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UK: Campaigners hold 'cannabis tea party' yards from Westminster amid calls to legalise class B drug

Fiona Simpson

Evening Standard

Tuesday 10 Oct 2017

Lib Dem MP Layla Moran admitted using the drug at university and took at swipe at Theresa May's 'fields of wheat' comment

MPs joined activists for a “cannabis tea party” yards from Westminster Palace amid calls for the drug to be legalised for medicinal use.

Campaigners smoked cannabis and ate cakes and scones laced with marijuana as they told ministers how it could help those suffering from chronic conditions including multiple sclerosis.

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran joined Labour MPs at the event in support of the cause.

The representative for Oxford West and Abingdon admitted taking the now class B drug whilst at university but insisted she no longer did.

According to the Daily Mail she said: “I don't any more, I'm a grown up now, but for god's sake.”

Taking a swipe at Theresa May’s “naughtiest moment”, the 35-year-old joked: “'I've never run in a wheat field, that I can say.”

Labour MPs Tonia Antoniazzi and Paul Flynn who are trying to get cannabis made legal for sufferers of conditions like Parkinson's and MS were also pictured at the event.

It came as veteran lawmaker Mr Flynn called on the ministers to vote to legalise the drug for medicinal purposes.

Speaking at the protest he declined to try a cannabis scone and said: “I've got to make a speech at 2pm."

He later told the Commons the "tide of world opinion" was moving towards legalising the class B substance which he described as the "oldest medicine in the world".

He acknowledged cannabis side effects exist but said there had been "no problems" that have arisen in countries which have legalised the drug for medicinal purposes.

Mr Flynn said: "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."

Moving his Legalisation of Cannabis (Medicinal Purposes) via a 10-minute rule motion, the former frontbencher said he had the support of the MS Society and two Police and Crime Commissioners for the move.

Mr Flynn said: "It's time for us, I believe, to lead public opinion rather than follow it.

"I believe it would be an act of compassion and courage for us today to pass this Bill and allow the change - and it's a very minor change - moving the cannabis from schedule one to schedule two, because at the moment the law says that cannabis has no beneficial effects and we all know it does."

The Newport West MP dubbed the legislation the "Elizabeth Brice Bill" after the multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferer who campaigned as Clare Hodges for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis before her death in 2011.

He was given permission to bring in his Bill and he asked for it to be given a second reading on February 23.

It is unlikely to become law in its current form without Government support or sufficient parliamentary time.




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