Sunday, 17 September 2017

APPG Meets ACMD and Columbia Care


September 13th 2016
Clark French, Caroline Lucas MP, Baroness Molly Meacher, Jon Liebling
APPG Inquiry into Medicinal Cannabis
House of Lords

On September 13th 2016 United Patients Alliance along with Professor Mike Barnes and the APPG for Drug Policy Reform published the results of their Inquiry into Cannabis as Medicine which you can read all about here: APPG Medicinal Cannabis Inquiry


September 13th 2017 - House of Lords
Alex Fraser, Jon Liebling, Leo Cameron
On September 13th 2017 the APPG for Drug Policy Reform kicked off the new Parliamentary session with some very special guests to talk about what's in their plans over the next 12 to 24 months.


I went along with Alex Fraser and Leo Cameron from UPA and Dr Henry Fisher from Hanway Associates/Volteface - and we were all sat right next to Paul Flynn MP too! Nice to see you again!



It wasn't immediately obvious why the particular guest speakers were chosen together, once the conversation got started, the mist started to clear....


Up first we heard from Owen Bowden-Jones who took over as Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs from Les Iversen on Jan 1st 2017. He talked about the recent letter that they had received from the Home Secretary setting out their priorities for the next two years.
The full letter can be read here: ACMD Work Programme 2017-2019


  • Legitimate use of controlled drugs: research and healthcare
  • The Review of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016
  • Vulnerability, drug misuse and imprisonment
  • Review of Safe Custody Regulations 1973 and Consolidation of Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001
  • Fentanyl and its analogues
  • Licences for the administration and supply of diamorphine, dipipanone and cocaine to treat addiction
Now at first glance. there doesn't look like there is too much positive news regarding cannabis!
But one needs to look closer. In fact a couple of questions to this end were asked by Molly Meacher:

"Do you see the current regime for scheduling of controlled drugs to be within your remit for review?"

Owen Bowden-Jones - "I feel that it is necessary to review the legitimate use of controlled drugs from end to end - So yes, absolutely we will be looking closely at the scheduling of drugs and how they effect both research and healthcare"



Owen was then asked about whether the ACMD take both the risks and the benefits of substances into account when looking at overall harms caused. His answer did not get the most supportive of responses from the room "The ACMD's remit is limited to looking at the harms that come from the misuse of drugs and not to look at any benefits"

This is, of course, an issue all by itself, but the next insightful and key question from Molly received a much more hopeful answer: 

"Will you take into account relative harms, when there is evidence that the use of a more harmful substance is reduced or replaced with another - such in the case of US states who have a very serious Opiate problem seemingly being mitigated through access to cannabis?"

Owen responded "Yes, we will be looking at and advising on that as part of our investigations especially whilst we look at the specific problems with Fentanyl and its analogues"

You may not think that is much, but from a government advice and future policy perspective, this is HUGE! The ACMD have never been asked to review these aspects in this way and whilst I would say that Owen comes across as a very cautious, pragmatic and careful Chair - He seems more motivated and driven by science than political correctness.

Of course, Owen holds some very firm views about our existing policies and processes around Medicines and their need for approval in the right way and as such is not currently very supportive of cannabis as medicine and pointed out that one cannabis based medicine had been given approval!

https://www.col-care.com/
Enter - Columbia Care  - A Patient Centred Healthcare Company setting the standard of care for medical marijuana in the US and around the world. To all intents and purposes, they are the biggest Cannabis Pharmaceutical Company in the world - and they are doing things rather differently than most existing Pharma Companies.

We heard from Mike Abbott (Exec Chairman), Nicholas Vita (CEO) and Rose Mazanet (Research Chief) who talked about how the US and other countries around the world had found a way to approve cannabis for medical treatments without compromising any existing processes, but creating a new one. They discusses their 40000 pain patients and how they had been helped.




Then to wrap things up all nice and tidily both Owen and Columbia Care talked about how enlightening to all, was the meeting they had all had that morning with the MHRA - Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency - who we understand are happy to be looking at some of the suggestions from Columbia care and from around the world - They seem quite keen to work on some potential solutions.........assuming our Government request such a thing?
This time last year there was a very big problem identified with getting the relevant agencies working together to make sure that our government can be given advise which all ties together with no gaps - It's these gaps that our government can continue to use to avoid addressing the concerns raised.
This year - Those gaps are getting filled up with science and soon, there will be nowhere left for them to run!


Jon Liebling – Political Director of United Patients Alliance


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Saturday, 16 September 2017

UPA and Labour - Making yourself heard!



When United Patients Alliance formed in July 2014, we did so with the support of Caroline Lucas MP and the Green Party. By the time the year was done we were engaging with the LibDems through events and patients meeting the Deputy PM Nick Clegg along with Former Drugs Minister, Norman Baker announcing his patronage. Support from them is locked in and we have a few more announcements to make there too shortly.

Now in our 3rd year - seems the Labour Party are finally starting to bite!
This has not happened by accident, you know! United Patients Alliance have been being a thorn in their sides for ages -  Really - we don't give up! How can we - our illnesses don't!

On March 14th 2015 on BBC's Free Speech, Faye Jones wearing UPA Purple asked a great question to the wannabe leader Ed Milliband - I mean GREAT question, with follow up - and you gotta wait until the end....... 




Only 6 months past to the Labour Leadership Election Debate. Up UPA pop again with another question, this time to all the potential leaders, and we have to say,. great answer, Jeremy - but isn't it about time you followed through on that?







And now we have Paul Flynn MP calling for Civil Disobedience in Parliament:



We have, of course, answered Paul's call to arms and have arranged a very civil bit of disobedience and Paul will be joining many patients for a bit of a (medicated) T-Party:
Also - Paul is now helping to work on the rest of the Labour Party: 
It’s time for Labour to back patients when it comes to medical marijuana


On September 30th at United Patients Alliance Medical Cannabis Conference and AGM - the next steps in our plans for Labour will become very much clearer! Yes - That's Paul Flynn MP - and Tonia Antoniazzi MP too.....



And then we are coming for you, Jezza!

After that, there is only one major party left to get on board!?

Jon Liebling – Political Director of United Patients Alliance


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PRESS RELEASE - United Patients Alliance - Medical Cannabis Conference

United Patients Alliance Press Release

For Editor: EMBARGOED: Major announcements from Key Speakers of interest to the media and public will be made in the morning regarding their future relationship with United Patients Alliance. 

Paul Flynn MP will become a Patron
Tonia Antonaizzi MP will become a Patron

Professor Mike Barnes will become a Trusteee
Gavin Sathianathan (CEO - Forma Holdings) - will become a Trustee

Happy to give more detail in person.

No Embargo

United Patients Alliance announce Medical Cannabis Conference + AGM

Main Event Date: 30th September 2017
Event Time 10am to 5pm
Location: Maple House, 150 Corporation St, Birmingham B4 6TB
Guests: 200+

We are incredibly excited to announce our very first Medical Cannabis Conference and AGM weekend at Maple House, Birmingham.

Run purely by volunteers who are also patients, it’s time to celebrate how much United Patients Alliance have achieved towards our goal of legal access for medical cannabis patients in the UK since being founded in 2014

We will be hosting talks with special guests:
Prof. Mike Barnes - Consultant of Neurology
Paul Flynn MP LAB
Tonia Antoniazzi MP LAB
Dr Gary Potter - Senior Lecturer and Cannabis Cultivation expert
Dr Axel Klein - Professor of Sociology
Together have just completed 2 year study of Cultivation and Trafficking of Cannabis in the UK. 
Gavin Sathianathan - CEO Forma Holdings

We aim to bring attendees up to speed on the latest science, medicine and the politics of cannabis and cannabis growing and to prepare UPA and our volunteers for the next 12 months. 

Also confirmed speaking: LEAP UK, The Loop, CBDBrothers, Release, Volteface

We will have patients such as Sarah Martin, Clark French, Faye Jones and more talk about their experiences consuming cannabis as their main form of medicine. 

All ages are welcome and disabled access is available
Tickets are £25 (£15 concessions) and can be purchased here:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/medical-cannabis-conference-upa-agm-tickets-37657646033?aff=es2

ENDS

Editors notes:

Contact Details:
Jon Liebling | Political Director - United Patients Alliance
E: jon@liebling.co.uk M: 07921589237

Clark French | Founder and Director - United Patients Alliance
E: as.the.sun.sets@hotmail.co.uk M: 07773 690488

Please use our Website Page link in any publications: http://www.upalliance.org/

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Introducing United Patients Alliance
The United Patients Alliance are a support and campaigning community for 1000s or medical cannabis patients in the UK who suffer from a range of conditions including; Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Crohn’s, Anxiety, Depression, AIDS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, ME, PTSD, Epilepsy, Chronic and Neuropathic Pain, all of whom have found that various types and strengths of cannabis consumed in a variety of ways has proven to be a more effective medicine than their legal and prescribed alternatives in improving their lives, reducing side effects and treating their symptoms. These patients are forced to either live in unnecessary discomfort and pain or risk dealing with criminals for their medicine and a criminal record for growing it or consuming it.


We launched in June 2014 with the support of Caroline Lucas MP and Professor David Nutt and have since gained the direct support of a number of other ministers and politicians. We run Patient Perspective and Cannabis College events around the UK to give patients a forum for telling their stories and to help inform the public of the proven medical benefits whilst dispelling the myths and half-truths about its harms. We estimate that there are about 1m active medical cannabis consumers who would immediately benefit from a change in this dreadful situation. In terms of genuine information on medical cannabis and how best to consume it, we are the UK’s experts on cannabis as a medicine.

Political Director of United Patients Alliance, Jon Liebling says
"The speakers we have managed to secure for our first Medical Cannabis Conference is a testament to the amazing dedication of patients with chronic illnesses who are United Patients Alliance and to the growing medical, academic and political support for legal access to cannabis therapeutics. 
We are going to have some game changing collaborations to announce. You don't want to miss this."

Quotes from United Patients Alliance Patients:

Alex Fraser – Crohn’s Patient
"I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at 19. I cannot be prescribed any traditional painkillers for my chronic pain. Cannabis is my only medicine, it's the only thing that's ever worked. It eases my pain, gives me an appetite, helps me sleep and reduces my nausea. Regular use reduces all of my symptoms to the point where it enables me to work. Without cannabis, my life would barely be worth living"

Faye Jones - Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient
"I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 27 and rely on cannabis for pain relief, and to combat the side effects of prescribed treatments for my condition, that would otherwise prevent me from staying in full time employment."

Monday, 4 September 2017

A Weekend with Product Earth

I LOVE Product Earth. It really is just a great place to be! Well, if you are into that sort of thing. Which, of course, I am. For a number of reasons, one of which I find more urgent than the others.

What, besides that then, is it that I LOVE?

If the good old Daily Mail were to cover this event, it would of course be framed as a celebration of debauchery and criminality from the losers in our society who should all be arrested and punished. They, and anyone who believes that same is totally, absolutely, completely - WRONG! 

During my IT Career as a Senior Business Relationship Manager, I had the opportunity to experience dozens of Expo's, trade shows and the like, you meet all sorts of people and all sorts of businesses wanting to tell you all about their USPs and their unbeatable discounts and how much they admire you and whatever company you're here from and why you can't live without their product or service and here and there you find the odd little gem of a concern that have different values; they LOVE their product or service and all they want to do is earn a living, do good in the world, give you value for money and dream about achieving whatever is their dream. I always loved those little moments within the chaos of salesmen and marketers.

At Product Earth, it's different. Very different. There are indeed one or two examples of the former, but juxtaposed in and around the dark arches in a run down industrial area of Birmingham, here were beautiful little gems all over the place. In fact the overwhelming majority! This is right across all the sub groups; Seed Companies like Greenhouse Seeds and their strain-hunting and investment in seed genetics to the niche Hemp growers, confectioners,  glassware makers, magazine publishers, medical patient advocates, vape sellers and organisations showing off the latest technology from growing right through all directions to consumption and so much more and almost everyone of them wants to push the boundaries, bring the industry forward, improve it and make it better and safer and of course, freer. 

Here are hundreds of individuals who are just trying to do something good, that they are good at and they LOVE whilst earning a living, you know, like you're supposed to do. Really special, kind, compassionate, lovely people, providing a product or service in the best way they know how to consumers who, for all sorts of reasons, are creating the demand.....and the demand is growing every year. 

What is obvious, at Product Earth, because it is all happening all around you is: We don't need to define, build or arguably even regulate a cannabis industry, we just need to legalise and legitimise the one that's already here. From what I can see, whilst it does need some seasoning and a little control, it already has more compassion, invention, information, kindness, collaboration and integrity than any other business sector I've experienced.

Then, of course there are the visitors, guests, consumers: Well quite simply, they reflect exactly the same attributes as the little gems amongst one or two thorns. But even as I say that, it occurs to me that at no point during the entire event did I either see or hear of anything untoward or any unpleasantness going on at any point by any visitor! So perhaps we have something unique? I cant imagine saying that after a "Product Alcohol" expo?) 

What really is causing all the problems here? The industry, or the law?

Jon

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Celebrity Approach Letter - Gen

Dear XXXXXX,

I am the Political Director of United Patients Alliance. We are a rapidly growing support and campaigning community for medical cannabis patients who suffer from a range of conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Crohn’s, Anxiety, Depression, Arthritis, ME, PTSD, Epilepsy, Chronic and Neuropathic Pain sufferers all of whom have found that various types of cannabis consumed in a variety of ways has proven to be a more effective medicine than their legal and prescribed alternatives in improving their lives, reducing side effects and treating their symptoms. 

We launched in June 2014 with the support of Caroline Lucas MP and Professor David Nutt and have since gained the direct support of a number of other politicians such as former drugs minister, Norman Baker. We will also be announcing shortly; Paul Flynn MP, Tonia Antoniazzi MP, Caroline Lucas MP and we are bringing on Professor Mike Barnes, consultant Neurologist as a Trustee.

We run Patient Perspective and Cannabis College events around the UK to give patients a forum for telling their stories and to help inform the public of the proven medical benefits whilst dispelling the myths and half-truths about its harms. We estimate that there are about 1m active and current medical cannabis consumers who would immediately benefit from a change in this dreadful situation. In terms of genuine information on medical cannabis and how best to consume it, we are the UK’s experts on cannabis as a medicine.

We have been working very closely with Baroness Meacher, Chair of the APPG for Drug Policy Reform http://www.drugpolicyreform.net/ with whom we delivered a major report into Cannabis as Medicine.
Full details here: http://www.upalliance.org/newsmediainternal/2016/09/appg-medicinal-cannabis-initiative.html

We are also involved in the #EndOurPain: www.EndOurPain.org campaign which has the support of Richard Branson, Russell Brand, Alastair Campbell and Joanna Lumley along with over 40 MPs, 13 Lords and 25k public sign ups. We will be collaborating more going forwards.

Our AGM is in Birmingham on 30th September where we hope to be making lots of announcements.
We have an upcoming Patients in Parliament Protest with Paul Flynn MP on 10th October when he raises a Medican cannabis members bill. We are planning "Tea and Cakes" (medicated) on the lawn with as many wheelchair bound patients as we can muster and a few MPs.

We are applying to become a Registered Charity and now need to appoint a number of Trustees and Patrons. There are a great number of reasons why we think you would make an excellent addition and I would value the opportunity to discuss this, or indeed any other level of support you might be prepared to give to our cause.

If we could meet up for an informal chat about all of this, our plans/goals/values that would be fantastic And I would be happy to meet at a time and location of your convenience.  

I can assure you that any communication will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

Kind Regards

Jon Liebling | Political Director
United Patients Alliance
M: +44 7921589237
Twitter:      @upallianceuk

Celebrity Approach Letter - Cherylee

Dear Cherylee,

I am the Political Director of United Patients Alliance. We are a rapidly growing support and campaigning community for medical cannabis patients who suffer from a range of conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Crohn’s, Anxiety, Depression, Arthritis, ME, PTSD, Epilepsy, Chronic and Neuropathic Pain along with quite a few Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome sufferers all of whom have found that various types of cannabis consumed in a variety of ways has proven to be a more effective medicine than their legal and prescribed alternatives in improving their lives, reducing side effects and treating their symptoms. 

As the storyline you were involved in Coronation Street last year brilliantly highlighted; these patients are forced to either live in unnecessary discomfort and pain or risk dealing with criminals for their medicine and a criminal record for growing it or consuming it.

We launched in June 2014 with the support of Caroline Lucas MP and Professor David Nutt and have since gained the direct support of a number of other politicians such as former drugs minister, Norman Baker. We will also be announcing shortly; Paul Flynn MP, Tonia Antoniazzi MP, Caroline Lucas MP and we are bringing on Professor Mike Barnes, consultant Neurologist as a Trustee.

We run Patient Perspective and Cannabis College events around the UK to give patients a forum for telling their stories and to help inform the public of the proven medical benefits whilst dispelling the myths and half-truths about its harms. We estimate that there are about 1m active and current medical cannabis consumers who would immediately benefit from a change in this dreadful situation. In terms of genuine information on medical cannabis and how best to consume it, we are the UK’s experts on cannabis as a medicine.

We have been working very closely with Baroness Meacher, Chair of the APPG for Drug Policy Reform http://www.drugpolicyreform.net/ with whom we delivered a major report into Cannabis as Medicine.
Full details here: http://www.upalliance.org/newsmediainternal/2016/09/appg-medicinal-cannabis-initiative.html

We are also involved in the #EndOurPain: www.EndOurPain.org campaign which has the support of Richard Branson, Russell Brand, Alastair Campbell and Joanna Lumley along with over 40 MPs, 13 Lords and 25k public sign ups. We expect to be taking ownership of this shortly.

Our AGM is in Birmingham on 30th September where we hope to be making lots of announcements.
We have an upcoming Patients in Parliament Protest with Paul Flynn MP on 10th October when he raises a Medican cannabis members bill. We are planning "Tea and Cakes" (medicated) on the lawn with as many wheelchair bound patients as we can muster and a few MPs.

We are applying to become a Registered Charity and now need to appoint a number of Trustees and Patrons. There are a great number of reasons why we think you would make an excellent addition and I would value the opportunity to discuss this, or indeed any other level of support you might be prepared to give to our cause.

If we could meet up for an informal chat about all of this, our plans/goals/values that would be fantastic And I would be happy to meet at a time and location of your convenience.  

I can assure you that any communication will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

Kind Regards

Jon Liebling | Political Director
United Patients Alliance
M: +44 7921589237
Twitter:      @upallianceuk

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

UPA - Preferred Supplier Criteria

All Criteria

Quality

·         Extraction Methods
·         Approved Sources
·         Test results
o   Batch Test Results
o   3rd Party Labs/Qualified Professional in house
o   Consistency
o   UPA Independent Test/Client feedback?

Business Integrity

·         Seed to Product/End to End Transparency
·         Pricing
·         Competitive behaviour
·         Legality
o   Content
o   (NO) Medical Information
·         Appropriate product and Employment insurance
·         Record keeping
·         Processes Experience

Customer Service

·         Labelling
o   Give accurate information
o   Supplementary information available
·         Product Supply
·         Product Innovation/Catalogue
·         Delivery
·         Feedback
·         Complaints/Query handling

Values

·         Future of the industry
·         Social Responsibility
·         Promoting responsible consumption
·         Friendly

·         Compassion for patients