Meeting your MP to discuss how the use of cannabis benefits you is an effective way to make an impact and help influence the inevitable changes long overdue in UK drug law.
On the 14th of August 2017, a patient delegation of constituents visited our recently elected Labour MP Lloyd Russell Moyle. Consisting of Tasha who is an ME patient, Chris who suffers with CRPS, and myself Clark with MS, we spoke about how cannabis helps our varying conditions. Chris brought along all of his prescribed medication to show the vast quantity of pharmaceuticals he has to take to treat his illness and explained how cannabis has helped him to reduce his intake of NHS-funded addictive opioid-based drugs such as Fentaynl. Tasha described how cannabis helps to significantly reduce her pain levels and migraines, enough so that she is now able to work for her family business, something she greatly struggled to manage before consuming cannabis. I spoke about how cannabis has replaced all of my prescription medication – enabling me to come off them altogether, not only saving myself, but also saving the NHS £30,000 per year. Overall, we stated we find that cannabis helps us all to have a better quality of life, and we feel that legal access to cannabis should be available in line with evidence that concludes the medical benefits.
Lloyd showed a genuine interest in what we had to say and agreed that patients should have access to cannabis if it helps them. We further discussed the broad support for medical cannabis across the Labour Party. During the Labour Leadership Debate on Sky, the UPA questioned the candidates on their viewpoint regarding medical cannabis – all candidates, including Jeremy Corbyn, agreed that medical cannabis should be legally available.
Lloyd did have some reservations regarding recreational cannabis, however this stems from a negative instance experienced by a family member of his. We appreciate that he shared his personal experience on this, and we therefore took the opportunity to remind him that these negative incidents were a direct result of prohibition, given that zero safeguards are in place at present.
It was clear that we have support from Lloyd. He has agreed to attend and talk at a Patient Perspectives event. We will be organising Patient Perspectives Brighton for the end of the year. If you are a patient and want to tell your story please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It really is easy to meet with your MP, and the UPA would encourage every patient to empower themselves by taking this step. When asking for a meeting, we would advise you to say it is regarding access to medication for your health. We would also encourage you to avoid mentioning cannabis in your initial request, as this can unfortunately be met with negativity and you may be denied a meeting. If possible, it may be helpful to team up with other patients within your constituency, both for moral support, and to help make the case – for example 3 constituents could have 3x the impact.
Now is the time to get involved with the campaign to allow patients access to cannabis. If you have not met your MP yet, there is no time like the present! It is very easy to find your MP, if you don't know who they are, you can find them on theyworkforyou.com.
We felt like our meeting was productive and would like to thank Lloyd and his team for giving us the time to explain how cannabis helps us.
Director - United Patients Alliance.
To watch more of Clarks fight for medical Cannabis click here.