules of criminal justice (do) not apply...'
An enthusiastic court can make sweeping and expensive findings which have no tangible foundation in the evidence.
The second misconception was that, in calculating the value of the available amount, the court can only take into account property which the prosecution can prove to exist.
[Blackstone’s Guide to The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
By Edward Rees QC et al.]
I am a-political because I believe our current form of democracy is not working – it has been hijacked by a new ruling class. Until a radically different political party comes along there is no point in voting. Our three major parties, as they stand, have become short-term quick-fix merchants who are only concerned with their immediate finances. Money has come to rule political thinking and that mindset has leaked out into the law.
It is an old truism that right wing politicians become involved in sex scandals and left wing politicians in financial scandals. The “socialists” are obsessed with money because they have none.
It was precisely that thinking which brought about the introduction of the Proceeds of Crime Act.
It was a piece of legislation designed to divert drugs money into government coffers.
It turned Tony Blair into Al Capone.
This is what his right hand henchmen, David Blunkett, said when they introduced the law: “Modern crime bosses are sophisticated, organised and determined. No group of defendants is more adept at exploiting our legal safeguards for their own ends.”
What this statement reveals is the frustration of politicians with defendants making use of legal safeguards. The whole point of legal safeguards is that they exist to safeguard defendants – against the vast might of the government prosecuting machine. To state that those citizens being prosecuted by the government should not have safeguards because that is inconvenient for the prosecution is outrageous. That is like saying anyone who appears in court must be guilty otherwise they would not be in court.
The Blair government, when it came to power, set out to change the law so that 800 years of legal safeguards could be removed. Nothing mattered to them except the money; principles of fairness, evidence, assumption of innocence and proportionality of sentencing were thrown out.
It is not merely that POCA (The Proceeds of Crime Act) runs contrary to the principles of every other UK law, the additional danger is that it can be interpreted to override every law. The fact that it allows judges, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, to authorise the police and courts to seize any property or assets wherever they may be means that no one is safe. There need be no evidence – only an assertion by a policeman or government appointed investigator. Obviously, where a prosecutor has a choice between choosing to proceed via a law that requires hard evidence or one that needs only a cunning way with words, he (or she) is going to opt for the latter – especially if it is in his (or her) financial interest to do so.
Assets can be seized if a judge believes they may at some time in the future be used in connection with a crime. Who can predict such a thing? This is the world of science fiction. No one is safe once they have been targeted for confiscation.
Take a simple example: you take your dog to the local common for some exercise in your new BMW 5-Series estate, value £43,000. Rex runs off and catches a hare. Coursing with dogs is illegal. A member of the public reports this to the police. You have committed a crime. Your lovely new BMW was used in connection with this crime. It is seized by the court under POCA and sold off for £10,000 at auction. That £10,000 is shared between the police and the central government. You think that cannot happen? The law is the law. POCA is intended to be unforgiving.
But it gets worse. . .
The police have become so accustomed to presenting evidence to courts as though they were writing an article for the Sun newspaper that they are losing the ability or the will to gather hard evidence. Courts will now convict on supposition and inference. As long as a convincing story is told to the judge and an eager local newspaper the police can now be reasonably sure of a conviction. That opens the way for confiscation of the accused’s possessions. All of that money flows back to the police and courts. They have a vested interest in pursuing people with money.
Once the assets have been seized it is, in practice, impossible to get them back. No matter how tenuous was the reason for taking them, the authorities will close ranks and fight tooth and nail to hold on to them.
Take, for example the case of South African billionaire, Dr Christoffel Wiese. He was stopped at London airport with £700,000 in a case. It was a payment for a consignment of diamonds he had sold. This man was (is) astoundingly wealthy and is accustomed to carrying large amounts of money to transact big deals. The UK Border agency seized the money – remember they needed no reason, only the thought that it was a lot of cash and they would like to have it. It took three years and some of the most expensive lawyers and barristers in Britain to get the money returned. Even then, in a typical act of spite, the judge insisted that Dr Wiese pay all his own costs even though convention is that the loser (the government in this case) always pays. No ordinary citizen could fight and win against the power of government-mandated theft. That is what they rely on. Unfortunately, the British public is so poor and rancid that it appears not to object to “rich” people having all their money taken from them on the basis of the flimsiest excuse.
The issue of the Nazis and Jews inevitably comes to mind. And this is the real danger: bad law leads to other, unpredictable outcomes. Presently it is only about the dishonesty of the police who, now that they have become government appointed super-bailiffs, feel free to scoop up cash wherever they find it. I have spoken to people who have told that, upon their arrest, cash in their offices and homes simply disappeared. One Vietnamese gentleman, who freely admitted that he grew cannabis, told me that police removed £100,000 in cash from his home and then presented him with a receipt for £10,000. This is not unusual. There is so much illicit money sloshing around that it has, inevitably, corrupted the police as individuals and as a force. I believe there is a clandestine network within the British police that works to “acquire” drug money and share it out among the officers involved.
However, there is evidence that this corruption is spreading to elements within the legal profession.
Remember, few people are able to fund their own criminal defences, especially when the prosecution has already arranged the seizure of the defendant’s assets. This places the government in the position where it controls the defence via the public purse strings. He who pays the piper calls the tune. There are now very few solicitors or barristers prepared to go up against the police, the CPS or the judges. Effectively, what is happening is that solicitors and barristers are becoming unwilling to damage their careers by arguing too strongly against state-appointed prosecutors. I know of solicitors who have been warned by the police not to represent a client too well if they wished to benefit from the Legal Aid fund in future.
Thus, by its control of our money, the government has neutralised the concept of a viable defence. If you are targeted by the police you might as well give up. You will be allowed no functional defence, only sufficient representation to give the public the impression that you were given a fair hearing.
So this is where bad law and political greed combines. Our government lies about the “danger” of cannabis in order to protect its tax revenues from tobacco and alcohol. Because the people simply do not believe the government (and rightly so) a huge cannabis industry exists. Because it is deemed illegal, all the money is underground. This vast ocean of hidden money is irresistible to politician and policeman alike. The result is a universe of hidden deals, corruption, favours, threats, theft...and killings – not perpetrated by the so-called criminals but by the forces of law-and-order.
Links and references:
Even the police are concerned: Metropolitan Police Federation
The Cannabis Conspiracy