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UK: These protesters are going to have a 'cannabis tea party' outside Parliament
Monday 09 Oct 2017
rotesters will scoff cannabis tea and cakes outside Parliament tomorrow in a bid to legalise the drug for medicinal use.
Campaigners expect hundreds of people at a ‘cannabis tea party’ which they've dubbed a "very civil bit of disobedience”.
Cancer patients and multiple sclerosis sufferers are joining the demo to back a Private Member’s Bill bidding to change the law.
Labour MP Paul Flynn, who will introduce the Bill to Parliament tomorrow, is due to join the protest alongside Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi and North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones.
It is not known if the politicians themselves will take cannabis - a Class B drug whose possession can be punished with five years’ jail.
Organisers said most protesters will use legal CBD oil but they expect a handful to take tea and cakes ‘medicated' with THC, the active ingredient in cannabis joints.
Jon Liebling of the United Patients Alliance, which is organising the protest, told the Mirror: “The idea was to do something terribly English and unthreatening - so we’re having a little tea party.
“We want to change the narrative. We estimate there are a million regular cannabis users in the UK today whose primary reason is a medicinal one.
“There will be people with chronic and severe illnesses who will need to medicate just to be able to be there.”
Mr Flynn, whose Legalisation of Cannabis (Medicinal Purposes) Bill has only a slim chance of ever becoming law, is a long-time campaigner for reform and this summer called on people to “break the law” in protest.
He once helped make a cup of cannabis tea for a campaigner on the closely-guarded House of Commons terrace.
Jon Liebling said protesters will bring their own cannabis infusions while the cakes are being made “by a chef we get on very well with”.
He added: “We’ve been in full communication with the Metropolitan Police who are aware. They’re not too concerned… but they will keep a watchful eye I’m sure."
The government has refused to legalise cannabis despite a 235,000-strong petition and has branded it a “harmful drug that can damage human health”.
But Genevieve Edwards of the MS Society charity said: "We think cannabis should be legalised for medicinal use for people with MS to relieve their pain and muscle spasms, when other treatments haven’t worked.
“Evidence shows cannabis could help some people manage these often exhausting and relentless symptoms.
"While there are NHS treatments for pain and muscle spasms, they don’t work for everyone.
“72% of people with MS feel cannabis should be legalised for medicinal purposes. Other countries like Germany and Canada have already done this in a safe and controlled way, and we think the UK Government should follow suit. It would make a real difference to the lives of the ten thousand people with MS who could potentially benefit.”
Ms Antoniazzi said: "Whilst I won’t be partaking, I will be speaking in favour of the medicinal use of cannabis.
"I firmly believe that the medicinal benefits of cannabis have been ignored by pharmaceutical producers in favour of more addictive and dangerous opioids.
"A friend, who lives in my constituency, suffers with Multiple Sclerosis, and his life could transformed if he were allowed to use cannabis instead of the prescribed opioids which leave him in a near comatose state."
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