By Greg de Hoedt
Liverpool Crown Court Judge Thomas Teague has recently made claims that the use of cannabis causes the brain to rot. Draconian Judges obviously only read what’s left down the pub and that’s not the latest cannabis science!
After a commercial scale grow was raided in St Helens and four rooms full of cannabis were discovered to what the police estimate at 10kilos and £192,000 on the street, 42 year old Leslie Haury was arrested as the gardener. See original article here.
Haury claimed was that he was just looking after the plants for a man he had met down the pub but forensic evidence showed that his fingerprints were all around the opperation and on equipment. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison. This sentence was reduced due to the ill health of his parents, for whom he is a carer.
Judge Teague stated that only a custodial sentenced was justified.
“Anyone who takes cannabis is rotting their brain.” Was the remark made by Judge Thomas Teague at Liverpool Crown Court at the sentencing.
If cannabis rots your brain what good is a custodial prison sentence going to do you? Is growing a plant really as harmful, dangerous and threatening to society as the three men sentenced two weeks earlier by Liverpool’s Judge Everett for attacking a father of three and leaving him with a broken eye socket? No, growing plants is not more of a risk to the public but if a violent offender has used cannabis in his life you can bet they are going to take the opportunity to make that look like the reason he did it.
Of course, it’s easy to blame the cannabis rather than take responsibility for your own actions…The justice system not only accepts this but encourages it.
During the Home Affairs Select Committee’s review on drugs which Prime Minister David Cameron flat out refused to read (but was happy to spend your money on), Pf David Nutt ex-chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs told the panel of MPs that cannabis was a “far safer” recreational drug to consume than alcohol, and that “25% of people using alcohol would probably switch to cannabis for that reason if it was made legal or decriminalised.”
Prof Nutt also stated that alcohol misuse and abuse is one of the leading causes of domestic violence accounting for up to 60% of it. We know that alcohol damages brain cells and is not good for the developing foetus. It is directly attributed to an epilepsy epidemic known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder causing seizures which over even just a short number of years causes significant, irreparable brain damage. Ben Whalley of Reading University and GW Pharmaceiticals earlier this year published that they have isolated 12 cannabinoids that play an active role in treating epilepsy and seizure disorders.
Going by Judge Everett and Judge Teague’s logic that cannabis rots the brain and makes you violent – anyone who drinks is rotting their brain and anyone who works in a brewery should be looking at custodial sentences for producing such a destructive drug that has and is ruining thousands of lives born and unborn (those that do not have a chance to stop the damage being done to them by a society that chooses to look at everything backwards).
Unfortunately for these two ill informed Judges at Liverpool Crown Court they have got their information on cannabis very backwards.
On October 13th 2005 Weng Jiang et al published the paper “Cannabinoids promote embryonic and adult hippocampus neurogenesis and produce anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like effects”. They were studying the damage of cannabis on the hippocampus (part of the brain that forms memories) as other drugs tend to damage neurogenesis (cell generation) in this part of the brain. Instead of damaging the brain cannabis actually promotes the process to create new cells.
If that wasn’t enough evidence for you the United States Government have also got a number of patents on cannabinoids – even though you cant patent a plant you can patent the use of the plant for a particular reason – in this case we shall look at U.S. Patent # 6630507or “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants”.
“Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.”
So hang on…Judges Everett and Teague are claiming cannabis is “evil” and is “rotting [your] brain” by generating new brain cells and protecting existing ones from age related and autoimmune diseases…which rot the brain?
Sarah Martin is a patient who suffers with MS. For over a decade she has been in a battle with the NHS and UK Home Office to try and receive cannabis on prescription like patients in the Netherlands are able to. Last year Sarah was able to finally get access to a cannabis medicine produced in the UK by GW Pharmaceuticals called Sativex. Sativex is an alcohol tincture in a pressurised measured dose spray bottle of THC and CBD.
“If you’re a patient request it, if you are a Doctor – prescribe it, it makes all the difference to your patients…it really is a wonder drug”
At the West Midlands Cannabis Community first public meeting Sarah said “Having access to Sativex has saved my life”.
The fact that Sarah was previously considered a criminal and is considered a criminal if she uses herbal cannabis has only made her life harder when simple safe access would have not only avoided unnecessary stress and discomfort for over 10 years, but for the NHS who need to help patients and Government who are responsible for making her medicine so hard to obtain and hold on to when she does get hold of it. She lives in a constant of not knowing if her disease modifying medication is going to be taken away from her again.
High Profile Judges
If Judges want to continue making remarks about the scientific nature and pharmacology of cannabis then it would be wise for them to back up their very wild claims with evidence published and recognised by the scientific community.
21 months for a commercial cultivation is about the average across the country for someone acting as or claiming to be gardener – that’s £19k for the new prison place and £40k a year on top. The loss to the justice system if it is actually trying to achieve anything by locking people up for this so called “crime” is that the man down the pub who offered the job to the gardener, who would be getting the proceeds of the crime gets off completely free while another does the time that you pay the bill for.
This happens all too often with organised crime gangs that have more money and more people to convince down the pub to look after another grow somewhere else. The justice system is failing and if anything making the situation worse. People have lost their faith in it like they have lost their faith in the police force and the Government.
Even paedophiles have lower minimum sentences than cannabis growers.
How do we change this? Make yourself heard.