The UK Minister for Drugs will not be meeting campaigning medical cannabis mum Charlotte Caldwell – because her husband’s company grows CANNABIS.
Victoria Atkins has been accused of “hypocrisy on a grand scale” after it emerged that she voluntarily recused herself from speaking for the government on cannabis because of her husband, Paul Kenward’s, involvement with the legal cannabis farm associated with British Sugar.
Mr Kenward is managing director of British Sugar which is licensed to grow the plant at 45 acres greenhouse in Norfolk.
The company produces a non-psychoactive cannabis oil used in children’s epilepsy medicine.
But Peter Reynolds, the president of Clear, which campaigns for cannabis law reform said the minister’s position is now only a conflict of interest, but “hypocrisy on a grand scale”.
He told the BBC: “The reason she was appointed is Theresa May was looking for someone who was a hard-line prohibitionist.
“The Tory party’s policy on drugs – cannabis in particular – is directly opposed to the evidence, and Victoria Atkins is someone who supports that.
“Mr Kenward is producing high CBD cannabis for use in Epidiolex, GW Pharma’s cannabis extract epilepsy medicine.
“Ms Atkins has tried to brush this off calling it, ‘…a very different substance [from the] psychoactive version of cannabis’. Of course, anyone with even the most basic knowledge of plant science will know this is nonsense.
“The difference between different strains of cannabis is the same as the difference between different varieties of tomatoes. Whether they’re Ailsa Craig or Alicante, they’re all tomatoes.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “In 2016, British Sugar was granted a Home Office licence to grow a non-psychoactive variant of the cannabis plant. Victoria Atkins MP declared this fact in Parliament when speaking in a debate as a backbencher.”
They added the minister for policing, Nick Hurd, leads on Home Office policy specifically relating to ministerial cannabis licensing decisions, discussions regarding legislation or the rescheduling of cannabis, and the control of cannabinoids.
And it was Mr Hurd who ordered Billy Caldwell’s medicinal cannabis trial oil to be confiscated at Heathrow Airport on Monday.
Before she was appointed Drugs Minister, Mrs Atkins took part in a drugs policy debate almost a year ago and told the House of Commons: “We are talking about gun-toting criminals, who think nothing of shooting each other and the people who carry their drugs for them.
“I do not share the optimism of others about tackling the problem through regulation.
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