Neil Woods on the ‘American’ drug policy

There’s a nice video, published by Business Insider UK of former undercover police officer Neil Woods (chairman of LEAP UK) talking about drug policy. Can’t embed the video, but here it is on Facebook.

Neil Woods: In the UK we used to lead the world in drug policy. It was called the British system, and it was a fairly simple premise – if someone has a problem with drugs, they get medical help.

That British system was destroyed by American moral imperialism. American foreign policy insisted that everyone follow their lead in how to deal with drugs, and that meant criminalising people.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Neil Woods on the ‘American’ drug policy

  1. Will says:

    Very good video from Neil Woods. His description of “American moral imperialism” is right on the money. But there is at least one thing I really wish Neil would help the British sort out;

    Most UK cannabis ‘super strength skunk’ (seriously BBC?)

    There are three main types of street cannabis – hash (hashish or resin), herbal cannabis (weed, grass or marijuana) and high-potency cannabis or skunk.

    Uh, no.

    ‘Skunk’ was merely a moniker applied to an early hybrid bred on the west coast of the US in the early ’70’s (yes, that particular odiferousness). Skunk #1 is arguably the most famously named of a cross supposedly between Columbian/Mexican/Afghani landrace strains (as I type this, I’m very much reminded of the sketchiness surrounding early strain descriptions and genetics, and even those of today). Skunk #1 was eventually ferreted out of the US to Holland where it became an integral part of early Dutch cannabis breeding, for better or worse depending on whom you ask. (The above description is old, stale news to many on the couch, I’m sure.)

    So, the description of ‘super strength skunk’ as some uber, scary form of cannabis is just nonsense. But those crazy Brits insist on doing just that, time and time again.

    • tensity1 says:

      All very true, Will, but I gave in years ago that it is simply how the Brits describe strong herb, much like Americans say ‘dro, top-shelf, fire, etc. The establishment is gonna establish and make things they don’t like sound scary and nasty. They can’t help themselves. Worldwide, dicks and assholes gonna be dicks and assholes.

      • Will says:

        I think there’s more going on that just coming up with a nickname for strong cannabis. By proclaiming that the majority of available cannabis in the UK is now around 14% THC, which is dubiously linked to increased psychotic episodes, prohibitionists can proclaim we have a new bogeyman to worry about. This is similar to Kevin Sabet arguing that today’s cannabis “isn’t your grandfather’s weed any more” and thusly needs to be kept illegal now more than ever.

        By the way, one of the definitions of a psychotic episode is feeling paranoid. I’ve known so many people (my wife included) who’ve felt paranoid after consuming Satan’s Cabbage. This feeling is fleeting and is remedied by consuming less the next time around.

        And if 14% THC cannabis is considered ‘super strength’ in the UK, they have some catching up to do (kidding!).

  2. jean valjean says:

    “Skunk” seems to be one of those words only used by lazy journalists. Everyone else in Britain refers to weed.

    Good video, but not getting wide coverage here. I wonder why? American moral imperialism and the witch-hunt for drug heretics is a world wide enterprise. Seeing Reagan’s face looming up on the video just rams this home.

  3. jean valjean says:

    Is this how drug “treatment” will look in the future under Trump, maybe with help from Sheriff Arpaio?

    • DdC says:

      This how drug “treatment” will look in the future under Trump

      Holy shit. The president of the United States just implied very clearly in front of TV cameras that he support executing people who sell illegal drugs. Tom Angell @tomangell

  4. StellaSplendidly says:

    God is watching us!

    A highly anticipated trial over public consumption charges at Denver’s International Church of Cannabis got underway on Wednesday morning, but the court proceedings ended about four hours after they began. The judge in the case, looking over a depleted jury pool, ruled that there were not enough prospective jurors to proceed, and declared a mistrial.

    The charges were filed after several undercover police officers entered the church and attended the April 20th event on the unofficial marijuana holiday. The church first had visiting hours for the public, and then held the private invitation-only service at 4:20 p.m.

  5. darkcycle says:

    They’ve swallowed the “Skunk” moniker nonsense whole. I’ve even tried talking to Peter Reynolds from the UK….he uses the term too, says it refers to cannabis which has had “all” of it’s CBD bred out. Also not remotely true. They swallowed the entire “THC causes Schizophrenia” meme too, and treat it as if it were established fact. Not true, and not helpful to give a whit’s worth of credence to. Yet they do. The Brits do tabloid prohibitionism….it’s driven by nonsense even more so than Kevvie’s brand.

    • jean valjean says:

      who is Peter Reynolds?

      • Will says:

        Oh boy. Well, here are his own words as to ‘who’ he is;

        There are numerous opinions of ‘what’ he is. Some of them are not very kind;

        Relating to darkcyle’s post, as the leader of CLEAR, Peter should know full well the falseness of the UK’s obsession with ‘skunk’ cannabis. Just a little digging and knowing what terpenes are would be understood. Myrcene is the primary terpene that gives cannabis that skunky aroma (although there are always other terpenes involved). And, as darkcycle points out, it has nothing to do with THC:CBD ratios or potency either. For example, here’s a terpene and potency profile for ACDC E;

        Notice that Myrcene is more present than any other terpene, likely smelling somewhat skunky. Then notice that THC is at 0.72% and CBD is at 13.74%. That is not THC dominant ‘super strength skunk’ cannabis by any means. Obviously it’s quite the opposite (by the way, there are other ACDC profiles that are quite different, some have almost equal amounts of THC and CBD, although it is primarily known as a CBD dominant strain).

        • jean valjean says:

          Thank you for clearing that up. He sounds like the kind of old fart who would bang on about “skunk.”

      • darkcycle says:

        Easy, now….he is on “our” side (nominally, but much like Marky-Mark he gives too much credence to easily disproven nonsense like the “schizophrenia/THC” non-link). Mostly he’s a curmudgeonly ex-UK government minister who’s mostly on our side, but believes he alone is in possession of the important answers to the important questions.

        • Will says:

          I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to suggest Mr. Reynolds has a propensity to be polarizing at times. In fact, I think he revels in it. But, darkcycle, I think you might have gotten through to him. Here’s paragraph from a fairly recent post of his on Victoria Atkins MP (;

          But of course, it’s specifically on cannabis that I must call Ms Atkins to account. Aside from the usual, hysterical and evidence-free claims that so-called ‘skunk’ cannabis is causing an enormous increase in mental illness, which she trots out repeatedly, she rejects any idea of regulation in drugs policy as a means of reducing harm.[…]

          And can anyone resist the title and accompanying photo of this post of his?;

          How Long Until This Wicked And Deranged Woman Steps Down?


          Anyway, he reminds me of a Scottish guy I used to work with. He did not suffer fools gladly (and everyone to him was a fool). After one particular meeting in which he pissed everyone off (a common occurrence), he asked me afterward, “Will, why do those idiots always get so irritated with me when all I’m trying to do is educate their stupid, feeble minds?” I laughed so hard I couldn’t even spit out an answer.

  6. DdC says:

    What Is ‘Skunk Weed’ and Where Did It Originate?

    Skunk Cannabis: Top 10 Facts About The Drug
    Despite media reports about an increase in psychosis or schizophrenia among users, scientists have found difficulty in proving a clear link between the two. Former government adviser Professor David Nutt wrote in 2009 that despite skunk being around for at least a decade, there had been no obvious rise in schizophrenia. In fact, he said, evidence shows psychosis and schizophrenia have been in decline among the British population, despite cannabis being used by a growing number of people over 30 years.

    GMO Cannabis Watch
    A Watchful Eye On The State Of Bio-Technology Within The Cannabis Industry.

    High Times, (DEA) Operation Green Merchant & the Cannabis Cup
    By the time you finish this article you may realize that Sam Selezny aka David Watson aka Skunk-man started as a DEA undercover agent, whose undercover career makes Donnie Brasco pale when compared, since he finally became a DEA licensee and ”private contractor” with the power to make the agency move against competitors and anybody in his way and to cut deals with Bayer, Monsanto, and the Dutch and English Government. Ed Rosenthal’s duped by Watson as well? Rosenthal was the cultivation expert at High Times at that time.

  7. darkcycle says:
    Trump appoints the only people in the country who believe the US system isn’t punitive enough to his sentencing commission.
    This via Radley Balko

  8. Servetus says:

    Donald Trump’s current cheerleading to promote the death penalty to thwart drug trafficking is a 180-degree reversal from earlier views when Donald advocated for the legalization of drugs to end drug trafficking.

    Brian Saady, author of The Drug War: A Trillion Dollar Con Game and America’s Drug War is Devastating Mexico, has this:

    MARCH 2, 2018…Axios released a story revealing that President Trump privately supports the theory that imposing the death penalty upon drug traffickers will help reduce the demand for illegal drugs… it was apparently presented to him by the President of Singapore where there is a mandatory death sentence for the crime. […]

    Harm Reduction International released the most comprehensive study (pdf) on this issue in 2015. Iran executes, by far, more people for drugs crimes than any other country. There are roughly 5,000 people on death row for this crime, yet Iran has one of the highest rates of opiate addiction in the world.

    The opiate addiction rate of Iran is slightly surpassed by Pakistan, which also has the same policy and roughly 100 are people awaiting the death penalty for this crime. China executes the second highest number of people for drug trafficking. Their country has a fairly low rate of domestic addiction, but it is also arguably the world’s top producer of synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl, flakka, and the precursor for methamphetamine.

    Overall, there are only twelve countries that treat drug trafficking as a capital offense and have available data. (Several other countries have these statutes on the books, but it is never implemented.) The majority of these countries use drugs at fairly low rates. However, when accounting for the full range of data, it is impossible to conclude that the death penalty is an effective deterrent.

    Nonetheless, Trump reportedly believes that this policy has been a success in the Philippines. […]

    There is a mistaken belief that Duterte is waging this war in an earnest attempt to stamp out addiction. However, the reality is quite different as Duterte sanctioned the murder of the one person, Rolando Espinosa, who was willing to testify and name hundreds of public officials involved in drug trafficking. Unfortunately, Espinosa was murdered in his jail cell by a group of police officers. Those officers were subsequently advised by Duterte to plead guilty so he could pardon them and they’ve since been reinstated at their jobs.

    Unlike nearly every other suspect in the country, President Duterte has also expected the full checks and balances of the government to protect the rights of his son, Paolo (the former Vice Mayor of Davao). Paolo is the subject of a Senate investigation involving a $161 million shipment of methamphetamine from China. He is accused of protecting that shipment and Al Jazeera has reported that he’s been involved in this type of corruption dating back over a decade.

    President Duterte has claimed that he would support the death of his son if he’s proven guilty. However, there’s no reason to believe he’ll allow that to happen due to his stunning record of hypocrisy with this issue. […]

    Selective enforcement has also been an issue in Saudi Arabia. U.S. government documents demonstrate that several members of the Saudi royal family participate in a drug-fueled underground party scene. Albeit, the authorities never dare to enforce the laws against the privileged elite.

    Nonetheless, Saudi Arabia has the third highest rate of execution for drug traffickers. Overall, Saudi Arabia has a fairly high rate of amphetamine usage, particularly a drug known as “Captagon,” even though trafficking, along with possession, is punishable by death. […]

    …arguably the worst hypocrite is Donald Trump. It’s well-known that he’s conducted business with a long list of gangsters. In fact, a recent report by Global Witness found that the Trump Ocean Club in Panama was a money laundering hub for Colombian narco-terrorists.

    Worst of all, this new affinity for executing drug traffickers is seemingly one of many affectations that Trump has embraced to brand himself as a strong leader. Keep in mind, Trump adamantly supported the legalization of drugs, long before he made a serious run at the presidency. […]

    Trump’s advocacy for Duterte’s extrajudicial executions that target only certain Filipinos involved with drugs is more an act of collusion than hypocrisy. International tribunals dealing with Duterte and his human rights crimes need to take a really close look at Trump’s promotion of Duterte and the extrajudicial executions that might have been avoided had Trump instead voiced strong rejection of Duterte’s lethal, illegal methods.

  9. kaptinemo says:

    It’s always been this way; quiet, calm fact-telling of reformers arrayed against wild-eyed, foam-flecked, snarling bellicosity of prohibitionists. And in Third World nations where the ‘rule of law’ is fragile due to the democratic experience also being historically fragile, the bellicosity becomes more than display, but bloody practice.

    It’s been said here many times before that it’s not through lack of effort that reformers are not ‘reaching’ prohibitionists. If reformers suffer from any flaw in their attempts, it is simply because of this: reformers mainly being the logic-driven, compassionate bunch they are, just cannot grasp (save in an intellectual way) just how viscerally prohibitionists want people they don’t like dead.

    Shorn of any (slightly) higher motivations for preserving drug prohibition (such as greed, power-lust, etc.) the vast majority of the motivations for drug prohibition are coming from that good ol’ lizard brain portion of the cortex, that needs to exert dominance over the other animals.

    In nature, that is accomplished via tooth and claw; with humans, that only happens when the thin veneer of civilization is broken. If that veneer is still extant, then that urge for dominance is expressed through laws. In this case, with Draconian drug laws permitting the death penalty for their violation.

    Which is why I never get tired of relating this quote from Nietzsche’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra”:

    “But thus I counsel you, my friends: Mistrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful. They are people of a low sort and stock; the hangman and the bloodhound look out of their faces. Mistrust all who talk much of their justice! Verily, their souls lack more than honey. And when they call themselves the good and the just, do not forget that they would be pharisees, if only they had – power.”

    Look at Trump’s face when he talks about death penalties for drug dealers. Look at Duterte’s face. Look at the face of former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra, whose efforts Duturte has copied. Indeed, with very few exceptions, you can look at the faces of all prohibitionists when they are holding forth about what they would like to do to their current and future victims, and despite them wearing modern clothing you will see a bloodthirsty, animal-skin clad, lizard-brained proto-human just itching to crack your head open with an animal thigh-bone.

    ‘Low sort and stock’, indeed.

  10. DdC says:

    General Jeff’s “Old Rebel” Session Papers
    (ships via good ol’ USPS)

    We’re SOLD OUT of our initial stock, but have more on the way. Orders are 2 weeks back ordered.

    We’ll continue taking orders and promise to make up this delay up to you.

    We’re grateful for each and every one of you.

    For the month of March, we’re donating a portion of proceeds from every order to the Drug Policy Alliance

    And remember… don’t Beauregard that joint, my friends!

    Pro-marijuana legalization group selling rolling papers with Sessions’s face

    “Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care. … It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.”

    DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young,
    Ruling in the matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition,
    September 6, 1988

  11. Mike says:

    oh ya like this take on American drug policy

Comments are closed.