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UK: Controversial Coronation Street storyline on medicinal cannabis applauded by campaigners who want the drug made legal

Natalie Corner

The Mirror

Thursday 25 Feb 2016

The campaign wants to decriminalise the drug so that those seeking cannabis for pain relief won't risk the law.

A recent Coronation Street storyline reignited the controversial debate on medicinal cannabis and one campaigner has applauded the work of the soap.

Peter Carroll has been working to get it made legal for GPs to issue the drug as a form of pain relief.

He joined MS sufferer Penny Fitzlyon on This Morning where he praised the ITV programme for raising the difficult issue of those people who are forced to obtain the drug illegally to deal with crippling pain.

Peter said: "It's an absolute great development for our campaign, because it's bringing it to the wider attention of people."

Corrie character Izzy Armstrong, played by Cherylee Houston, is set to be arrested after she tried to source cannabis to cope with the pain of her disability.

Producers worked with experts to ensure the plot explores the legal dilemma faced by people using banned cannabis for pain relief.

Penny said she sympathised with the character's plight as she feels she has no other choice but to use the drug to cope with multiple sclerosis, which she was diagnosed with 15 years ago.

When asked by presenter Phillip Schofield whether she had medicated that morning she replied honestly: "Yes, otherwise I wouldn't be here, I wouldn't be able to talk."

Penny explained to Phil and Holly Willoughby that her condition meant her joints were constantly stiff and using the drug "acted like a three in one oil".

She had been seeking out the drug as an alternate medication from a supplier for 11 years, who Penny claimed also provided the medicinal cannabis to "well over 2,000 people a week" before he was closed down and put in prison.

According to figures there are over one million people in the UK that use the drug to combat severe pain. The campaign spearheaded by Mr Carroll aims to get the drug decriminalised so people like Penny, would not risk getting arrested.

The controversy surrounding the campaign to get cannabis legalised means that those recreational users will also be able to take advantage without facing prosecution.

Cannabis is a class B drug, which means being in possession of it for yourself, or to give away or sell, is illegal. Whatever you're using it for, even pain relief carries a sentence of up to five years in jail.

However, it is now legal in 11 European countries, in 24 states in the US and other countries around the world including Australia.




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