‘True public interest’


A compilation of indispensable evidence to demonstrate the need for urgent and immediate decriminalisation of cannabis for the purposes of adult consumption, possession, cultivation and distribution.


A document highlighting the unlawful and illegal aspects of cannabis prohibition and the state corruption that coincides with the continued outdated cannabis laws in the UK.   


by ‘OUTLAW’ and associated solicitors



Public Copy: 8/5/2021

Press Release + Legal interviews : 5/6/2021

Final Copy: 8/7/2021


*Additions will be noted and date stamped before publishing.






The devastating impact of the ‘war on drugs’ has been felt by the citizens of the UK for 50 years. 


When enforcing the law becomes illegal and oppresses our fundamental human rights, it’s crucial that enforcers of the law understand how they will now become personally liable. 


Our aim is to educate and inform, warn, and then proceed. We do not wish to cause a burden on any public authority, but serving in the public's interest is their reason for being.


Legal action can begin in July 2021. Each public body involved will be given at least 28 days’ notice before any legal proceedings.


Legal professionals will also be paid on account to represent a large number of cannabis users, who can initiate individual claims as outlined in this document. 


[All future Home Office correspondence will be made public, as stated in the original ‘notice of intended legal action’. This document redacts information that could harm proceedings in accordance with the Criminal Evidence Act 1851 and Civil Evidence Act 1968.]


Although some of the initial quotes are evidenced later in the document, ‘[evidenced below]’, in order to understand the full scale of injustice, deceit, and racism: you should read this document from beginning to end.


This document is non exhaustive. Further evidence will be submitted for the consideration of the court.




Cannabis is legal:


Cannabis is not illegal, however, some cannabinoids that are found in a lot of cannabis are controlled substances, and therefore illegal but only depending on its use or misuse. [1]






Used for discussion. 


  • Any part of the cannabis plant (cannabis sativa L) including its compounds;

(Cannabis Sativa L is the same as ‘cannabis’, ’herbal cannabis’, ‘weed’, ‘marijuana’, ‘recreational cannabis’, ‘medical cannabis’,’hash’, ‘hemp’, ‘skunk’, ‘cannabinoids’, ‘CBD’, ‘THC’) 

‘Natural’ cannabis: 

  • Cannabis that has grown solely from seed in soil with light and water - without using fertilizer, pesticides or any other unnatural chemicals. 

‘Unnatural’ cannabis:  

  • Man-made or synthetic cannabis and cannabinoids.

  • Cannabis grown with fertilizer, pesticides or any other unnatural chemicals.

‘Unlicensed’ cannabis: 

  • ‘Home-grown’ or ‘illegally imported’ cannabis. 

  • What is commonly categorised as ‘illegal’ and ‘street’ cannabis.

Cannabis ‘flower’: 

  • The flowering tops of the cannabis plant. 

  • Cannabis ‘bud’, ‘weed’.

‘Medical’ cannabis: 

  • ‘A broad term for any sort of cannabis-based medicine used to relieve symptoms.’ [NHS] [2]


‘Herbal Medicines’: 


  • ‘Herbal medicines are those with active ingredients made from plant parts, such as leaves, roots or flowers.’ [NHS] [3]


  • ‘CBPM’ refers to products that meet the following definition of a “cannabis-based product for medicinal use in humans” as per Regulation 2(1) of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (MDR) (as amended). [4]


  • Naturally occurring compounds that are found in cannabis [Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are one of more than 100 known cannabinoids].

‘Criminalisation of cannabis’: 

  • The criminalisation of a person who uses, possesses, cultivates or ‘distributes’ cannabis.

‘Distribute’ cannabis: 

  • To give cannabis to a number of recipients, free of charge. Not to be confused with ‘selling cannabis’.

‘Sell cannabis’: 

  • To give cannabis in exchange for money.

‘Cannabis user’:

  • A person who uses, possesses, cultivates or distributes cannabis.

Endocannabinoid System (ESC)  [6]


The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex cell-signaling system identified in the early 1990s by researchers exploring THC, a well-known cannabinoid (cannabinoids are compounds found in cannabis).


The endocannabinoid system (ECS) exists and is active in your body even if you don’t use cannabis.


The ECS plays a big role in keeping your internal processes stable. But there’s still a lot we don’t know about it. As experts develop a better understanding of the ECS, it could eventually hold the key to treating several conditions.


Endocannabinoids (also called endogenous cannabinoids) are molecules made by your body. They’re similar to cannabinoids, but they’re produced by your body.


Some experts believe in a theory known as clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD). This theory suggests that low endocannabinoid levels in your body or ECS dysfunction can contribute to the development of certain conditions.


A 2016 article reviewing over 10 years of research on the subject suggests the theory could explain why some people develop migraines, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome.


Research published by the National Library of Medicine has linked the ECS to the following processes: appetite and digestion, stress, metabolism, chronic pain, motor control, mood, sleep, inflammation and other immune system responses, learning and memory, cardiovascular system function, muscle formation, bone remodeling and growth, liver function, reproductive system function, and skin and nerve function. [7]


“The endogenous cannabinoid system—named for the plant that led to its discovery—is one of the most important physiologic systems involved in establishing and maintaining human health. Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. With its complex actions in our immune system, nervous system, and virtually all of the body’s organs, the endocannabinoids are literally a bridge between body and mind. By understanding this system, we begin to see a mechanism that could connect brain activity and states of physical health and disease.”



Psychotropic Substances 


A drug or other substance that affects how the brain works and causes changes in mood, awareness, thoughts, feelings, or behaviour. Many illegal drugs, such as heroin, LSD, cocaine, and amphetamines are also psychotropic substances (also called psychoactive substances).


Examples of psychotropic substances include alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, marijuana, and certain pain medicines. Many illegal drugs, such as heroin, LSD, cocaine, and amphetamines are also psychotropic substances. [9]



Court Conflict:

‘Public Interest’ legal definition: Anything affecting the rights, health, or finances of the public at large. [10]


The Code for Crown Prosecutors is a document issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions that sets out the general principles Crown Prosecutors should follow when they make decisions on cases.


“Is it in the public interest for the CPS to bring the case to court?


A prosecution will usually take place unless the prosecutor is sure that the public interest factors tending against prosecution outweigh those tending in favour.”


Meaning a prosecution will not take place if the prosecutor knows it won't be in the public interest. [11]


A person cultivating, consuming or in possession of cannabis does not affect the rights, health, or finances of the public at large.


Prosecutions for personal possession, cultivation and consumption of cannabis affect the rights, health and finances of the public at large [evidenced below].


If the Code for Crown Prosecutors were to be fully adhered to, there would be no prosecutions for personal possession, cultivation and consumption of cannabis as they are not in the public interest [evidenced above]. 


“Prosecutors must be even-handed in their approach to every case, and have a duty to protect the rights of suspects and defendants, while providing the best possible service to victims.”  [11]


Cannabis users are victims at the point of arrest [evidenced below].


As of July 2021 every Crown Prosecution Service in England and Wales will have issued a compilation of this information. 


Police Conflict:

The Police Federation’s Independent Inquiry into The Misuse Of Drugs Act states:

“More than half of the arrests for cannabis offences result in a caution. We do not criticise the police for their extensive use of cautioning. It is currently the only realistic and proportional response.” “Without it, the courts would have ground to a halt.” [12]

If cannabis users did not accept their cautions, the government would be forced to reconsider their views in the interest of justice. 

NPCC: “As police officers, our job is to enforce the law and under current legislation drugs are illegal, on the grounds that they have been shown to be harmful.” [13]


Cannabis has also been shown to be much less harmful than other controlled substances in Schedule 1, and less harmful than legal substances like alcohol and tobacco [evidenced below].


  • {Wt1-19} We have statements from 19 currently serving police officers in the UK that have been sent to our research team expressing their discomfort with policing personal possession of cannabis [retained for evidence].


“...I think we think we have to do what the government tells us... although it is embarrassing having to enforce these (cannabis) laws, and disrupt communities of otherwise law abiding citizens as you rightly say. In reality, most of us don’t want to do it.” [UK Police Officer Dec 2020 - (WT2)]


Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 ( PACE ), a lawful arrest by a police constable requires two elements: a person's involvement, suspected involvement or attempted involvement in the commission of a criminal offence and reasonable grounds for believing that the person's arrest is necessary. [14]


Every police officer and special constable is required to be attested by making a declaration: 


“I, ... ... ... of ... ... ... do solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm that I will well and truly serve the Queen in the office of constable, with fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality, upholding fundamental human rights and according equal respect to all people; and that I will, to the best of my power, cause the peace to be kept and preserved and prevent all offences against people and property; and that while I continue to hold the said office I will to the best of my skill and knowledge discharge all the duties thereof faithfully according to law.” [15]


The cannabis laws are against our fundamental human rights [evidenced below].




When a police officer enforces cannabis law without due diligence or a good understanding of the law, they are breaching their attestation, making them personally liable to other civil claims:


The Police Federation states: “Every constable is an independent legal entity; the public’s guarantee of impartiality.”


“Police officers have authority under the Crown for the protection of life and property, maintenance of order, prevention and detection of crime and prosecution of offenders against the peace. With the imposition of central and politically set targets there are dangers that officers’ discretion and operational independence is being compromised.
Police officers must be apolitical, impartial and accountable for their actions. If not, how and what is policed will become subject to political whim and electioneering. The operational independence of our police service comes with the Office of Constable”



According to the Government, “The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 codes of practice (known as PACE) regulate police powers and protect public rights.”



Arresting a personal cannabis user or personal grower who is causing no harm or disturbance to others is less necessary and reasonable than arresting an personal alcohol user who is causing no harm or disturbance [evidenced below]. 


The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, Code G states:


“The use of the power must be fully justified and officers exercising the power should consider if the necessary objectives can be met by other, less intrusive means. Absence of justification for exercising the power of arrest may lead to challenges should the case proceed to court. It could also lead to civil claims against police for unlawful arrest and false imprisonment. When the power of arrest is exercised it is essential that it is exercised in a non-discriminatory and proportionate manner which is compatible with the Right to Liberty under Article 5.” 



Cannabis arrests are not compatible with the Right To Liberty under Article 5 [evidenced below].


Police officers cannot justify their actions by relying only on written law and legislation. Due diligence, the understanding of the reason for a law being enforced, is required by the individual police officer.


Regardless of legal action: as of July 2021 every Police Chief in England and Wales will have been issued this information and have a lawful duty to inform all of their officers. Civil claims against the police will commence for any police officer who makes an unlawful arrest in breach of their attestation or does not uphold a person's fundamental human right.


This does not mean all cannabis users will immediately avoid criminal charges, but civil action against the officer will commence alongside any other proceedings. [19]




  • [Redacted due to ‘potential public concern/outrage’ and retained as evidence] {Ev1(Compilation)} 


  • Julian Bennet wrote the Metropolitan Police's drug strategy from 2017 to 2021 – which was titled 'Dealing with the impact of drugs on communities'. The strategy set out the force's plans to raise 'awareness of the dangers of drug misuse'.


  • Bennet was the Scotland Yard commander until he was suspended in July 2020 after admitting he uses cannabis. He was in charge of the force’s misconduct panel, which has fired capable officers who also smoke cannabis. [20]


It has not been confirmed publicly whether Bennet had a prescription for cannabis at the time, or if he was purchasing/producing and using unlicensed cannabis ‘illegally’.




  • Terrorism: ‘the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims’.


[Terrorism Act 2000]: “the use or threat is designed to influence the government or an international governmental organisation, or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.”


Domestic terrorism: the committing of terrorist acts in the perpetrator's own country against their fellow citizens.


Ideological Terrorism: “Terrorism motivated by political systems of belief (ideologies), which champion the self-perceived inherent rights of a particular group or interest in opposition to another group or interest. The system of belief incorporates theoretical and philosophical justifications for violently asserting the rights of the championed group or interest.”



The foundations of the cannabis laws are rooted in racism and motivated by political belief [evidenced below].






All drugs are harmful to a certain degree. Substances that are not illegal or controlled substances can be extremely harmful, as can be read in publications like Harvard Medical School's ‘Sweet dangers of sugar’ and the University of Utah’s ‘Dangers of Caffeine’.

[22] [23]


Excessive sugar consumption causes changes in the mesolimbic pathway that mimic the effects of controlled drugs, however soft drink consumption has increased nearly 500% per capita in the past 50 years. https://drugabuse.imedpub.com/is-sugar-a-gateway-drug.php?aid=7783


There are no claims being made that ‘cannabis is absolutely harmless’, as this does not reflect substantial evidence-based scientific knowledge. 




  • Margin of Exposure (MOE)


The margin of exposure (MOE) is a tool used by risk assessors that predicts how harmful a drug can be to human health. In its simplest form, the MOE is the result of comparing two different factors: the point at which a drug becomes harmful (benchmark dose), and how much of that drug a person or population is consuming (estimated human intake).


Both parts of the ratio are crucial. If risk assessors only consider a drug’s toxicity, a government may focus its resources on combating dangerous drugs that not many people are using. But if only the second variable is considered – how much of that drug is consumed – then a government may waste its time fighting widely used drugs that don’t have the highest levels of harm. As a combination of the two, the MOE is able to acknowledge both and paints a comprehensive picture for policymakers of exactly how a drug is impacting society.


The lower the MOE, the more likely it is that a drug poses a risk to human health.


“For individual exposure the four substances alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and heroin fall into the "high risk" category with MOE < 10, the rest of the compounds except THC fall into the "risk" category with MOE < 100. On a population scale, only alcohol would fall into the "high risk" category, and cigarette smoking would fall into the "risk" category, while all other agents (opiates, cocaine, amphetamine-type stimulants, ecstasy, and benzodiazepines) had MOEs > 100, and cannabis had a MOE > 10,000. The toxicological MOE approach validates epidemiological and social science-based drug ranking approaches especially in regard to the positions of alcohol and tobacco (high risk) and cannabis (low risk).”


The Chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said "the classification system for drugs does not mean that any of these substances are harmless. If they were (harmless), they would not be included in the Misuse of Drugs Act". 


Alcohol and tobacco are not included in the Misuse of Drugs Act, so this view is not compatible with evidenced-based statements such as the World Health Organization's that "More deaths are due to tobacco than to any other drug". 





  • Cannabis use:


Cannabis has been used historically as a medicine and recreational substance [evidenced below].


In a document used in evidence by the Government, the only conclusive evidence was that “cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults”

[25] [evidenced below].


The British Medical Association has said: “The acute toxicity of cannabinoids is extremely low: they are very safe drugs and no deaths have been directly attributed to their recreational or therapeutic use.” [26]


Amongst a catalogue of science-based research that has been ignored by the government, violating the justification of the Act [evidenced below], in 2002, the Advisory Council’s review of the classification of cannabis concluded that:


 "the high use of cannabis is not associated with major health problems for the individual or society" 


“It is not possible to state, with certainty, whether or not cannabis use predisposes to dependence on Class A drugs such as heroin or crack cocaine. Nevertheless, the risks (if any) are small and less than those associated with the use of tobacco or alcohol.”




“Everyone has naturally occurring cannabinoid receptors in their brains [evidenced above]. THC is able to effectively bind to these receptors, creating euphoric effects. However CBD can interfere with this binding process, which dampens the feeling of euphoria.


Different ratios of these two chemicals are found in various types of cannabis. Consuming a cannabis product with THC but no CBD increases the risk of developing mental health problems, such as psychosis. However, CBD could actually be used to treat psychosis.

Cannabis with higher levels of THC and lower, or negligible, amounts of CBD appear to have a detrimental effect on short-term memory, particularly in adolescents. The main problem is their ability to retain and recall information. Fortunately this is not permanent.


But these recent discoveries about the role of THC and CBD in cannabis show that we can no longer simply say cannabis itself causes psychosis, or is detrimental to memory. Rather, it might be the type of cannabis, and the compounds it contains, that may have specific risks or benefits.”


[28] [29] [30] [31]




Many of the continued concerns surrounding psychosis and schizophrenia come from the unfounded vilification of ‘Skunk/High THC Cannabis’ [evidenced below].


Cannabis is commonly used by people who already have schizophrenia:


“One analysis of several studies found that cannabis is one of the most commonly abused substances among people with schizophrenia. Young people with the condition, in particular, may use it more often than alcohol. Researchers have puzzled over what that link means. Some say that people with schizophrenia may be more likely to use the drug because they’re looking for ways to ease their symptoms.” [32]


The British Journal of Psychiatry published a study that examined links between tobacco use and psychosis because “Little attention has been directed towards the possibility that cigarette (tobacco) smoking might increase risk for the disorder”.[33]


“In the study of marijuana, the team found an increased risk of psychosis among teenage users.” [34]


“We found that young people who had used cannabis at least five times had a heightened risk of psychoses during the follow-up, even when accounting for previous psychotic experiences, use of alcohol and drugs, and the parents’ history of psychoses,” notes study co-author, Antti Mustonen.[35]


However, the study predominantly found that smoking tobacco daily or heavily was linked with increased risk of psychosis for people.


“Individuals (not young people) who smoked 10 or more (tobacco) cigarettes per day were more likely to experience psychosis than people who did not.” [36]


Tobacco is commonly used with cannabis to “make it go further” due to the high cost of unlicensed cannabis, where users would “prefer to use all pure cannabis”. {Wt20}


Many reports studying the harm of cannabis do not take into consideration the common use of tobacco and have “several limitations, including an inability to adequately control for tobacco use and potential reporting bias.” [37]


“It has been suggested that at a societal level, the prevention of 3000-4000 adolescents from consuming cannabis may prevent only 1 case of psychosis from emerging.”





The Health and Medicine Division found “...lung cancer incidence was evaluated for all study participants and for a subgroup who were not tobacco smokers. Among all study participants there was no statistically significant difference in the risk of lung cancer for habitual cannabis smokers as compared to non-habitual smokers; similarly, among participants who did not smoke tobacco, the risk of lung cancer was not significantly higher or lower for habitual cannabis smokers than for non-habitual cannabis smokers.” [39]


A Review on Studies of Marijuana for Alzheimer’s Disease found that “Cannabis contains at least 113 kinds of cannabinoids… rats have shown that THC killed cancer cells and reduced tumor size.” [40]




Regarding anti-social behaviour, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs states: 


“Anti-social behaviour is an unlikely consequence of the known psychological effects of cannabis itself. There is, however, a clear perception among the public that cannabis is associated with anti-social behaviour. In the opinion of experts on the Council, anti-social behaviour is probably largely exacerbated by alcohol. It is therefore possible that the public regard smoking cannabis in the presence of others as, in itself, a form of anti-social behaviour.” [41]




  • Alcohol use:


Whilst alcohol and cannabis are both used within medicine, the ‘bacteria killing’ properties of pure alcohol are considerably more harmful to humans than the ‘healing’ and ‘medical’ properties of raw, natural cannabis and its cannabinoids. [42]


Alcohols, in various forms, are used within medicine as an antiseptic and disinfectant. Alcohol applied to the skin can be used to disinfect. More commonly it’s a substance used recreationally in beverages;


“Alcohol is associated with 2.8 million deaths each year worldwide. It’s is a leading risk factor for death and disease worldwide, and is associated with nearly one in 10 deaths in people aged 15-49 years old.” [43]


“In addition to causing health issues such as cancer, liver damage, hypertension, heart disease, and fetal damage, alcohol abuse increases the risk of injuries, suicide, violence, and motor accidents. Due to these factors, excessive alcohol consumption is the third-leading cause of death in the United States”.


“Alcohol can affect several parts of the brain, but, in general, contracts brain tissues, destroys brain cells, as well as depresses the central nervous system. Excessive drinking over a prolonged period of time can cause serious problems with cognition and memory. Alcohol interacts with the brain receptors, interfering with the communication between nerve cells, and suppressing excitatory nerve pathway activity.” [44]


“Alcohol is a causal factor in more than 60 medical conditions, including: mouth, throat, stomach, liver and breast cancers; high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver; and depression.”



“3 million deaths per year due to the harmful use of alcohol” reports the World Health Organization in 2018. [46]


It’s hard to find a study that mentions any possible benefits of moderate drinking of alcohol without mentioning the obvious and evidenced harms. 


Harvard School of Public Health states: “It’s safe to say that alcohol is both a tonic and a poison. The difference lies mostly in the dose. Moderate drinking seems to be good for the heart and circulatory system, and probably protects against type 2 diabetes and gallstones. Heavy drinking is a major cause of preventable death in most countries. In the U.S., alcohol is implicated in about half of fatal traffic accidents. Heavy drinking can damage the liver and heart, harm an unborn child, increase the chances of developing breast and some other cancers, contribute to depression and violence, and interfere with relationships. [47]


*Addition [06/05/2021]


“In England and Wales alone, there were 7,423 alcohol-specific deaths in 2020, up 20% on the previous year and the highest annual death toll since records began in 2001”, the Office for National Statistics said. [48]


“Four out of five alcohol-specific deaths in 2020 – defined as being a direct consequence of alcohol misuse – were from alcoholic liver disease. A further 10% were from mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol use, and 6% accidental alcohol poisoning.” [49]




A factsheet from the Institute of Alcohol Studies states: “It has been estimated that in a community of 100,000 people each year, 1,000 people will be a victim of alcohol-related violent crime”. That's 1 in 100. [50]


Drink-related harm costs the public up to £52bn a year. [51]


In 2014/15, there were 592,000 violent incidents where the victim believed the offender(s) to be under the influence of alcohol, accounting for 47% of violent offences committed that year. [52]


The Institute of Alcoholic Studies states: “Police authorities acknowledge that alcohol does have a significant role in criminal activity. While offenders are rarely tested for the presence of alcohol when caught (except in specific drunk and disorderly cases such as injury caused by drink driving), police authorities recognise that alcohol’s effects on the mind and body are thought to be more likely to induce antisocial behaviour, leading to criminal acts. For most offences, alcohol may affect the perpetrator: for violent crimes, it reduces self-control; for acquisitive crimes, the motivation can be the need to feed a habit.” [53]








In 1920, under the terms of the 18th Amendment ratified a year prior, the US made the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages illegal.


Although the legislation was successful, millions of Americans were willing to drink liquor (distilled spirits) illegally, giving rise to the illegal production and sale of liquor which was capitalised upon by organised crime. [54]


13 years later, the 21st Amendment was ratified in the US, which repealed the 18th Amendment, “ending the increasingly unpopular nationwide prohibition of alcohol” [Presidential Proclamation in which President Franklin D. Roosevelt announces the Repeal of Prohibition]. [55]


“Prohibition (of alcohol) ultimately failed because at least half the adult population wanted to carry on drinking, policing of the Volstead Act was riddled with contradictions, biases and corruption, and the lack of a specific ban on consumption hopelessly muddied the legal waters.” [56]






President Carter said, "Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.”  [57]


Support for legalisation in the UK is very high. Two thirds (65%) said they support legalising cannabis. [58] 


The Police Federation’s Independent Inquiry into the Misuse Of Drugs Act states: 


“...the law's implementation damages individuals in terms of criminal records and risks to jobs and relationships to a degree that far outweighs any harm that cannabis may be doing to society. Moreover, young people, particularly young black and Asian people and particularly where stop and search are concerned, perceive the law as unfair.”



Despite this, “The administrative and financial burden on police forces of processing cannabis-related offences is substantial. In 2015, more than a million police hours were spent on processing cannabis-related offences1 and it has been estimated that taxpayers pay at least £13.5 million for the cost of police forces locking up  people for 12 hours or more after arresting them for possession.


There is no convincing evidence to show that criminal sanctions of drug offences and drug users reliably curb use or supply of drugs. In fact, a 2014 Home Office report concluded the contrary, that there was no “obvious relationship between the toughness of a country’s law enforcement against drug possession and levels of drug use in that country”.


There is significant racial discrimination in rates of arrest and prosecution for drug offences. A 2018 study found Black and Asian people were convicted of cannabis possession at 11.8 and 2.4 times the rate of white people despite their lower rates of self-reported use.


The reporting of cannabis possession crimes by police forces has fallen by an average of 40% for more than half of police forces. This is more likely to represent changes in policing attitudes toward the processing of individuals caught in possession of cannabis than a representative reduction in rates of possession, since rates of use have not fallen commensurately in that time.


Polling by the CDPRG in June 2019 found that 76% of the British public believed the threat of criminal punishment for unlawful drug use is an ineffective deterrent.

This supports consistent evidence that punitive law-enforcement responses to cannabis use or possession fails to decrease the rates of these offences, either for individuals who have received criminal sanctions or for the general public.” [60]


A report by Christopher Snowdon, the Head of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs, estimated the size and value of the UK’s illicit cannabis market in 2016/17, the size and value of the market if cannabis were legalised and regulated, and the annual tax revenue that a legal cannabis market would yield:


“Our best estimate suggests that 255 tonnes of cannabis were sold in the UK in 2016/17 at a cost of £2.6 billion to three million consumers.”


“A commercialised marijuana market which capped THC levels at 15 per cent would virtually eradicate the black market, but some unlicensed cannabis would remain. If licensed cannabis made up 95 per cent of market, it would produce annual tax revenues of £495 million (with VAT plus a 10 per cent tax), £557 million (VAT plus a 20 per cent tax) or £690 million (VAT plus a 30 per cent tax). The total market size in these three scenarios (including the unlicensed share) would be 339 tonnes, 329 tonnes and 321 tonnes respectively.”


“Savings to the NHS and other public services are beyond the scope of this report, but previous studies have suggested that they would amount to at least £300 million per annum. When these savings are added to excise tax revenues of £690 million plus new streams of income tax, business tax and VAT created by the legal industry, claims about cannabis legalisation providing a £1 billion windfall to the Treasury seem pessimistic. It is likely that tax revenues alone would exceed this. Meanwhile, lower prices would leave cannabis consumers with more money in their pocket, allowing hundreds of millions of pounds to flow into other areas of the economy.” [61]


Cannabis prohibition and the ‘criminalisation of cannabis’ is not in the public interest.


In 2003, ‘A Scientifically Based Scale of Harm for all Social Drugs’ was produced by the Chief Executive Medical Research Council. It said:


“Alcohol and tobacco are likely to be at or near the top of the comparative scale of harm for every criterion listed. This must be kept in mind when framing attitudes to other drugs, which are currently illegal and consequently viewed as unacceptable by society.”


“The present classification of drugs makes little sense. It is antiquated and reflects the prejudices and misconceptions of an era in which drugs were placed in arbitrary categories with notable, often illogical, consequences.” [62]


Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School: “Cannabis is remarkably safe. Although not harmless, it is surely less toxic than most of the conventional medicines it could replace if it were legally available. Despite its use by millions of people over thousands of years, cannabis has never caused an overdose death.” [63]


The scheduling and classification system are not based upon harm, science or logic.




April 2021: “Mayor of London to examine benefits of decriminalising cannabis”


“He believes there is widespread public support for a more relaxed approach to decriminalisation, citing polls showing more than half of the UK – and nearly two-thirds of those in the capital – support legalising cannabis for adult recreational use.


The illegal drug trade in the UK is estimated to cost society £19bn per year, according to the mayor’s office. About 41,900 people across England and Wales were charged with drug-related offences last year.


Khan, who has in the past called for “an evidence-based conversation” around cannabis, says: “It’s time for fresh ideas about how to reduce the harms drugs and drug-related crimes cause to individuals, families and communities.” [64]




In contrast, Portugal decriminalised the possession of all drugs for personal use in 2001, and there now exists a significant body of evidence on what happened following the move: [65]


  • Levels of drug use are below the European average.

  • Drug use has declined among those aged 15-24, the population most at risk of initiating drug use.

  • Between 2000 and 2005 (the most recent years for which data are available) rates of problematic drug use and injecting drug use decreased.

  • Although the number of newly diagnosed HIV cases among people who inject drugs in Portugal is well above the European average, it has declined dramatically over the past decade, falling from 1,016 to 56 between 2001 and 2012. Over the same period, the number of new cases of AIDS among people who inject drugs also decreased, from 568 to 38.

  • Deaths due to drug use have decreased by 80%.





It's well known that the cannabis laws contradict many human rights articles.


“Human Rights Act will make Cannabis Legal,” The Times Law 9 (02 20, 2001)


Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world. In the UK, human rights are protected by the Human Rights Act 1998. [66]


The European Convention on Human Rights protects the human rights of people in countries that belong to the Council of Europe. This includes the UK. [67]


Human Rights Principles: [68]


“Human rights are universal and inalienable; indivisible; interdependent and interrelated. They are universal because everyone is born with and possesses the same rights, regardless of where they live, their gender or race, or their religious, cultural or ethnic background. Inalienable because people’s rights can never be taken away. Indivisible and interdependent because all rights – political, civil, social, cultural and economic – are equal in importance and none can be fully enjoyed without the others. They apply to all equally, and all have the right to participate in decisions that affect their lives. They are upheld by the rule of law and strengthened through legitimate claims for duty-bearers to be accountable to international standards.”


“Human rights are universal and inalienable. All people everywhere in the world are entitled to them. The universality of human rights is encompassed in the words of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”


  • Human Rights Act 1998, Article 5, ‘Right to liberty and security’ states:

“Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law:


  1. the lawful detention of a person after conviction by a competent court;

  2. the lawful arrest or detention of a person for non-compliance with the lawful order of a court or in order to secure the fulfilment of any obligation prescribed by law;

  3. the lawful arrest or detention of a person effected for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after having done so;

  4. the detention of a minor by lawful order for the purpose of educational supervision or his lawful detention for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority;

  5. the lawful detention of persons for the prevention of the spreading of infectious diseases, of persons of unsound mind, alcoholics or drug addicts or vagrants;

  6. the lawful arrest or detention of a person to prevent his effecting an unauthorised entry into the country or of a person against whom action is being taken with a view to deportation or extradition.”



‘Alcoholics and drug addicts’ are considerably different to ‘alcohol and cannabis users’, otherwise assuming anybody can be deprived of their liberty for drinking alcohol. 


The criminalisation of cannabis does not uphold our fundamental human rights; 


  • In 2009, the United Nations Office On Drugs And Crime confirmed any conviction and punishment involving the possession, purchase or cultivation of illicit drugs for personal use contradicts the the user’s human rights:


“with offences involving the possession, purchase or cultivation of illicit drugs for the offender’s personal use, the measures can be applied as complete alternatives to conviction and punishment”.


“In responding to the problem of drug use, many countries have introduced severe penalties for drug use and related crime, which have resulted in large numbers of people in prisons, compulsory treatment centres, or labour camps without significant long term impact on drug use, drug dependence or drug-related crime in the community and are in contradiction with human rights. At the same time, the long term incarceration of a large number of people who use drugs is expensive.” [70]


  • In Georgia, on 30th July, the Constitutional Court decided that punishment of the use of cannabis in private without a doctor’s prescription was in breach of Article 12 of the Constitution, which states ‘Everyone has the right to the free development of their personality’. The court found that the aims of protecting public health or public security could not justify state punishment of cannabis use in private. Penalising cultivation and possession for personal use were not contested in this case, and therefore not considered.


  • In South Africa, on 18th September, 10 judges of the Constitutional Court ruled that it was not reasonable to penalise an adult who cultivates, uses or possesses cannabis for personal consumption in private. The laws were incompatible with Article 14 of the Constitution, which states that ‘Everyone has the right to privacy which includes the right not to have […] their possessions seized’.


  • In Mexico, on 31st October, the Supreme Court gave its fifth judgement since 2015 stating that penalising private cultivation, possession and use of cannabis (and tetrahydrocannabinol) was unconstitutional, against the principle of free development of the personality.


“We’re seeing a new rationality in relation to drug laws,” says David Nutt of Imperial College London, a former UK government adviser on drugs who was asked to resign for telling the truth [evidenced below]. “At last some countries have the courage to admit that the ‘war on drugs’ is futile and does more harm than good.” [71]


“Essentially, it amounts to something like a right to self-determination: The state can't prevent you from say, eating junk lots of junk food, even if it's not great for your health. As long as you're not harming other people, you have the right to autonomy. And in this instance, the Supreme Court ruled that possessing and consuming marijuana falls under this category.”



On 10th March 2021, Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies legalised production of cannabis for industrial, medical, and recreational purposes. [73]


UK citizens have the same human rights as Mexican citizens, regardless of where they are located.


All three courts emphasised that any private use of cannabis should not be in the presence of children. The courts also commented on trends in international developments in cannabis policy and use. The Georgian court noted the increasing application of human rights law in modern legal standards, and the South African court ruled that such state interference is not justified ‘in open and democratic societies’. [74]


In the 1988 UN Convention against trafficking, Article 3(2) states that a country should criminalise possession and cultivation for personal use ‘subject to its constitutional principles’. The court in Mexico stated that it upheld the constitutional principle of free development of personality and considered it was still in line with the Convention. [75]


The European Convention on Human Rights, Article 8(1), states that ‘Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence’, with limits, and the ‘private life’ has been interpreted to include the right to develop one’s own personality. [76]




  • A drugs policy and human rights report was published by the Council of Europe in 2018:


“Just as drug policies must be responsive to emerging situations and new evidence, so too must they take into account the human rights outcomes of laws, policies and practices, both positive and negative.


In recent years the human rights dimensions of drug policy have become increasingly prominent. This has been due in large part to at least three main developments. The first is the increasing attention to drug use and drug related harm in the context of positive obligations under the right to the highest attainable standard of health (1). Second is the clear evidence in many countries of the negative human rights implications and consequences of drug enforcement, including issues of policing and sentencing, in particular the death penalty. The third, which has received considerable political and media attention, is the funding of drug enforcement in those States with documented poor human rights records.


(1) See, for example, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health, Anand Grover, UN Doc No. A/65/255, 6 August 2010.


The challenge for States is to ensure that their drug policies are effective in the guaranteeing of rights and effective in meeting their aims. For many years the UN General Assembly has stated that ‘countering the world drug problem’ must be carried out ‘in full conformity’ with human rights. This has been repeated in the outcome document of the UN General Assembly Special Session held in April 2016.” [77] [78]






The phrase ‘skunk’ has been used as a generic term that represents ‘high potency cannabis’, or cannabis that has up to 15% THC, undermining the true genetic identity of the plant.


Generally, the UK media cover cannabis accurately, but some of the headline writers occasionally overstep the mark. The Sun‘s article, “Scientists warn smoking ‘skunk’ cannabis wrecks brains,” and the Daily Mail‘s companion pieces, “Proof strong cannabis does harm your brain” and “cannabis TRIPLES psychosis risk,” were not based on sufficient evidence to justify the extravagant headlines.


‘The skunk examined by the researchers from King's College London was high potency - about 14% THC.’ [BBC] In reality, the researchers examined ‘street cannabis’ and found most had about 14% THC. [79]


Much of this publicity is inaccurate, describing the strain as a “super-weed” and even implying it is a new drug entirely.


Skunk is simply a variety of cannabis developed for indoor cultivation, producing hybrid plants, with early flower development and a pungent aroma. It was the first stabilised marijuana hybrid and has been bred since 1978. 


In the 1970s, growers in the US began to crossbreed short, mountain hashish strains, mostly from Afghanistan and Pakistan with the tall, potent sativa cannabis strains from Central and South America, and strains from tropical Asia. These cross breeds could be grown outdoors in marginal climates in the US such as northern California, in greenhouses in the Netherlands, and indoors under HID lamps.


Skunk #1 is a hybrid strain that has influenced cannabis on a global scale, Dutch growers have since refined and cross-bred the plants to produce a number of strains including Super Skunk, Early Girl, Northern Lights, and Jack Herer. [80]


A European review of cannabis potency in June 2004 concluded that the overall potency of cannabis products on the market had not increased significantly because imported cannabis dominated the market in most countries. However, as home-grown cannabis has become more widely available, especially in the UK, consumption of stronger varieties has increased. [81]




It has been reported that GW Pharmaceuticals now cultivates ‘Skunk #1’ in the UK to use in its medical cannabis products [evidenced below]. [82]






Cannabis can undoubtedly relieve stress and pain and as such has been used as a medicine historically [evidenced below].


Substantial media interest in the cases of two children with epilepsy prompted a rapid change in policy by the UK government. The law changed 4 months later, rescheduling cannabis based products for medicinal use (CBPM). [83]


Natural cannabis in its raw unaltered form is being rightly prescribed, but under the fraudulent 2018 Act [evidenced below] which makes using cannabis without a private prescription illegal.



When the government announced ‘medicinal’ cannabis is legal, they also included ‘medical’ cannabis by definition and execution [evidenced below].



The final Impact Assessment for the 2018 law change highlights the understanding that a ‘CBPM’ is simply ‘cannabis and ‘cannabinoids'. [86]


99. There is evidence of the potential harms from use of CBPM. For example, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the principal mind-altering constituent of cannabis etc.


The evidence submitted was a study published by the National Academy of Sciences, entitled ‘The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids’. [87]


At no point does this study refer to ‘cannabis based products for medicinal use’ or ‘CBPMs’. 


The study found substantial and moderate evidence proving cannabis is effective in treating many health conditions. They found substantial, moderate and inconclusive evidence of some adverse effects, of which limitations (chance, bias, and confounding factors) could not be ruled out with reasonable confidence.


The only conclusive evidence in the report;


“There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults (cannabis).”


“A firm conclusion can be made, and the limitations to the evidence, including chance, bias, and confounding factors, can be ruled out with reasonable confidence.” [87]


Growing and consuming ‘natural unlicenced cannabis’ for any personal reason is compatible with all points raised in the Impact Assessment which supports the 2018  law change, and is compatible with the government’s submitted evidence [evidenced above].




  • Prescriptions


‘Prescribed immunity from prosecution?’ 


Those who can afford a cannabis prescription are free to use herbal cannabis to relieve medical conditions. Those using cannabis who cannot afford a cannabis prescription should be charged and prosecuted according to the law. [88]



The NHS is free to prescribe cannabis as of 2018, but in July 2020 it was reported that there had been “no new NHS prescriptions for full-extract cannabis oil since the medicinal use of the drug was legalised more than 18 months ago”. [89]


In March 2021 a member of our research team, without any medical conditions, obtained a private prescription, and ordered and received an ounce of herbal cannabis via the legal medicinal route: at a complete cost of £450-£500. {Ev2-6} The cannabis was given to a cancer patient who uses cannabis but cannot afford a prescription. 


In contrast, another witness statement (anonymous and therefore potentially hearsay) states;

“I was quoted £800+ which is my monthly wage spent on half a month's medicine. I am back to purchasing on the dark web for £180.” {Wt22}




Lezley Gibson, who used cannabis to relieve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and her husband, Mark, were found growing cannabis in 2019 but prosecutors said they would offer no evidence.


The prosecution has told Carlisle Crown Court it was "not in the public interest" to proceed against the pair.


The couple's legal team submitted they had "no option" but to cultivate cannabis in their home as Ms Gibson was "unable to access an NHS prescription, while the cost of a private prescription was prohibitive".


For many years she had been prescribed Sativex, a spray containing cannabis plant extracts which was provided on the NHS and eased her suffering, before it was withdrawn. [90]




It’s easy to purchase cannabis legally online once you have a private prescription:

“CBPM Access is your one-stop-shop for Medical Cannabis!”


“Whether you require an imported medicine or a UK manufactured product, made in our state-of-art EU GMP facility, we have got you covered all the way.” [91]




Depending entirely on its use, this cannabis {Fig 1} can be legal or illegal; [92]


  • If you have paid for a private prescription and bought cannabis from a licenced manufacturer, {Fig 1} cannabis is a legal medicine. 


  • If you gave the cannabis {Fig 1} to a friend who did not have a private prescription, or grew the same cannabis at home, {Fig 1} it would be illegal and potentially considered as ‘skunk’ or ‘high THC cannabis’ that is ‘bad for you’ [evidenced above].


For long term cannabis users {Wt21}, “it’s great but also strange to hear that demonized hybrid strains of high THC and low CBD cannabis are getting sent in the post, legally, to people who smoke it like everyone else using medically or recreationally -  but only if they can pay the high prices.” {Fig 2} {Fig 3}




Users of cannabis for medical purposes who do not have a private prescription can purchase ‘unlicensed/illegal cannabis’ and avoid arrest and prosecution with a £30 ‘cannabis card’. [93]




{Fig 1}

Bedrocan Prescription.

Jack Herer

22% THC <1% CBD

£360 / Ounce



To compare costs:


For £52, a packet of 4 ‘Jack Herer’ seeds can produce plants containing the same health benefits as {Fig 1}. This could produce an estimated 3-5 ounces of medicine, which would cost over £1800 if purchased legally as per {Fig 1}. [94]


{Fig 2}

Receiving legal ‘high THC’ cannabis in the post, UK



{Fig 3} [Enlarged at the end of document]

Breath of Life: “Patient Pamphlet for the use of Medical Cannabis flowers.” (i.e, not medicinal cannabis) [95]



It states: ‘The flowers should be evaporated using a suitable vaporizer. The flowers can also be smoked.’




  • GW Pharmaceuticals:


Long before the 2018 law change, GW Pharmaceuticals received a licence from the Home Office in 1998 to cultivate, process and supply cannabis-based medicines in the UK, while cannabis remains in Schedule 1 for substances ‘of no medicinal or therapeutic value’.

[96] [97]


In March 2009, a thesis by David Potter was published [attached evidence].


Potter was the GW Pharmaceuticals CEO. He explained the process used to make their ‘Sativex’ spray.  


“GW Pharmaceuticals commenced clinical trials in the US in 2008, to evaluate the efficacy of the cannabis-based botanical medicine Sativex® for the control of pain in terminal cancer patients. If trials were successful, a New Drug Application (NDA) would be sought.”


“Since 2005 Sativex® has been available in the UK on a ‘named-patient’ basis, with the Home Office being notified of each recipient. Many other countries have since allowed prescription of the medicine on the same basis. The medicine contains two major cannabinoids, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), which both had reported pharmacological properties.”

Each ml of Sativex Spray contains:


38-44 mg and 35-42 mg of two extracts (as soft extracts) from Cannabis sativa L., folium cum flore (Cannabis leaf and flower) corresponding to 27mg THC and 25mg CBD.


Extraction solvent: Liquid carbon dioxide.


Each single 100 microlitre spray contains:


2.7 mg delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and 2.5 mg cannabidiol (CBD) from Cannabis sativa L. 





In 2012 (6 years before the law change), a ‘Freedom of Information’ request was made by Ms Bush. She requested the following information:

“Do you have information about Sativex (the drug with respect to which GW Pharma Limited was MHRA-licensed in June 2010) which would confirm that the principal ingredient is cannabis and that production processes make no alteration to the chemical structures of active constituents of cannabis?”

The request was refused under section 43 (Commercial Interests) of the Freedom of Information Act. It clarified its response: “We consider that the release of this information would harm the commercial interests of the manufacturer by giving away valuable information of how the active constituents are made to potential competitors. We have considered the public interest test and in our view there is no overriding public interest in releasing this information.

Comment has been sought on the issue of production processes from the manufacturer of Sativex, G W Pharma Ltd, and they have said:

“Sativex is a medicine which is an extract of Cannabis sativa L. GW Pharma Ltd are unable to confirm that the production process (for Sativex) make no alteration to the chemical structures of active constituents of cannabis.However, Sativex conforms to current regulatory requirements for quality, safety and efficacy, so as to be made available as a prescription medicine.””



New Scientist reports:

“In a vast glasshouse in the south of England, cannabis cultivator David Potter is rubbing a plant labelled “Skunk #1” to unleash its unique faecal odour. He is surrounded by different varieties, all in heady bloom under the light sensors, ceiling shades and lamps at GW Pharmaceuticals’ cannabis breeding and medicine production facility. It is the only firm able to grow the plant in the UK.” [100]




In June 2010, GW Pharmaceuticals announced that Sativex had been approved by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The company subsequently launched the drug in the market and GW Pharmaceuticals received a £10 million milestone payment from Bayer. [101]


GW earned $68.4 million in sales in their second quarter. [102]


Philip May’s company owns a significant share in GW. He is married to ex-prime minister Theresa May.


“Our goal is to capitalise on our plant cannabinoids system” - GW Pharmaceuticals, Annual Report for Investors 2019. [103]


“Theresa May’s Husband Set To Profit From New Cannabis Medicine After Government Relaxes Ban” [104]




Ministers Conflict:


Theresa May


  • After a former Conservative leader called for cannabis use to be decriminalised, in June 2019 a spokesman for Theresa May maintained that: “The harmful effects of cannabis are well known and there are no plans to legalise it.”, regardless of the law change and her husband's invested involvement in medical cannabis [evidenced above].





Victoria Atkins


In 2018, Victoria Atkins, the drug minister who is responsible for drugs policy, voluntarily excused herself from speaking on behalf of the government on cannabis and cannabinoids.  Atkins was accused of "hypocrisy on a grand scale" because her husband is the managing director of a legal cannabis farm operating in the UK. [106]


Atkins faced criticism over the “political vetting” of candidates for the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs after she blocked Niamh Eastwood, the director of the drug charity Release, from serving on the council. She also came under fire over her refusal to sanction an opioid related overdose prevention centre in Glasgow despite the wishes of local authorities and the SNP amid rising overdose deaths. [107] [108]


Both May and Atkins have broken Ministerial Code; [109] [110]


Ministerial Code: General Principles 


“Ministers must ensure that no conflict arises, or appears to arise, between their public duties and their private interests.”

“Ministers should be as open as possible with Parliament and the public, refusing to provide information only when disclosure would not be in the public interest, which should be decided in accordance with the relevant statutes and the Freedom of Information Act 2000”.






1533: King Henry VIII issued his first royal decree ordering farmers to set aside a section of their land to cultivate cannabis hemp as a strategic crop. [111]


1563: Queen Elizabeth decrees that landowners must grow cannabis hemp or pay a £5 fine.



1840: Abraham Lincoln used hemp seed oil to fuel his household lamps. [113]


1890: John Russell Reynolds prescribed a cannabis tincture for the menstrual cramps suffered by Queen Victoria. He noted in The Lancet:


“When pure and administered carefully, [cannabis] is one of the most valuable medicines we possess.” [114]


1916: U.S. Department of Agriculture publishes findings showing cannabis hemp produces 4 times more paper per acre than trees. [115]


1920: Dangerous Drugs Act 1920 was an act implemented by the UK Home Office a year later, issuing control over raw opium, morphine, cocaine, ecgonine and heroin (not alcohol, tobacco or cannabis). [116]


1928: William Randolph Hearst controlled a ‘journalist empire during this time’. [117]


In 1920 he purchased the Dexter Sulphite Pulp & Paper Company in New York state, a processing mill that bought wood from timber companies. [118]


It was widely known that Hearst ‘hated Mexicans’. [119]


A paper owned by William Randolph Hearst reported that “marijuana was known in India as the ‘murder drug,’ it was common for a man to ‘catch up a knife and run through the streets, hacking and killing every one’.” [120]




1930: Harry Anslinger, became the first director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. [121]


Once appointed, he began a widespread media campaign based on racism, sensationalism, and social control of racial minorities, stating:


“Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others.” [122] 


“The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”


“Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”


“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”


“You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”


“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”


Anslinger helped popularize the use of “marijuana” instead of the more common “cannabis,” to tie the drug to anti-Mexican prejudice. [123] [124]


Anslinger promoted a story of a young man named Victor Licata, who had hacked his family to death with an axe, supposedly while high on cannabis. It was discovered many years later, however, that Licata had a history of mental illness in his family, and there was no proof he ever used the drug. [125]


Anslinger's themes were mirrored in the propaganda film ‘Reefer Madness’. [126]


“Prior to the end of alcohol prohibition, Harry Anslinger had claimed that cannabis was not a problem, did not harm people, and "there is no more absurd fallacy" than the idea it makes people violent.” [Pp. 38-41 of Sloman, ‘Reefer Madness’]


1937: The Marijuana Tax Act placed a tax on all cannabis sales, including cannabis hemp, which made it incredibly hard for American farmers to cultivate the ‘wonder plant’.  [127]



Harry Anslinger’s influence played a major role in the introduction and passage of the Act. [Johann Hari, ‘Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.’]


The Act made it illegal to individually possess and sell cannabis, and anyone who bought, sold, imported, distributed, cultivated or prescribed it as medicine had to pay a tax. Anyone who did not pay the tax could be punished by either a fine of $2,000, 5 years in prison, or both. 



The Marijuana Tax Act was declared unconstitutional in 1969. [130]


1944: Fiorello La Guardia, who is widely regarded as the best mayor in New York City’s history, commissioned a study to investigate marijuana and its effects. [131]


‘La Guardia Committee’ spent five years collecting data, testing the effects of marijuana in controlled environments, and observing public marijuana use. [132]

It found science-based evidence to dispute unfounded claims made by Anslinger; 

“The practice of smoking marihuana does not lead to addiction in the medical sense of the word.”

“The use of marihuana does not lead to morphine or heroin or cocaine addiction and no effort is made to create a market for these narcotics by stimulating the practice of marihuana smoking. “


“Marihuana is not the determining factor in the commission of major crimes.”


“Juvenile delinquency is not associated with the practice of smoking marihuana.”


“The publicity concerning the catastrophic effects of marihuana smoking in New York City is unfounded.” [133]




77 years after La Guardia’s report, New York became the 15th state to legalize cannabis for all adult use in 2021. [134]


“The move paves the way for a potential $4.2 billion industry, with millions of dollars in sales tax revenue reinvested in minority communities.”


“40 percent of tax revenue from cannabis will be steered to minority communities that had disproportionate numbers of marijuana arrests”. [135]


1945: Newsweek reports more than 100,000 Americans smoke cannabis. [135]


1951: The United Nations Bulletin on Narcotic Drugs estimates there are 200 million cannabis users worldwide. [136]


1955: The World Health Organization produces ‘The Physical and Mental Effects of Cannabis’, which claims:


“under the influence of cannabis, the danger of committing unpremeditated murder is very great; it can happen in cold blood, without any reason or motive… often the murderer does not even know the victim, and simply kills for pleasure”


“The visual hallucinations which it produces lead marihuana smokers to defend themselves against imaginary enemies and therefore to become aggressive.”


“a cotton-picker of 25 years of age drank, then smoked a "reefer", picked up a 17 months old baby girl which had been left in the family car, violated and suffocated her; "the real criminal in this case is marihuana", said the murderer’s own counsel.” [137]


In contrast, 40 years later (1995), the World Health Organization’s report states:


"Unlike alcohol, cannabis does not produce cirrhosis for example. Moreover, in developed societies cannabis appears to play little role in injuries caused by violence, as does alcohol..” “Unlike tobacco, all the evidence suggests that the proportion of cannabis smokers who become daily smokers is substantially less than the proportion of tobacco smokers who do so." [138]




1961: In accordance with the recommendation of the World Health Organization (1955), the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was signed, criminalising cannabis by placing it in Schedule I and IV of the convention. [139]


It has been assumed that "possession" in Article 36 of the Convention includes possession for use as well as possession for trafficking purposes, however;

In 1972, the US National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse confirmed "the word ‘possession’ in Article 36 of the Convention refers not to possession for personal use but to possession as a link in illicit trafficking" and that measures such as "educational programs and similar approaches designed to discourage use could be employed to meet treaty obligations."

“..the commission does not recommend the legalization of marihuana but does recommend substantial changes in federal law. Nonprofit private use and distribution of marihuana would be tolerated and public possession of 1 oz. or less of the substance would not be punishable. However, cultivating, selling,or distributing for profit would remain felonies.”


“The commission claims that its recommendations eliminating penalties for possession are compatible with the obligation of the United States under the Single Convention of 1961.." [140]


The Canadian government commissioned an Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs, often referred to as the Le Dain Commission after its chair Dean Gerald Le Dain. The commission completed its work in 1972.


LeDain confirms:

“The costs to a significant number of individuals, the majority of whom are young people, and to society generally, of a policy of prohibition of simple possession are not justified by the potential for harm of cannabis and the additional influence which such a policy is likely to have upon perception of harm, demand and availability. We, therefore, recommend the repeal of the prohibition against the simple possession of cannabis.” [141]


1965: The UK’s Dangerous Drugs Act 1965 was ‘drafted in accordance with the 1961 United Nations Convention on Narcotic Drugs, consolidating previous drugs legislation’ according to Parliament. [142]

This made all drug penalties and substances equal - e.g. heroin/cannabis supply/possession were punished equally. [143]


1968: The UK Government commissioned the Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence to  conduct a report on both cannabis and LSD - the findings of the report were limited to cannabis. [144]


The report found;


“The Dangerous Drugs Act 1965 imposes the same penalties for unlawful possession as for unlawful supply. A high maximum penalty for possession has been justified in the past by the argument that it must allow for due punishment of the trafficker, who is more likely to be found in possession than in the act of supply.”


"The long term consumption of cannabis in moderate doses has no harmful effects”


“Cannabis is less dangerous than the opiates, amphetamines and barbiturates, and also less dangerous than alcohol.” 


“An increasing number of people, mainly young, in all classes of society are experimenting with this drug, and substantial numbers use it regularly for social pleasure. There is no evidence that this activity is causing violent crime, or is producing in otherwise normal people conditions of dependence or psychosis requiring medical treatment”


“..there are indications that (cannabis) may become a functional equivalent of alcohol."


[145] [146]


1969: Richard Nixon was elected the 37th President of the United States. 


When the Marijuana Tax Act was declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court, the Nixon administration formed a commission (‘Shafer Commission’) under the chairmanship of Raymond Shafer. [147] [148]


Nixon saw the commission as a means to once again establish the dangers of cannabis. To Nixon, the Shafer Commission was not for legitimate scientific inquiry, instead it was a ‘hit job’. The Nixon tapes revealed ‘the hit’ was directed at African Americans and the antiwar movement, two groups Nixon despised. [149]


In 1969, John Ehrlichman, a key White House policy advisor and senior advisor to Nixon, confirmed the ‘War on Drugs’ was rooted in racism:


"You want to know what this was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did." [150]




1971: Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (MDA) classification system was introduced in the UK, in accordance with the provisions and treaty commitments of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. [151]


The intention was that the classification system would evolve with the scientific evidence base, with independent scientific advice provided by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, who have a statutory duty to advise the Government about harmful drug use. 


There is no indication that the Advisory Council (ACMD) advice should exclude any harmful drugs on the basis of tradition.


Cannabis was placed in Schedule 1 with a Class B penalty and remains in those categories today. [152]


Substances contained in Schedule 1 are regarded as ‘those of no medicinal value’. 

The penalty for Class B possession is ‘up to 5 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both’. 



Despite scientific evidence, the harmful drugs ‘alcohol’ and ‘tobacco’ were not classified as harmful substances within the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and they still are not.


The House of Lords Chief Scientific Advisor said "the Advisory Council is aware that the Government has no intention of controlling tobacco and alcohol under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Alcohol and tobacco are so widely used in modern society that criminalisation of their supply and use is not considered appropriate". [154]


The Advisory Council’s Chairman said "the classification system for drugs does not mean that any of these substances are harmless. If they were (harmless), they would not be included in the Misuse of Drugs Act". Such a view is not compatible with evidenced-based statements such as the World Health Organization's that "More deaths are due to tobacco than to any other drug".  [155]


“In more than 30 year’s participation in the debate on cannabis policy, I have no idea what criteria, if any, the government uses to measure the efficacy of its policies.” [Peter Reynolds, Cannabis Law Reform] [156]


1998: GW Pharmaceuticals received a licence from the Home Office to cultivate, process and supply cannabis-based medicines in the UK, while cannabis remains in Schedule 1 for substances ‘of no medicinal value’. [157]




Deliberate ignorance:


A year before the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, the Home Secretary justified the Act to Parliament by saying:


“The object here is to make, so far as possible, a more sensible differentiation between drugs. It will divide them according to their accepted dangers and harmfulness in the light of current knowledge and it will provide for changes to be made in the classification in the light of new scientific knowledge.” [158]


Some of the scientific knowledge and evidence that has been ignored by the Government;


  • In 1999, The Police Federation published an ‘Independent Inquiry Into The Misuse of Drugs Act’, recommending cannabis should not be an imprisonable or arrestable offence:


Their ‘conclusions and recommendations on cannabis’;


“Weighing the harm from cannabis against the costs of the current system of control leads us to the conclusion that cannabis is in the wrong class in the Misuse of Drugs Act, both as a reflection of its dangers relative to other drugs and in respect of the penalties attached to its possession, cultivation and supply. International comparisons indicate that different approaches are possible within the United Nations Conventions, and do not pose significant risk of worsening the situation.”


“As long as cannabis is illegal and so widely used, it will be the drug that occurs most frequently in all enforcement activities against drug misuse, whatever their objective. Inevitably, cannabis offences and especially offences of cannabis possession, will dominate the operation of the law in statistical terms, reflecting very large numbers of arrests, prosecutions and criminal records. Despite this expense of time and resources by the courts, and especially the police, there is little evidence of the law's effectiveness as a deterrent. While we have accepted that the police need to retain the powers of stop and search conferred by the Misuse of Drugs Act, we have seen no evidence to persuade us that they need to retain the power of arrest following the discovery of cannabis, whether as a result of stop and search or other operations.”


“There can be no doubt that, in implementing the law, the present concentration on cannabis weakens respect for the law. We have encountered a wide sense of unease, indeed scepticism, about the present control regime in relation to cannabis. It inhibits accurate education about the relative risks of different drugs including the risks of cannabis itself. It gives large numbers of otherwise law-abiding people a criminal record. It inordinately penalises and marginalises young people for what might be little more than youthful experimentation. It bears most heavily on young people in the streets of inner cities who are also more likely to be poor and members of minority ethnic communities. The evidence strongly indicates that the current law and its operation creates more harm than the drug itself.” [159]


  • In 2002, the Advisory Council’s review of the classification of cannabis concluded that "the high use of cannabis is not associated with major health problems for the individual or society". 


This suggests harmful cannabis use is not "sufficient to constitute a social problem", which is the criteria required by the Misuse of Drugs Act. The Advisory Council report continued, "cannabis is not a harmless substance" and consequently recommended that cannabis remained prohibited, without assessing the option of licensed regulation. [160]


“These harmful effects of cannabis, however, are very substantially less than those associated with similar use of other drugs”.


“It is not possible to state, with certainty, whether or not cannabis use predisposes to dependence on Class A drugs such as heroin or crack cocaine. Nevertheless, the risks (if any) are small and less than those associated with the use of tobacco or alcohol.”



  • In 2003, ‘A Scientifically Based Scale of Harm for all Social Drugs’ was produced by Colin Blakemore, Chief Executive Medical Research Council:


“The acceptability of social drugs varies from culture to culture around the world, so there is no sharp global distinction between legal and illegal drugs. Alcohol is legal in the UK but not in some Muslim countries.”


“Alcohol and tobacco are likely to be at or near the top of the comparative scale of harm for every criterion listed. This must be kept in mind when framing attitudes to other drugs, which are currently illegal and consequently viewed as unacceptable by society.”


“The present classification of drugs makes little sense. It is antiquated and reflects the prejudices and misconceptions of an era in which drugs were placed in arbitrary categories with notable, often illogical, consequences.” [162]


  • In 2006, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published a report highlighting the lack of science behind the Misuse of Drugs Act classification system:


“With respect to the ABC classification system, we have identified significant anomalies in the classification of individual drugs and a regrettable lack of consistency in the rationale used to make classification decisions.”


“We have found no convincing evidence for the deterrent effect, which is widely seen as underpinning the Government's classification policy, and have criticised the Government for failing to meet its commitments to evidence based policy making in this area. More generally, the weakness of the evidence base on addiction and drug abuse is a severe hindrance to effective policy making and we have therefore urged the Government to increase significantly its investment in research.”


“The Government's desire to use the Class of a particular drug to send out a signal to potential users or dealers does not sit comfortably with the claim that the primary objective of the classification system is to categorise drugs according to the comparative harm associated with their misuse. It is also incompatible with the Government's stated commitment to evidence based policy making since it has never undertaken research to establish the relationship between the Class of a drug and the signal sent out and there is, therefore, no evidence base on which to draw in making these policy decisions.”


“Finally, we have concluded that the current classification system is not fit for purpose and should be replaced with a more scientifically based scale of harm… we urge the Home Secretary to honour his predecessor’s commitment to review the current system, and to do so without further delay.”


  • In 2007, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs were asked ‘to review the classification of cannabis in the light of real public concern about the potential mental health effects of cannabis use and, in particular, the use of stronger strains of the drug.’


They state:


“Gateway theory - The Council does not consider the risks of progression to Class A drugs as a consequence of using cannabis to be substantial; and considers that such risks are likely to be less than those associated with the use of alcohol and tobacco”


“Anxiety and depression - The Council remains unconvinced that there is a causal relationship between the use of cannabis and the development of any affective disorder.”


“Anti-social behaviour is an unlikely consequence of the known psychological effects of cannabis itself (Section 9.5). There is, however, a clear perception among the public that cannabis is associated with anti-social behaviour. In the opinion of experts on the Council, anti-social behaviour is probably largely exacerbated by alcohol. It is therefore possible that the public regard smoking cannabis in the presence of others as, in itself, a form of anti-social behaviour.”


“Only a minority of young people who use cannabis will develop a psychotic illness. Hickman and colleagues estimate that around 5,000 young men, or 20,000 young women, would need to be prevented from using cannabis to avoid one person developing schizophrenia.” [163]


Prof Blakemore & Prof Nutt: Committee on Science and Technology written evidence:



“The current classification system has evolved in an unsystematic way from somewhat arbitrary foundations with seemingly little scientific basis.”


“The correlation between the Misuse of Drugs Act classification and harm rating was not statistically significant.”


“Alcohol [and] tobacco … were ranked as more harmful than LSD.”


“Our findings reveal no clear distinction between socially accepted and illicit substances.”


  • In 2009, the Home Secretary asked Professor Nutt to resign as chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.


He published a paper stating alcohol and tobacco are more damaging than cannabis and LSD, which didn’t coincide with what the government wanted to portray:


“Alcohol ranks as the fifth most harmful drug after heroin, cocaine, barbiturates and methadone. Tobacco is ranked ninth"


"Cannabis, LSD and ecstasy, while harmful, are ranked lower at 11, 14 and 18 respectively."



A Home Office spokesperson said: "...surprise and disappointment over Professor Nutt's comments which damage efforts to give the public clear messages about the dangers of drugs,” and "We remain determined to crack down on all illegal substances and minimise their harm to health and society as a whole." [166]


Richard Garside, director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King's College London, where Professor Nutt made his comments, said: "I'm dismayed that the Home Secretary appears to believe that political calculation trumps honest and informed scientific opinion. The message is that, when it comes to the Home Office's relationship with the research community, honest researchers should be seen but not heard." He added it was "a bad day for science and for the cause of evidence-informed policy making".


“Chief scientific advisers (CSA), tasked with providing UK government departments with evidence-based policy advice, are often overlooked or bypassed completely.”



  • In 2009, the United Nations Office On Drugs And Crime confirmed any criminalisation involving the possession, purchase or cultivation of illicit drugs for personal use is against the user’s human rights:


“with offences involving the possession, purchase or cultivation of illicit drugs for the offender’s personal use, the measures can be applied as complete alternatives to conviction and punishment”.


“In responding to the problem of drug use, many countries have introduced severe penalties for drug use and related crime, which have resulted in large numbers of people in prisons, compulsory treatment centres, or labour camps without significant long term impact on drug use, drug dependence or drug-related crime in the community and are in contradiction with human rights. At the same time, the long term incarceration of a large number of people who use drugs is expensive.” [168]


  • In 2017, the Health and Medicine Division produced a report ‘The Health Effects of

Cannabis and Cannabinoids’.


“A firm conclusion can be made, and the limitations to the evidence, including chance, bias, and confounding factors, can be ruled out with reasonable confidence.”


“There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults (cannabis)”


This was the only conclusive evidence in the report, all other evidence in the report was inconclusive but included ‘moderate’ and ‘limited’ evidence:


“There is moderate evidence of no statistical association between cannabis use and: Incidence of lung cancer (cannabis smoking) (5-1), and Incidence of head and neck cancers.”


“There is no or insufficient evidence to support or refute a statistical association between cannabis use and incidence of esophageal cancer (cannabis smoking), Incidence of prostate cancer, cervical cancer, malignant gliomas, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, penile cancer, anal cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or bladder cancer.”  [169]




Potential Confusion:


The government need not advocate or affiliate the recreational use of cannabis when announcing its decriminalisation. The government is free to continue to discourage the use of cannabis, contrary to scientific evidence; so long as public interest is adhered to, human rights are respected and police operate lawfully and with due diligence.


Prescribed medicine should be tested and regulated. The sale of cannabis would require legalisation, regulation and taxation in a similar way to food and alcohol - however, the production, consumption and possession for personal use need not be regulated in a similar way to food and alcohol.


The consumption of cannabis is the personal choice of the user, insignificantly impacting society as a whole. In fact, far greater social harm is incurred through the criminalisation of cannabis and the consequential ‘black market’. The likelihood of harm to the user is much lower than legal drugs such as tobacco and alcohol, and as such, the government displays gross hypocrisy, injustice, and prejudice by criminalising its use.


The Police may or may not understand the extent of their unlawful actions against communities, however all forces will have been notified of our intent before 8/06/21.






No one is suggesting that drugs are not harmful. The critical question is one of scale and degree. There is no scientific or logical argument that can support the prohibition of cannabis without supporting the prohibition of alcohol or other legal substances. 


For example, criminalisation of cannabis based on potential ‘self-harm’ caused by the user, should mean that the potential ‘self-harm’ for an alcohol user doesn’t exist, or is considerably less than that of a cannabis user. If this isn’t the case, one of the laws is clearly unjustified. 

The Misuse of Drugs Act is not based on harm, public interest, scientific knowledge or evidence.

For 50 years, The Misuse of Drugs Act (1971) has destroyed people's lives, failed to reduce drug consumption, increased harm, damaged public health, exacerbated social inequalities, increased social injustice, and undermined science - while the government repeatedly ignores evidence and calls for reform.


Our communities, family and friends deserve policies that are in the public's interest and promote human rights and social justice. 


There is more than enough evidence to suggest the need for urgent decriminalisation of cannabis. If this is not addressed in the true public interest before 08/07/2021, legal action will commence.


Civil claims against the police will commence for any police officer who makes an unlawful arrest in breach of their attestation or does not uphold a person's fundamental human rights.


The Police Federation’s Independent Inquiry into The Misuse Of Drugs Act states: 


“More than half of the arrests for cannabis offences result in a caution. We do not criticise the police for their extensive use of cautioning. It is currently the only realistic and proportional response.” “Without it, the courts would have ground to a halt.” [5]

If cannabis users did not accept their cautions, the government would be forced to reconsider their views in the interest of justice. 

50 years of the Misuse of Drugs Act is 50 years too many. Public interest must outweigh political interest.

Whilst assessing the impact to departments, agencies and public bodies involved in litigation, the action should commence to protect the public's rights and future costs of the parties involved.


EVIDENCE (non exhaustive):


{Wt1-19} Police witness statements

{Wt20} Recreational cannabis smoker Witness Statement

{Wt21} Long time cannabis user Witness Statement

{Wt22} Medical cannabis user statement *Hearsay*

{Ev1(Compilation)} Video Evidence. (temp redacted)

{Ev2-6 (Compilation)} Research team evidence of prescription with no medical conditions.