Ever since the Labour leadership changed in the summer of 2007 the writing has been on the wall for those British citizens who like to have their cannabinoid receptors tickled by smoking a joint.
First of all we were told the laws regarding cannabis were going to be 're-opened' with a view to seeing if cannabis caused more harm than it did the last time the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) were asked for their learned opinions.
On this occasion, Professor Sir Michael Rawlins FMedSci, who was the then chair of the ACMD, wrote to then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, saying;
In July 2007 you asked the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs 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. I have pleasure in enclosing the Council’s report.
You will note that, after a most careful scrutiny of the totality of the available evidence, the majority of the Council’s members consider – based on its harmfulness to individuals and society – that cannabis should remain a Class C substance. It is judged that the harmfulness of cannabis more closely equates with other Class C substances than with those currently classified as Class B.
Thats not to say the ACMD actually believes cannabis should ACTUALLY be illegal. But under the carefully worded conditions of the task in hand, the ACMD didn't see any reason to change the legal status of cannabis.
Indeed one former member of the ACMD went even further when he said;
‘There is no way that the ACMD would support any reclassification of cannabis, unless there were some political shenanigans going on."
Rev Blakeborough, a former member of the ACMD who runs the Kaleidoscope drug abuse charity , said: ‘There is no significantly new evidence to suggest that cannabis is any more harmful than in the last review we did 18 months ago.’
So it would appear, to paraphrase the Rev Blakeborough, there are some 'political shenanigans' going on because regardless of the advice given by the hugely respected members of the ACMD, the government decided to over-rule their advice and go ahead with the reclassification of cannabis, throwing doubt over the very existence of an advisory council which doesn't have their advice taken by those it was created for. Namely, the politicians who run the country.
So when, in August 2009, the ACMD was again asked for its advice concerning a legal high which goes by the name of 'Spice', the UK held its breath as it awaited the answer to the government's questions as to whether Spice should become a controlled substance like cannabis, the illicit drug its said to mimic.
Out with the old, in with the new
After a change at the helm of the ACMD, new 'chair' Professor David Nutt, (he who would later be sacked by the government for crossing the boundaries between 'advice and policy', said;
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has recommended that a legal herbal ‘high’ product sold on the high street and internet should be banned.
The Council warned that Spice Gold, which is advertised as an 'aromatic potpourri', contains a synthetic cannabinoid (JWH-018).
Spice Gold first arrived in the UK in 2006 from China, and costs about £20 for 3 grams. Its properties were only fully understood last December by the 'THC Pharm' laboratory in Germany, (a laboratory with a financial interest in the control of cannabis and cannabinoid technology), which develops medicinal cannabis.
The product has as a result, since been banned in Germany, Austria, Holland and France.
The chair of the ACMD also said “spice and other synthetic cannabinoid products are being sold legally as harmless 'herbal legal highs'. However, the herbal content is coated in one or more dangerous chemical compounds that mimic the effects of cannabis.”
So it would appear Spice contains 'dangerous compounds', although no one is actually saying why they are dangerous, nor indeed how. It appears no one has been killed by Spice, (nor even hospitalised - as is the case with those who choose alcohol - over 1200 of whom are hospitalised every single day in the UK).
So much like the cannabis debacle, the laws against Spice-like products are set to be changed, and regardless of any actual 'evidence' which shows alcohol to be far more dangerous than Spice, or indeed cannabis.
December 23rd 2009 is the actual day anything which contains a man-made cannabinoid analogue such as JWH-018 becomes a controlled substance, and if you would like to read the entire document, which lists a large amount of different chemical compounds, you can do so here .
In the meantime, if you can still find Spice on the shelves, you can still legally buy it, although to be fair ever since the ACMD gave their advice to government the product has been harder to come by.
There are of course many other products which do the same thing still available to buy. You need only look to eBay for your sources .
But remember December 23rd, as this is the day Police will set about cracking down on sales, so if it floats your boat, now would be a good time to think about stocking up.
December 2, 2009
CannaZine Cannabis News
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Spice artificial cannabis ban comes into force December 23rd 2009