A cannabis law reform lobbying group has hit out at a Tory drugs minister for what they call “hypocrisy” for opposing drugs reforms while her husband’s company has a lucrative contract growing cannabis.
Victoria Atkins husband’s company is in partnership with GW Pharmaceuticals, a UK biotech firm, which is developing Epidiolex, a synthetic drug made from cannabis plants and used to treat childhood epilepsy.
Families with children with epilepsy around the world have been medicating the condition with natural cannabis tinctures too – which when kept under certain temperatures avoid the psychopharmaceutical “high” effects of the drug.
Atkins is the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, and her remit includes drugs policy.
And so far she has towed the Government’s line and opposed calls from MP’s from all sides of the House of Commons for a more common sense approach to harm reduction with cannabis legislation, especially when many Brits turn to cannabis and cannabis oils for medical reasons ranging from Multiple Sclerosis to chronic pain and cancer.
In the drugs policy debate on 18th July 2017 (before she was appointed 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?”
However Clear’s President Peter Reynolds writes: “in what must be the most blatant hypocrisy ever from a government minister, Ms Atkins benefits directly from regulation of drugs.
“She is married to Paul Kenward, managing director of British Sugar which is growing 45 acres of cannabis under licence in its mammoth Norfolk greenhouse.
“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.”
(MP for Louth and Horncastle Victoria Atkins did not respond to our request for comment.)