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UK: MPs join high 'tea party' in fresh bid to legalise cannabis


Wednesday 11 Oct 2017

LONDON – Several British lawmakers joined medical marijuana proponents for a "tea party" outside parliament on Tuesday, amid renewed efforts in parliament to legalise the drug for medical purposes.

Opposition Labour MPs Paul Flynn and Tonia Antoniazzi, with Liberal Democrat colleague Layla Moran joined other activists at the lunchtime event, ahead of the introduction of proposed legislation in parliament.

Organisers the United Patients Alliance (UPA), which represents the interests of medical cannabis patients, invited people to consume tea and cakes containing cannabis to "stimulate crucial public debate on the need to allow access to the drug for patients suffering chronic pain conditions," it said.

Inside the House of Commons later on Tuesday, Flynn introduced his bill, which enjoyed some initial support across Britain's main political parties, to legalise cannabis for medical purposes.

Describing the drug as the "oldest medicine in the world," the Labour MP noted the "tide of world opinion" was moving towards legalisation, pointing to positive experiences in places that have decriminalised medical marijuana.

"If we do legalise drugs we reduce the side effects by taking the market out of the hands of the criminals and the scammers, and put it into a legal market that can be run by doctors on medical priorities," he said.

Under parliamentary rules, he was given permission to introduce the bill and requested a second reading on February 23 next year.

However, the measure is unlikely to become law in its current form unless the government changes its stance.

Alex Fraser, 26, who suffers from Crohn's disease, told AFP he first used cannabis for his pleasure, but "immediately noticed that it helped me sleep, to eat, reduced my nausea and diminished my pain."

Since then, he has continued to take the drug, but said he no longer wants to have to hide to consume cannabis for medical reasons.




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