25 January 2022
By Max Holloway

CEO & Co-Founder Jonathan Nadler talks to GB News on drug reform and decriminalisation

Interviews

In light of news that the Mayor of London is proposing a pilot scheme which could see the end of prosecutions for young people caught with small amounts of cannabis in 3 London boroughs, CEO and Co-Founder of LYPHE Group Jonathan Nadler spoke with GB News.

Here’s a transcript of the interview, but you’ll find the full news segment at the bottom of this article.

 

“This is about reforming policy to protect the people that are consuming drugs. There has been 50 years of a drug act that simply hasn’t worked. So from our perspective, this is about how we stop criminalising people, and actually help them.”

– Jonathan Nadler, CEO/Co-Founder LYPHE Group

 

GB News: Jonathan Nadler is co founder of LYPHE Group, a European medical cannabis clinical telehealth and dispensing ecosystem. Welcome to the programme. First of all, can we explain the difference between decriminalisation? As small pilots are being proposed by Sadiq Khan here, and legalisation – as we’ve seen in states in America, in Canada and elsewhere?

 

Jonathan Nadler: It’s very simple. decriminalisation means it’s still not legal. The difference is that if you’re caught with a small amount of the drug on your person, you won’t face the criminalization that you currently do today. In a legal market, it’s properly structured, it’s set up in a way that allows for taxes to move smoothly into the government’s palms.

 

GB News: So I suppose one of the criticisms of the decriminalisation approach is that you don’t collect the tax benefits from a legal system. You don’t have the same regulation and safety checks. But also it’s all in the hands of criminal gangs.

 

Jonathan Nadler: This is about reforming policy to protect the people that are consuming drugs. There has been 50 years of a drug act that simply hasn’t worked. So from our perspective, this is actually about how we stop criminalising people, and actually help them and care for them. 

We know from a YouGov report that more than 1.4 million people use cannabis in the UK for a medical condition. Why should they be criminalised? This is about us trying to protect our population, not put them in prison for potentially taking a drug to cope to live a better life. So we want to see a reform of a policy that is way too old. I mean, what policy could possibly last 50 years around drug related subject matters.

“We want to see the drug policy reformed and Sadiq Khan is putting the cat amongst the pigeons.”

 

GB News: It’s interesting because there’s been a number of opinion polls in recent years that seem to show the public has massively shifted on this issue. Particularly with regard to cannabis. The public used to be opposed to decriminalisation or legalisation. And now they seem to be moving much further in favour of it. Is it your view that politicians are starting to catch up with where the public already are?

“Even though the law changed in 2018 it hasn’t gone far enough. Medical cannabis is treated as a last resort – it’s not a front line medicine. GPs can’t prescribe and people don’t know that medical cannabis is an option. Yet compared to lots of the drugs that are being prescribed legally from pharmaceutical companies, the safety profile for medical cannabis is in some respects a lot better.”

 

Jonathan Nadler: Yes, some are, clearly. But lots aren’t. And we don’t quite know why. I think it’s worth saying that politicians did change the law in 2018. 

You can go and get cannabis on a prescription legally, but not enough people know about it. 

So they did they did do a job, they did a job to change the scheduling of cannabis so that if you needed it for a whole host of different conditions and ailments – and we see hundreds of these vulnerable patients through our clinic ‘The Medical Cannabis Clinics’ on a monthly basis – and it’s there to to help them. But they haven’t done much more than a slight shift in 2018, believing that that was enough and you know ‘we wash our hands of it now’ job done. 

But in actual fact it hasn’t gone far enough. You’ve got specialist doctors prescribing medical cannabis, GPs can’t prescribe yet and people don’t know about medical cannabis. It’s treated as a last resort. It’s not front line medicine. Yet compared to lots of the drugs that are being prescribed legally from pharmaceutical companies, the safety profile for medical cannabis is in some respects a lot better.

 

GB News: Wow. And it’s interesting looking across many states in America, to Canada, to Germany now, to the Netherlands, of course, it looks like this world is moving in one direction on this. I wonder if the UK can grasp this opportunity – because of course it is an opportunity.

I believe I’m right in saying that we were or are the largest exporter of legal cannabis in the world. 

I’m afraid we’ve run out of time on this interview, Jonathan Nadler but thank you very much for joining us and talking us through that very, very interesting topic.