Paul Flynn along with fellow Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi and Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran joined cannabis activists outside Parliament for a “cannabis tea party” protest, serving cannabis tea and freshly baked cannabis infused edibles. Cannabis was openly eaten, smoked, vaped and drank just meters from Parliament. The Patients at Parliament protest, organised by the United Patients Alliance brought together activists and patients from cannabis social clubs, compassion clubs and campaign group from across the UK, many of whom have seen first-hand the benefits of medical cannabis.
As numerous countries and states have legalised or moved toward decriminalisation of cannabis and safe access for medical cannabis patients, the UK, despite years of hard work from activists, has remained frozen in policy and approach.
Patients, protesters and supporters gathered outside Westminster, the heart of UK government in protest of the law, while the man whose words sparked the demonstration was inside speaking out once again for the need for change in the UK’s “evidence free” laws on cannabis. An estimated one million people use cannabis for medical purposes in the UK, all who currently face the threat of up to five years in prison for possession and a ludicrous fourteen years if found guilty of growing their own cannabis.
Using Parliament's ten minute rule, MP Paul Flynn introduced his Legalisation of Cannabis (Medicinal Purposes) Bill to Parliament. In just ten minutes the UK finally took a long awaited step on the road towards legal cannabis. The bill passed with full support and is now scheduled for a second reading in February 2018. The bill would reschedule cannabis from schedule 1, illegal drugs with no medicinal value, to schedule 2. This would place it in the same category as morphine, controlled, regulated and available on prescription. Though not the full legalization many activists campaign for, this would mark a dramatic change in the UK’s legal view on cannabis, and most importantly allow patients safe and legal access to cannabis.
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