By Chris Bovey
Judge Richard Hone QC has joined the rush to see who can get the most absurd statement into the media concerning cannabis.
In recent times we have had Dr Faizal Mohammed claiming hash sold in Liverpool is laced with heroin, UN bureaucrat Raymond Yans and the INBC claiming cannabis law changes pose a ‘very grave danger to public health’, and pathologists in Bournemouth falsely claiming cannabis can kill.
Now enter Judge Richard Hone QC, who has made the most preposterous comparison, claiming there is little difference between powerful ‘skunk’ weed and hard drugs like heroin and crack cocaine.
Where do I start, aside from the obvious question as to what Judge Richard Hone is smoking? We can safely rule out cannabis, we can even rule out crack and heroin, since anyone who knows the slightest thing about these substances would know they are not similar.
Crack cocaine is a highly addictive freebase version of cocaine that, when smoked, acts as a very strong stimulant. Heroin, known colloquially as H, smack, horse, brown, etc., is an opioid and is also highly addictive. As with other opioids, diacetylmorphine is used as both an analgesic and a recreational drug. Frequent and regular administration is associated with tolerance and physical dependence. Incidentally, heroin users tend not to use cannabis anyway.
Cannabis is none of these things. It is a natural herbal substance that is not dangerous or physically addictive – these are scientific facts and Judge Richard Hone QC has clearly not done his homework.
Is Judge Richard Hone just looking for media headlines, or does he actually believe this tripe?
Judge Hone’s usage of the term “skunk” is sensationalist and misleading. Skunk is a generic term from California for the first Afghani (Indica) crosses which had just been created from the first imports of seed stocks from that region. These were crossed with the imported Mexican, Thai, Colombian and other pure Sativas to create true F1s which, yes, were very smelly.
Now, sadly, it is used as a scaremongering term by the media, politicians and now uninformed judges such as Richard Hone QC. I guess White Widow, Amnesia Kush or Neville’s Haze are less catchy if you have an agenda to demonise a natural beneficial plant.
Those opposed to reform of cannabis laws have been trying to make out cannabis has somehow changed and is different to the cannabis that David Cameron was smoking at Eton. This simply isn’t true; people have been using cannabis for thousands of years for its pleasant medicinal and recreational effects.
Furthermore Judge Richard Hone’s assertion that there is little difference between cannabis and crack cocaine or heroin is insulting to the millions of cannabis consumers in the UK, who use this herb without causing any harm to society whatsoever.
There is a serious side to this case though. Judge Richard Hone made these ridiculous comments as he sentenced a Vietnamese drug gang who ran the biggest cannabis farm in Europe.
These gangs are involved in the people trafficking of children; this is an abomination to any decent minded human being. They pay no taxes and furthermore the cannabis they produce is far from the high potency skunk Judge Richard Hone speaks of, but rather poor quality, sub-standard cannabis that is grown purely for the profits of organised criminal gangs. Legalisation would put an end to this evil trade overnight.
Police spend £500 million a year just to detect and raid cannabis farms, which in turn clogs up the Courts systems, wasting the time of Judges like Richard Hone QC.
Regulation of a legal cannabis market, as well as putting the child slave traffickers out of business, would ensure quality control at point of sale. The consumer would know exactly what they are buying, i.e., the THC:CBD ratio, what kind of effect it will have, if it is Indica or Sativa dominant, etc., These measures are being introduced in places like the USA precisely for the reason of harm reduction and to stop putting billions of dollars into the hands of organised crime.
Judge Richard Hone QC said – “In my judgement, the distinction between cultivated skunk and class A drugs is not a large one”. This is an ignorant and unscientific statement. If Judge Richard Hone really wants to put the Vietnamese gangs put out of business then he should call for Britain to follow the lead of Colorado or Uruguay and call for the prohibition of cannabis to end.
Cannabis has effectively been de facto legal in The Netherlands and sold in licensed coffeeshops since the seventies, so we know a country can function perfectly well with legal cannabis outlets.
Does Judge Richard Hone QC prefer that cannabis is produced and sold by Vietnamese gangs, who use children who were trafficked to the UK and forced to work for the criminal gangs? Or would he prefer a legal and regulated cannabis market, such as is being introduced in parts of the USA? I know which model I prefer, and it’s not the one that involves trafficking of children for slavery.