The Evening Standard (@standardnews) hasn’t always been so modish and stupid about cannabis

The Evening Standard recently launched a cannabis legalisation drive masquerading as an ‘investigation’ into the cannabis zeitgeist. Allied with something called VolteFace, which wouldn’t do a ‘volte face’ on cannabis if one of the psychopaths listed on my site stabbed them in the face, the free London daily has decided that legalisation of this powerful psychoactive drug is a cause worth fighting for.

The paper didn’t use to be this way, though. Prior to 2009, when it launched its curious ‘Sorry’ campaign around London, the Standard reported on cannabis as responsibly as any paper ever has done. Here are some headlines from the archives:

And there it ends, since when they’ve been more interested in such urgent developments as the availability of ‘cannabis-infused, vegan frozen yoghurt’ in the capital, along with the usual praise of apparent health benefits, Canada and the cannabis oil that may or may not have cured the epileptic fits of a British boy whose mother, one learns elsewhere, makes money from selling said oil at £500 a bottle.

One horrifying story shows the full extent of this alteration. On 17 January 2018, 19-year-old Jamil Jabbie was given an indefinite hospital order for an unprovoked attack on his mother in which he bit her, pulled out a clump of her hair, stabbed her 23 times, stole her house keys and mobile phone battery, and fled. Only Talk Radio chose a headline that points to what many would consider the heart of the matter: ‘London teenager pleads guilty to stabbing mother 23 times in “cannabis-linked attack”’. Mail Online chose ‘Skunk user who bit, throttled and stabbed his mother 23 times in drug-induced frenzy leaving her fighting for her life is detained in hospital indefinitely’. The phrase ‘cannabis-induced frenzy’, which follows in the first paragraph, would be more accurate, but in any case, the story is there, and the culprit’s use of cannabis prominently noted. By contrast, the Evening Standard did not cover the story at all, even though the attack occurred at the family’s home in Peckham, south-east London. Two weeks earlier, the free London daily had seen fit to publish a story with the headline ‘If cannabis can be legal in LA, why not do the same in Britain?’ Perhaps they didn’t consider young Mr Jabbie’s stabbing frenzy the right answer to this modish question.

Why the change? It might be because the paper’s editor, George Osborne, works for BlackRock, the largest fund manager in the world, which pays £650,000 a year for the weekly services of the former Chancellor, and is invested in GW Pharmaceuticals, which grows around £800m of cannabis for “medical” purposes, in a remote area of Norfolk not far from the frontiers of the constituency of Sir Norman Lamb MP. Of course, should the cannabis-based medicine GW makes turn out to be unprofitable, or unhelpful for the tiny number of ill people who may or may not benefit from it, the company will be placed to profit from the legalisation of the pleasure drug if and when that occurs.

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