OCTOBER 12th PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE ON LEGALISATION OF CANNABIS
Pro-Cannabis Groups Grow and Gather Together for Monday's Debate in Westminster Hall
On Monday 12th October MPs led by Labour MP Paul Flynn, a long serving advocate for cannabis legalisation, will debate the Sale, Production and Use of Cannabis after the petition that raised over 221 000 signatures.
All the Pro-Reform cannabis groups across the UK who speak for the wider community who are now all affiliated with the National Cannabis Coalition, announced last week by Tom Lloyd (Chair), will be holding a peaceful and educational event, with the full support of local police from 11am in Parliament Square to show support for a change in the law, help inform the public and make our voices heard by our elected representatives. From around 3pm there will be talks from all of the groups and from recreational consumers, growers, lobbyists, campaigners, activists and medical cannabis patients throughout the day and we expect a large turnout.
Tottenham Cannabis Club would like to express their BIG thanks to all people from all groups who have come together to put this event on:
“We are about educating the people of the UK and about the great powers that this great plant has. It has been seen to kill cancer cells in the lab. We are about bringing all the cannabis communities together to stand as one to accomplish this change in the law”. #TTCC
Founder of United Patients Alliance and Multiple Sclerosis patient Clark French says:
"Cannabis is medicine for thousands of UK patients suffering from chronic conditions, it is both cruel and callous to seek to arrest someone for consuming something which makes them feel better, we demand the government listens and changes the law to reflect the science and allow legal access to cannabis for all UK citizens who wish to benefit from cannabis' therapeutic potential"
Political Director of United Patients Alliance, Jon Liebling asks
"What compassionate society would allow the criminalisation of patients for consuming something with their doctors blessing that helps them manage and treat their illnesses and improves their lives? We demand that cannabis be removed of Schedule 1 of the misuse of drugs act 1971 so that doctors can legally recommend it as a treatment option and not have to fear losing their job for doing so"
Stuart Harper, Political Liaison Officer from NormlUK stated that:
"The regulation of cannabis in the UK is long overdue. For access to such a safe therapeutic substance to have been restricted for so long is a travesty. Providing relief and relaxation to millions, cannabis is the second most popular recreational substance after alcohol. To assume that this kind of market is safer or more restrictive when conducted in the illegal shadows, when compared to the legal and age regulated markets in countries and states from the EU to the US, is sheer folly. The time to regulate cannabis is now, and NORML UK welcomes this debate into the ending of the criminalization of cannabis consumers."
Jo Martin founder NormlUK Women's Alliance and Fibromyalgia patient, said:
"We feel that this debate is long overdue, we hope that the tired excuses for prohibition are ignored, and open and honest debate, based on scientific evidence and research, about both the harm caused by current laws and the benefits of an open and regulated system. We represent all women who wish to see urgent change to our cannabis law , whether they consume cannabis or not"
Greg de Hoedt, President of the (80) UK Cannabis Social Clubs argues self regulation is already working:
"Both social and medicinal consumers of cannabis have formed private member cannabis social clubs to remove themselves from antisocial circles and funding organised crime. There are now 1000 of these social clubs in Spain where patients grow plants collectively and share the costs taking the excessive profits away from it. The Government are too late on this issue"
Jack Bean from Birdfeeders explains that they are:
"Aiming to change the public persona of the cannabis user through community work and support of local and global charity events, Pushing for the Cannabis community to work together supporting all routes to gain access to medical and recreational cannabis and assuring those for whom cannabis is right, that we have nothing to be ashamed of for our choice of medication and relaxation"
Gareth Pitchy from Headbox says:
"Here at HeadBox we fully support the legalisation of cannabis for recreational and especially medicinal use. Too long have people been made to suffer as a result of prohibition in the UK by being criminalised for simply self medicating with cannabis or using cannabis as a recreational alternative to significantly more dangerous drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. The cannabis laws in the UK are absurd and need changing before more peoples lives are destroyed as a result of prohibition."
We have seen a significant change in the attitudes towards cannabis over the last few years especially with regards to its medical benefits. Many recent polls suggest that more than 50% of UK citizens support legalisation with many more supporting immediate medical access for patients.
There are now 24 US States and 10 EU countries with legal access to cannabis therapeutics and now that Oregon have become the latest on 1st October this year, there are 4 US states and many countries globally who have legalised and regulated cannabis for all adults and none of the "reefer madness" fears have materialised and in fact the impact has been overwhelmingly positive with crime, car accidents, drug and alcohol related deaths, addiction and even prescription drug misuse falling significantly not to mention the very welcome increase in tax revenue, all of which has been ring fenced for Schools, Education and Health. It is estimated by the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit that a regulated market in the UK would realise around £6bn - £10bn annually through criminal justice system savings and tax revenue.
Baroness Meacher, Co-Chair of the APPG for Drug Policy Reform has said:
"Cannabis significantly helps people with MS whose symptoms don't respond to traditional treatments. But cannabis also transforms the lives of people who live with chronic pain, children with very severe epilepsy, cancer patients and many others. Germany is among the European countries who have legalised cannabis for medical use. Britain urgently needs to catch up."
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Drug Law Reform has over 100 members across the House of Commons and Lords and is growing all the time and every major political party with the exception of the Conservatives have voiced their support for medicinal cannabis and Drug Law Reform with the LibDems and The Green Party putting it in their manifestos, whilst the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn said during the leadership debate:
"I don’t think there should be criminalisation of something that is used for medicinal purposes, it is obviously beneficial to many people, particularly those suffering from MS, and I think we should be adult and grown up about this in society and decriminalise."
Many of the Police and Crime Commissioners, most notably Ron Hogg, have aired their view that the enforcement of this law must be de-prioritised to allow time and resources to tackling and investigating crimes that directly impact the public such as burglary and other violent crime.
Chair of the National Cannabis Coalition and former Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire, Tom Lloyd stated in a recent public meeting:
"Let's be clear, it can never be right for the police to arrest and prosecute someone for growing and consuming cannabis to treat serious medical conditions. Legal access to cannabis for all adults and legal access to cannabis for medical purposes for all."
We all urge our MPs to take part in a grown up, evidence and compassion led debate. The Prohibition of cannabis has been a pointless and costly failure which continues to damage the lives of many thousands of people every year by arresting them for choosing a safer recreational alternative to alcohol (114 times safer, according to recent peer reviewed research) and threatening medical cannabis patients who consume to alleviate their pain and suffering.
The science and research behind the benefits of cannabis is irrefutable, the claims about its harms overstated and misguided. It's illegality is defenceless by any discernible measure and will inevitably end.
Why not Monday October 12th?