Companies involved in producing cannabis on an industrial scale are funding a new drugs “policy reform” group in the UK.
Lobby group, the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group (CDPRG) was officially launched this week by Crispin Blunt MP and former Government Minister Rob Wilson. It is not officially linked to the Conservative Party.
Despite claiming not to be committed to “any specific outcome”, CDPRG indicates support for lifting the ban on illegal drugs.
An investigation by the Daily Mail found four of CDPRG’s Directors are also executives at Canadian cannabis companies Wayland, Zenabis, Cannax Capital and Supreme. All the organisations are listed as funders of the new UK group.
Zenabis owns over two million square feet of growing space – enough for hundreds of thousands of kilograms of cannabis a year.
In total, the group has received around £400,000 from the cannabis industry, the Mail investigation said.
On its own website CDPRG likened its drug stance to the push to redefine marriage.
“As Conservatives, we have always been leaders in social reform.
“From Disraeli’s slum clearances to the introduction this century of gay marriage, we have never shied away from disrupting conventional wisdom, outdated morals and complacent attitudes.”
“An evidence-based debate around future drugs policy is now as urgent as these matters were in their day.”
Its “initial policy objectives” include promoting medical cannabis and encouraging the UK Government to consider a Canadian-style cannabis system.
Canada legalised the drug in October and has since seen the number of first-time cannabis users almost double.
The CDPRG’s final objective is to establish a Royal Commission to “assess the costs and benefits of the prohibition of narcotic drugs”.
Crispin Blunt – who last year received over £6,000 from two US cannabis companies – told the Daily Mail his organisation was “transparent”.
He added, “our objective is to get the centre-Right in the UK to support an evidence based re-evaluation of our drugs policy”.