On Tuesday conservative MP Crispin Blunt revealed plans for his colleague Dr Dan Poulter to head an All Party Parliamentary Group on medicinal cannabis along with former Justice Minister Mike Penning MP as co-chair.

As the Alfie Dingley case appears to be coming to a resolution that works for the Home Office, medical cannabis patients across the country are asking “what does that mean for me?”. A parent of one such patient Charlotte Caldwell, mother of epileptic and autistic 12-year-old Billy, has made it her duty to ensure the UK public and politicians are aware of the hundreds of sick and dying children in need of medical cannabis and the thousands of patients across the UK who are currently denied a safe medicine that works for their condition.

 Billy Caldwell has been denied his life saving Cannabis medicine  Source:  belfasttelegraph.org

Billy Caldwell has been denied his life saving Cannabis medicine

Source: belfasttelegraph.org

It seems like parliament is waking up to this undeniable truth. That cannabis is a medicine and that this issue is one that will simply not go away until it is resolved once and for all. We must applaud the work of Hannah Deacon (Alfie’s mum) in raising the profile of the issue to boiling point. We must also remember the many patients that have gone before and stood up to tell their medical cannabis story. It is through the combined work of these patients that Poulter and his colleagues in the Medical Cannabis APPG are now urged into persuading members from their own parties across parliament to support patients by putting forward this all-important review.

 Hannah Deacon takes son Alfie Dingley to hand in their 300,000 signature petition accompanied by Sir Patrick Stewart at number 10.

Hannah Deacon takes son Alfie Dingley to hand in their 300,000 signature petition accompanied by Sir Patrick Stewart at number 10.

A license for Alfie is essential. It is absolutely essential that ALL patients gain access as soon as possible. We absolutely urge the Home Office to issue a license immediately. The fact this sets a precedent for all patients in Alfie’s situation to gain a license is a step in the right direction. But can we really support a system where sick people are lining up outside the Home Office for their own personal license? Does this truly mean medical cannabis is legal in the UK? I believe to truly achieve this we need this review of medical cannabis to ensure it’s reclassification and reintroduction to our medical institutions and pharmacopoeia once and for all and for all patients to be able to access cannabis through our medical system.

We co-authored the APPG deep-dive into medical cannabis with Mike Barnes back in 2016, however Poulter’s will be a little different. Barnes report was a review on the medical evidence to date. Of course that has developed considerably in the last few years. This new APPG will also look into how countries across the world have implemented medical cannabis systems. It will assess the need for cannabis for the wide variety of conditions and symptoms it treats. As always, the UPA will be doing our absolute best to inform and educate the politicians. What is most exciting is that this review is being done by MP’s from all parties who are also medical doctors.

This is absolutely unprecedented and we are urging all supporters of medical cannabis to stand behind them and their work. The fact that all parties are coming together over this issue is a brilliant example of what can happen when we really begin to engage and empathise with an issue as a community. Let us as patients, activists and lobbyists from all over the UK scene come together as these MP’s are from their respective parties and finally get medical cannabis properly regulated and legally available for the patients that need it!

How can you get involved?

Here at the UPA we understand that timing is everything. Whilst Poulter unites the doctors within the commons to lobby their respective parties on medical cannabis we will be launching a brand new campaign entitled ‘650 Stories’ that we urge you all to get involved in as we announce the details in the next days and weeks. It’s a combination of a lot of our work to date and alongside Poulter and the APPG we can use the 650 Stories campaign to put pressure on government from both the doctors within parliament and the patients across the UK.

 650stories@upalliance.org

650stories@upalliance.org

Now is absolutely the time to stand up and be heard. 650 Stories will be a chance for you to tell you story. In the meantime of course we urge you to write to your MP, tell them about the APPG and urge them to support it and the call for law change on medical cannabis. Write to your local media and get your story out there.

The time is now and we should be very excited. Join us and be part of the final push for legal medical cannabis in the UK.

 

Alex Fraser

UPA Campaigns Director