BBC Free Speech Should we legalise medicinal cannabis

we're going to move on now to our next question this one comes leaderboard Cena yeah it does all week free speech viewers have been going to free speech on Facebook flicking through to the audience questions page and looking through the many questions all of which have been submitted by you at home this is how it works people click the like on the questions they want to see on this show if we count up those likes to make this the leaderboard here it is published at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon there are the questions and there the number of likes they got the top question is from James Briggs with over a thousand likes he asked should we legalize medicinal cannabis okay so that's the question should we legalize medicinal cannabis start with you please Tim no no I can understand the case for those who are in tremendous pain and there should be some recourse for those people being out to access drugs that could help them to relieve that pain there's no denying that but the reality is that turning marijuana to something can get onto prescription creates a whole new market for it if you spend any time in California you see this you get people going to the doctor and saying I'm feeling Marley down national wink wink can I have a prescription for some cannabis and they always get it now this doesn't reduce the incidence of people using it it increases it but also it creates a market for new kinds of drugs if you legalize cannabis in that way you don't get people off harder things you simply encourage people to experiment with harder things I think the message we need to send to people is that drugs destroy lives but they are also a a moral choice which means that you end up becoming part of a criminal system which supports a child labor which supports gangsterism in foreign countries but also is about dropping out of society and dropping out of the system and I think that's the wrong message to send to people okay yeah gentleman up here in the stripy top the problem because it routes themselves because in the hands of criminals and the world drugs is filed it scores mean more harm than the actual drugs themselves it's one drug that supplied the lies drugs to sell most problems yeah I I completely disagree with your statement I really don't think a very personal story about this because my sister was a heroin addict for 12 years and I've seen firsthand how drugs tear apart families communities how they disturb children I mean if the devastation is massive and what I think we really need to do is to look more kindly upon addicts and actually get to the root of the issue around addiction which is often a backdrop of mental health issues social exclusion economic exclusion all sorts of things so I think we need to approach drugs in a different way I would come down with the full force of the law on on drug pushers and dealers but I think we need to take a much more holistic and kinder approach to people who do have addiction issues they don't want to give their name cannabis has helped me live with Crohn's disease since the age of 12 I've tried almost every treatment available none have come close to what cannabis does during a flare-up it puts Crohn's into a more controllable state it's my disease my daily pain and torment I should have the choice even my doctors have told me off the record not to stop so Amy do you think this person should stop well I think there are other other medications that can deal with be from it every single treatment this is the only thing that works well you know I have an open mind about certain things but I don't think that creating a market for legalized cannabis in all cases is is a good idea and that person is self-medicating which is never a good thing to do told them not to stop and they've tried every single treatment but let's bring Peter Reynolds in now Peter you are the leader of clear you want cannabis law reform absolutely explain why and most urgently formed please the people who needed his medicine Crohn's is an excellent example the effects of cannabis on Crohn's are absolutely miraculous there are clinical trials taking place in Israel at the moment on this subject but what most people don't realize is that a hundred years ago half of all the medicines that you could get in this country contained cannabis for a wide range of conditions and it's only 80 years ago that we started this completely ridiculous experiment of banning cannabis and no basis at all except on the basis of prejudice and again it's only 30 years ago the science has begun to explain why cannabis is so effective for such a wide range of conditions and what we advocate is very simple and I think in arguable and that is that if a doctor wants to prescribe cannabis based on its professional judgment then he should be able to do so and the fact of the matter is that because there's so much it's just it's not true that they can know there's a cannabis medicine called sativex okay which is existed in this country now has been legal in this country for about five or six years and it's a spray it's a spray okay but the ridiculous thing is we are the only country in the world that is a licensed to major pharmaceutical company to grow cannabis for medicine and yet our government our home office tells you there's no medicinal value in cannabis so what we want is we want doctors to be able to prescribe cannabis and as I say science has now begun to explain why cannabis is so effective for such a wide range of conditions we all have something in our body called the endocannabinoid system and cannabis modulates this and the endocannabinoid system controls that gastrointestinal system groans you can drive our cardiovascular system I think maybe we'll do this later yelling there's obviously some clear benefits or medicinal use but where do you draw the line to ensure that access doesn't become easy for and recreational purposes and lead to potentially situations like Amy discussed you know even professor les Iverson who's the government's the chair of the government's advisory panel says that cannabis is a safer drug than aspirin and can be used to be used without any doesn't give you schizophrenia yes you're walking straight into the Daily Mail caricature no no it isn't true you look at the statistics anybody in this country is six times more likely to be admitted to hospital for mental and behavioral problems related to alcohol and for cannabis another drug on the market because people are using that first drug we're talking about here tonight so we're talking about MIT there are very strong arguments for legalizing cannabis for adults all rounds very strong but here tonight we're talking about medicinal use and it is outrageous that politicians and civil servants can interfere with the doctors professional judgments and try and override what a doctor wants to prescribe for his patients I think we've got to be very careful I think there's there's two extremes to this debate one is legalized everything yeah let's go to the corner shop and buy some crack cocaine why not you know and the other is being very dogmatic in this debate and I think there is a middle ground I agree with something that actually Nick Clegg's him who came back from Colombia on this very subject he said that that middle ground is going to be UN review into this the government's currently undergoing a review into this and there is a serious question about looking at cannabis because it isn't statistically as you've said correctly it doesn't lead to as much social damage or health damage and consequences of alcohol it has a medicinal purpose we're talking here very very specifically not about legalization but decriminalization and changing the debate from being one of law and order to health it's a health question and and like any any other health question look if someone's an alcoholic we don't start saying this ban alcohol we say they need rehabilitation if on the off chance someone gets addicted to cannabis which is less addictive than alcohol as less social consequences then they can go to rehab like everyone else does when they're addicted to alcohol and cigarettes but actually it's better for your health and both of those two we're talking here very specifically is overwhelming okay I mean for instance I'm gonna chat to the police about this Alex Marshall as a police officer where do you stand as we heard earlier it's the government that make laws and it's for the police to enforce those laws so the police don't have a role in making the laws there's no doubting the harm done to communities from drug dealing and organized crime but I think it's interesting for a medical point of view in medicine the the established practices you always test things thoroughly and you have a scientific basis for a treatment that a doctor prescribes in policing I'm from the College of policing we're doing research and policing issues to make sure that the policing approaches we use stop and search being an example we heard about earlier are based on sound evidence not on judging people by the way they look but on the evidence of actually what works so I think you should always look at the evidence in these things but ultimately the laws are made by government not by the police sister coming in online this from someone called young Glennon I think cannabis should be legalized tolerated Tim needs to leave his elitist fantasy world and visit the Netherlands cannabis let's have a look at the power bar see what people don't think should we legalize medicinal cannabis that's what we've been asking me online audience 66% free speech yes interesting yeah John sort of back here well I want to start off by saying I think cannabis is miraculous because I read a story about a young girl and 1 million dollars worth of Diagnostics in America wasn't able to diagnose her condition and yet a few drops of marijuana oil the dissolve oil managed to cure a number of something around 100 seizures a month to having only 3 and they were all in her sleep and I want to point out actually a society see between alcohol and weed and I want to address him on this one because he said if it was about any if it was medicinal you could just go to your doctor and be like oh I'm in pain I need a little bit of drug well if about alcohol you don't even have to go to lie to your doctor you can just go to the shop and buy it and you can drink as much as you want and it kills people we has never killed anybody alcohol is bad people abuse it and it kills people so that's bad that is not an argument that is that is not an argument for legalizing a different kind of drug also alcohol is part of our society if we did try and restricted or baños if we did try to restrict or ban it that would have extraordinary societal effects as they saw in 1920s in America if we tried to legalize drugs it'll have extrordinary societal effects because we have not traditionally and a society it'll have a massive massive effect that we cannot predict one at a time Louisa I think another just edged I'm all for legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes not for recreational purposes and but I think there's another side to this argument actually where they if you have a problem like Crohn's you can just you can just grow the weed yourself and actually from a corrupt government point of view think about how much money our government makes from pharmaceutical companies and how much of a vested interest our government has in pharmaceutical company and when you do legalize something like weed for medicinal purposes if you go into a whole nother shady area of grey where actually people can self prescribe and country themselves and where the government then would lose out on a huge amount of money from prescribing the you know legal drugs yes in the road alcohol being part of our society that's only because of its long-standing history if it was discovered today would we be so accepting of the fact that causes lung cancer and like alcohol has such long effects in society it's only because of its history a arguing against that if we discovered alcohol today and it never existed before I would say it should be illegal we've got some we've got some case studies in the states where they have experimented with the legalization of marijuana or cannabis and what they've discovered is that generally and these you know this isn't necessarily that going to be the case going forward but at the moment as it stands that there hasn't been a mass surge of people getting addicted to it they've saved a lot of money by taxing and this is to Louise's point actually they started taxing the trading cannabis and they raised a lot of money out of this because surprisingly Tim lots of people are on weed whether in Britain or in America and then finally the gangsters that the gangs the organized crime element they basically deprived them of a lot of money as well I think it makes economic sense and makes social sense I for one I'm standing for Parliament answering the police point here standing for Parliament in Hampstead and kill them I will campaign on the legalization of minutes nor cannabis and that's something I've decided long time ago even before this debate this is all a business to the government because I thought our debate wasn't on the medicine medicine or side of it you just mentioned that they they tax it so does that mean that we are looking at the economic benefits over the benefits of the people because I think that I think what laws should be on like I think to a lot about the government I think people don't realize how much influence the government does have and how much money is made from alcohol cigarettes and how much money they would lose out on if you allowed kind of this for medicinal use people would just self grow it's also a valid point because any taxation on this goes back into the health industry and so you say and then you deprive organized-crime of lots and lots of their revenues which is a huge problem when you talk about sort of the consequences social consequences and economic costs to society by policing organized crime and the cost of society let's let's be real you know drugs generally when we talk about regulating them it's a huge industry and I think that on top of that if you add that to the health benefits this also that wrote in anonymously who's living in pain you know they that people have to be allowed to decide what to do with their own bodies when it comes to things as innocuous as innocuous as medicinal medicinal cannabis is it's not crack cocaine is not crack cocaine ice cream we're gonna move on to our next question you might