Dr. P Robson, Chilton Clinic, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX
"The robust weed christened Cannabis sativa by Linnaeus was humankind's first non-food crop, and the medicinal and psychoactive properties of the resin exuded from the flowering tops of the female plants have been recognised for at least 8000 years.1 Today in Britain it is easily the most prevalent illicit drug; more than a third of A level students and over 50% of Oxford University undergraduates say they have sampled it. On the other hand, its classification within Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations (1985) denies British doctors the right to prescribe it under any circumstances, and effectively rules out prospective research on human volunteers or patients which might clarify its properties, both beneficial and adverse."
Also see: Robson P. Drug policy---a need for change? Forbidden drugs. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994;.
"The illegality of cannabis forms part of the windfall to organised crime that prohibition provides, criminalises a section of the population who would not otherwise dream of committing any offence, and necessitates contact with the underworld to obtain a supply. Alcohol and tobacco are arguably more toxic and addictive than cannabis, and the intoxication associated with alcohol is much more dangerous and disruptive. Internal restraint reinforced by family, peer, and cultural pressure (which restrains alcohol use effectively in most of the population despite unprecedented availability and promotion) is far more powerful than external restraint (that is, legal coercion)."
"Growing cannabis in the greenhouse for personal consumption is a classic `victimless crime'; it may prove damaging to the individual, but eggs and cream are not controlled just because overindulgence may cause heart attacks. Cannabis has been valued as a medicine for thousands of years---why veto it now in preference for more toxic and expensive alternatives? Scheduling a drug used by millions of people in such a way as to prevent human research into its risks and benefits does not seem rational."
"Problem drug use, which is often associated with delinquency, teenage pregnancy, and school dropout, is much more likely to be a symptom than a cause of personal and social maladjustment."
"Given the existing prevalence of cannabis use, the complete absence of coordinated and controlled human research into the possible beneficial and adverse effects seems indefensible. Many doctors believe that cannabis and its derivatives should be available once again on prescription.30 Decriminalisation appears politically unacceptable to all three UK parties for the time being but, in my opinion, the UK Government should open the door to both scientific investigation and medical use by rescheduling cannabis and its derivatives under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations at the earliest opportunity."