Politicians and pot smokers hold marijuana tea party in London

Politicians and pot smokers hold marijuana tea party in London
Sparking change — MPs and protestors descend on Parliament to demand the legalisation of medical marijuana in Britain.

Politicians addressing a crowd outside the Houses of Parliament is usually nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, if anything, it’s quite a dull proposition – almost run of the mill. But at yesterday’s Patients at Parliament Protest called by the United Patience Alliance, there was a waft of something a little different in the air.

Taking a seat at a table laid for a traditional British tea was Labour MP Paul Flynn, an active campaigner and advocate for the legalisation of medical marijuana in the United Kingdom. “On Tuesday 10th October I will present a Ten-Minute Rule Bill to re-legalise the natural medicine of Cannabis,” Flynn explained to Huck. “The Bill would provide for the supply, possession and use of this medicine to alleviate the pain of millions across the UK suffering from painful and degenerative illnesses.” Outside the Commons, he was joined by Labour colleague Tonia Antoniazzi and Liberal Democrat Layla Moran.

Dyptych-2 IMG_7976

“It would not extend to the use of Cannabis for recreational purposes. Natural cannabis is well-evidenced in treating a range of ailments, including chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and some of the worst side-effects of chemotherapy.”

Ten-Minute Rule Bills very rarely make it far in the legislative process – certainly not when they’re directly in opposition to national policy positions at the highest level. But speaking in the House of Commons provides an opportunity to draw attention, and with backing from other MPs including the Green’s Caroline Lucas and Labour’s Laura Pidcock, there’s clearly others in Westminster willing to show their support. Flynn accused the government of having an “evidence” free approach to the criminalisation of cannabis.

IMG_8146 IMG_8315

Back outside, activists sparked up joints and chatted proudly to the assembled media, explaining to reporters that Britain is lagging behind its international neighbours. 29 out of the 50 states within the USA now have provision for the supply of medicinal cannabis. It has been legalised in Canada, and medicinal cannabis is also widely available across Europe, for example in The Netherlands, Italy, Finland, Switzerland and Germany.

Campaigners and researchers say marijuana has significant medicinal uses – whether in treating PTSD, anxiety, depression or other mental and physical illnesses, and a recent poll conducted of Members of Parliament found a majority of  MPs support making it available for patients for treatment. The United Patience Alliance, who called yesterday’s action, point to research by practising Consultant of Neurology, Professor Mike Barnes, who completed an analysis of the 2000 best and highest quality medical and scientific research and trial publications and has graded the efficacy of cannabis against a number of conditions.

IMG_8428 IMG_8529
Paul Flynn MP

Paul Flynn MP

He found there is good evidence for marijuana being effective in treating chronic pain, including neuropathic pain; spasticity; nausea and vomiting (especially from chemotherapy) and in the management of anxiety. Professor Barnes found moderate evidence for sleep disorders; appetite stimulation; fibromyalgia; post-traumatic stress disorder; and for some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease Some evidence for benefits in the management of agitation in dementia; epilepsy; bladder dysfunction; glaucoma; and Tourette’s syndrome was also found.

Yesterday’s bill reading is highly unlikely to become binding legislation, but there’s almost definitely a smell of change blowing in the wind.

Enjoyed this article? Like Huck on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

 

Latest on Huck

Exploring the football fanatic culture of the Middle East
Outdoors

Exploring the football fanatic culture of the Middle East

New photo book ‘Football كرة القدم’ draws together pictures from over a dozen photographers to explore the region’s vibrant football culture.

Written by: Isaac Muk

Drag artists unite to get out the vote, babes
Election 2024

Drag artists unite to get out the vote, babes

East London legend Crystal talks to Huck about her new campaign, Vote, Babes! which brings together over 20 drag artists to encourage young people to use their vote.

Written by: Ben Smoke

I interrupted Keir Starmer’s manifesto launch – here’s why
Election 2024

I interrupted Keir Starmer’s manifesto launch – here’s why

One of Starmer’s constituents, Alice tried every way to talk to her then MP about the crisis facing her generation, but he did not listen she writes exclusively for Huck.

Written by: Alice, Green New Deal Rising

Bashy: “My dad kept me alive”
Culture

Bashy: “My dad kept me alive”

In our latest Daddy Issues column, award winning actor and MC Ashley “Bashy” Thomas talks traditional masculinity, learning survival skills from his Dad and ‘making it’.

Written by: Robert Kazandjian

How communities of colour fought back
Election 2024

How communities of colour fought back

Micha Frazer-Carroll examines the challenges that the UK’s minoritised communities have faced over the last five years, and reports on the ways that they have come together to organise, support and uplift one another.

Written by: Micha Frazer-Carroll

Revisiting Casa Susanna, the legendary Trans refuge in pre-Stonewall America
Photography

Revisiting Casa Susanna, the legendary Trans refuge in pre-Stonewall America

A new book explores the story of the private oasis for self-identified heterosexual men and their wives seeking space to explore gender variance at a time when homosexuality and crossdressing were treated as crimes and mental illnesses.

Written by: Miss Rosen

Sign up to our newsletter

Issue 80: The Ziwe issue

Buy it now