She’s not been the biggest fan of medical cannabis.
In a drugs policy debate on 18th July 2017 (before she was appointed government drugs minister) she 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. What on earth does my hon. Friend think their reaction will be to the idea of drugs being regulated? Does he really think that these awful people are suddenly going to become law-abiding citizens?”
So now we have a position where the drugs minister will now not speak about cannabis at all, but her husband’s company will still grow “research cannabis crops” ?
And … Nick Hurd, the policing and fire minister has been tasked with answering questions on drugs.
We note that the statement doesn’t use words like, “speeches”, “policy” or “proposals”.
Meanwhile GW Pharamacuetical is trailing an army of “men in black” invisible lawyers around state houses in the US. Attempting to bully them into granting them rights to sell Epdiolex in regulated states; with the thinly veiled desire to run monopolies for their cannabis epilepsy drug.
If we had time to create a infographic we would.
Bullets will do the same job though
Victoria Atkins – UK Govt Drugs Minisister
Nick Hurd – UK Govt policing and fire minister
Paul Kenward managing director of British Sugar growing “research” cannabis for GW Pharmaceutical, married to Victoria Atkins.
UK Govt – Grants licenses to grow “research” cannabis for medical export but will not entertain responses to private members bills on a UK regulated medical cannabis market.
GW Pharmaceuticals (Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GW_Pharmaceuticals)
We don’t suggest, as many do in the UK cannabis activist community, that major conflict of interest issues are at play, yet.
Rather, as my grandmother might have said, “they’re sailing close to the wind”.
The opportunity for mistakes and mis-judgements are obvious and the connections between Whitehall and private business could be construed as creating an environment conducive to corruption further down the road.
And rather than handing over responsibility to Jeremy Hunt, or at least adding cannabis policy issues to his portfolio, the message sent by giving responsibilities to Hurd over at policing are blindingly obvious.
We wouldn’t be surprised if cannabis dealers in London haven’t branded up a Brexit Skunk for sale in that city’s extremely vibrant black market. The Tories are treating the issue with the same lack of aforethought as the exit from Europe adventure.
THE PRESS REPORTS
The UK Sunday Times reports
Victoria Atkins has given up part of her role after being accused of a conflict of interest
The drugs minister has been accused of a “massive conflict of interest” after it emerged that her husband operates Britain’s largest cannabis farm.
Victoria Atkins has now stopped speaking for the government on cannabis and other aspects of her drugs brief. The Home Office said she had “voluntarily recused herself from policy or decisions relating to cannabis”.
Her husband, Paul Kenward, is managing director of British Sugar, which last year started growing substantial amounts of marijuana in Wissington, Norfolk, under a licence from the Home Office
The Daily Mail adds…
The Government’s drugs minister stopped addressing the public on the issue of cannabis after it emerged her husband’s business is farming the drug by the acre.
Victoria Atkins was tonight accused of a ‘ridiculous conflict of interests’ over her spouse Paul Kenward’s role as managing director of British Sugar.
British Sugar was granted a Home Office licence to grow cannabis to be used in medicine on a huge 23-acre site in Wissington, Norfolk, in 2016.
The British legally grown crops will eventually be used for epilepsy drug epidiolex in the US, after being developed by the UK company GW Pharmaceuticals.
However, Ms Atkins MP for Louth and Horncastle opposes cannabis law reforms and has spoken out against the class B drug.
The Home Office said the minster had ‘voluntarily recused herself from policy or decisions relating to cannabis’ according to The Times.
However, campaigners fighting for the legalisation of the drug in the UK have insisted she has not stopped speaking about the issue and claimed she should stand down from the role altogether.
Peter Reynolds, president of Clear, told MailOnline: ‘Obviously it is a ridiculous conflict of interests.
British Sugar grows cannabis to be used in epilepsy medicine in the US. It is farmed in Norfolk on a huge legal site after a license was granted in 2016
‘Since November 2017 there are a dozen instances of her speaking about cannabis.
‘She should not have been appointed as a Home Office minister. I am sure she is a very able woman but this is a clear conflict of interests.
‘She has an extreme view, she talks about it being an extremely dangerous drug that causes misery in communities and says that it has no medicinal value.
‘She is a hard-line prohibitionist.’
Mr Kenward’s role is not registered in the minister’s list of interests, despite rules which state if a close family member has an influential role which relates to the minister’s post, it should be declared.
Paul Kenward is the managing director of British Sugar which is growing cannabis for medicinal use in the US
A bill on cannabis reform was narrowly avoided in the House of Commons earlier this year.
Labour MP Paul Flynn attempted to have the issue of medicinal drug use debated in parliament but alleged ‘filibustering’ from his own Labour Party meant there was no time for the debate.
Steve Moore, of Volteface, a think-tank on drug policy, told The Times: ‘The medical use of cannabis and its wider decriminalisation is rising up the political agenda. But we have the ridiculous situation of the drugs minister being unable to speak in parliament or make decisions on one of the most important parts of her job.’
Instead, Nick Hurd, the policing and fire minister has been with answering questions on drugs.
Victoria Atkins MP has been asked to comment.