Dear Dr Reid, 11 May 2006

I hope that during the year you will agree to meet with representatives from the Legalise Cannabis Alliance and other cannabis groups.

I shall be writing to you in the near future to explain the reasons why we requested a meeting, agreed to by Mr Clarke, and why Mr Clarke in turn invited me to meet with him at the Home Office.

My letter will expand upon those questions, but in brief now I would point out that although we are aware that our opinions differ on the desirability of changing the legal status of the cannabis plant, its possession, cultivation and supply.

Although he Government’s stance on cannabis is unlikely to change in the near future, and whereas very few people from either side can really say that they are “happy” with the present situation in the UK, and whereas we feel we may be able to make positive contributions towards tackling some of the problems presently perceived as caused by cannabis consumption and / or the law itself, we feel that a meeting between yourself and LCA is not only in line with policies on such meetings between government and NGO’s, but would lead to progressive moves to improve the present situation and its problems. A hand across the table?

In particular we are concerned that large numbers of people, who have done no harm to anyone or their property, are being arrested and prosecuted. We are convinced that the purpose of the law is to decrease or prevent harm, not to cause greater harm than the so-called “offence”.

Of even greater concern is that a large number of these people who are prosecuted claim to be growing, possessing and in some cases supplying (eg THC4MS, Jeffrey Ditchfield, Tony Taylor) cannabis, purely without profit, for the sole purpose of medication, often with their doctor’s knowledge and approval. This is one of the greatest of injustices. I believe Mr Clarke recognised these injustices.

The LCA has been seeking an explanation from the Government, for some considerable number of years now, why it is deemed necessary to punish victimless cannabis users who have done no harm. Our invitations to the previous Home Secretary to speak at our conferences, were not accepted due to previous diary commitments, hence Mr Clarke’s invitation to me to the Home Office. I hope that you will consider honouring that invitation.

Alun Buffry
Nominating Officer
Legalise Cannabis Alliance

Reply from Home Office - meeting on but not with John Reid

Reference: T22542/6
Date: 16 June 2006

Dear Mr Buffry,

Thank you for your letter of 11 May to the Home Secretary. It has been passed to the Home Office Crime and Drug Legislation and Enforcement Unit and I have been asked to reply.

You will be aware that the Legalise Cannabis Alliance has had a full exchange of correspondence with the Home Office in recent years on the matter of decriminalising or legalising cannabis, and associated issues. The Home Office’s position has been clearly set out in all replies.

You will also be aware that representatives from the LCA briefly met the then Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, on 7 March and that a further meeting had been scheduled but did not proceed following the arrival of John Reid as Home Secretary. My understanding is that Mr Clarke personally agreed to meet with the LCA, having undertaken to do so in the course of the 2005 Election, when Mr Don Barnard contested the then Home Secretary’s seat in Norwich. The current Home Secretary has declined such a meeting.

At an official level, we are happy to continue a dialogue with the LCA, although it is clear that there is little middle ground between the Government’s position and the LCA. However, if the LCA considers that a “face to face” meeting with officials from the Crime and Drug Legislation and Enforcement Unit will benefit that dialogue, then we are willing to offer such a meeting.

We have recently received a few similar requests from other members of the LCA for a meeting. We have replied in similar terms to those requests and therefore ask you to share this letter with your colleagues, including Mr Barnard, Mr Winston Matthews and Mr Rocky van de Benderskum, and for LCA to provide a corporate response to confirm whether representatives wish to meet with officials, who would be attending any such meeting and the specific issues which LCA will wish to present. We can then take the matter further.

Yours sincerely,
Angela Scrutton

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