Request for information in regards to a government agreement, and petitions involving cannabis

Cefyn Jones made this Freedom of Information request to Office of the Leader of the House of Lords Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Office of the Leader of the House of Lords should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Office of the Leader of the House of Lords,

Since January 2019 there has been an over 50% approval rating for a discussion about drug policy, specifically in regards to cannabis possession, use, and cultivation. That is represented by those who want to talk about legalisation and those who want to talk about decriminalisation.

Statista poll - Cannabis and soft drugs policy preference in Great Britain from 2019 to 2023 (Question originally worded by the source as follows: "With regard to soft drugs such as cannabis, which of these statements comes closest to your own view?): https://www.statista.com/statistics/1297...

Since 2020, there have been 202 petitions regarding cannabis, launched through petition.parliament.uk

petition.parliament.uk page for petitions containing the word "cannabis":
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions...

Someone obviously wants a conversation, but there's an issue.

There is an agreement, possibly a Public-Private Partnership (with global intentions), between GW Pharmaceuticals and the British Government.

That agreement started in January 1998, when the Home Office asked Dr Geoffrey Guy to provide a business plan for researching medicinal cannabis with government funding. He then received a cannabis growing license from the Home Office in June of that year after he had given them a 22-point plan to regulate and control cannabis in the UK

The Medicinalization of Cannabis (P.37 bottom paragraph): https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/20...

That license covered a premises in Porton Down, for a company that only appeared on companies house 6 months after the license was awarded.

Media Awareness Project: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98/n447/... (High security, Special Branch)

Companies house - GW Pharmaceuticals: https://find-and-update.company-informat... (Company incorporation date)

Companies house showing GW assigning their Porton Down base as their main office on 07/03/2000: https://find-and-update.company-informat...

I mentioned funding, that was ok'd by the House of Lords Science and Technology - Ninth Report.

House of Lords Science and Technology - Ninth Report: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld...

There is every shred of evidence to show that there is an agreement beyond that, which would not only explain why all petitions in regards to cannabis get rejected, and why politicians are trained to use 'Skunk' as a control word that protects GW Pharmaceuticals IP and interests, it would also explain why the hemp and CBD industry has been blatantly attacked by various regulatory authorities since GW perceived it as a threat in 2015.

That year is when Epidiolex entered Phase III trials, a preparation that is predominantly CBD in a carrier oil.

Further to that, it would also explain why some politicians have escaped scrutiny for their highly publicised connections to cannabis firms while being in a position of power over cannabis, near the point where medicinal cannabis was legalised in the UK.

Whilst there's someone who wants a conversation about cannabis, it's apparent that politicians don't. It's not just the Conservatives either, and it's very noticeable that Labour, who were in power when GW Pharmaceuticals received their growing license, use the same language when dismissing any conversation about cannabis.

Whilst there is every evidence to show there is an agreement in place, which includes conflicted academics being placed in key panels to formulate policy for the benefit of GW, there is no actual file/website/piece of paper that I can find that says the Government 'has' an agreement with GW Pharmaceuticals.

So, may I please make the following requests:

1 - Can you confirm whether there is, or has been, an agreement in place, PPP or otherwise between GW Pharmaceuticals (now owned by Jazz Pharmaceuticals) and the British Government from 01/01/1998 to the present day (03/01/24)?

2 - Can you provide any details of any agreement that has been or still is in place, PPP or otherwise, between GW Pharmaceuticals (now owned by Jazz Pharmaceuticals) and the British Government from 01/01/1998 to the present day (03/01/24)?

This should include terms, conditions, and when the public is expecting to see a return from that agreement.

3 - Could you provide details of any Public Interest Test employed when determining any response for any petition?

4 - Can you confirm if the Home Office rejected petitions that focused on cannabis in some way between 2020 and today's date (03/01/24), or whether they were directed to do so by the petitions committee, or from your office?

Can I just finish by stating this FOI is nothing to do with the legalisation of decriminalisation of cannabis use, it's purely to understand the dynamics of an agreement which is denying the public a conversation about cannabis. The reasons are clear to see, but if the public are to be denied that conversation, it's only fair that 'they' should understand why, and know who that move benefits.

Kind regards,

Cefyn Jones