Why are so many people in the UK forced to break the law?
April 13th, 2016
United Kingdom — Around a million people in the U.K. use cannabis for medical reasons, and every single one of them is breaking the law. With an increasing acceptance among the medical community regarding the use of cannabis in treating a range of medical conditions — and with many only too aware that an end to the drug war is long overdue — British parliamentarians and campaigners are stepping up the call for the legalisation of medical marijuana.
Patients not criminals
Many derive the benefits of marijuana as an alternative to fistfuls of opiate-based pills for chronic pain, but in the U.K., tens of thousands are criminalised every year for using the drug either recreationally or medicinally. Elsewhere in the world, sanity has prevailed, and medical marijuana can now can be prescribed in 11 European countries, 24 U.S. states, and many other countries throughout the world.
On a trip to Westminster last month to make the case for the legalisation of cannabis for medical use, Professor of Neurology Mike Barnes from the End Our Pain campaign said eight million people in the U.K. suffer from chronic pain.
Claiming a third of those who are prescribed opioids cannot tolerate them, he laid out evidence pointing to the success of marijuana in treating a number of conditions, including multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, epilepsy, and Crohn’s disease.
In addition, the End Our Pain campaign points to emerging indications of CBD — a key ingredient of cannabis — to treat epilepsy and alleviate mental health conditions, including social anxiety disorder and PTSD. Calling for the legalisation of the drug when prescribed for medical conditions, Professor Barnes said the fact cannabis is illegal is hampering the ability of researchers to conduct further studies on its medical benefits.
In March 2016, another advocate of the End Our Pain campaign, Liberal Democrat politician Norman Lamb, put forward the decriminalisation of the drug in the House of Commons by calling for an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Claiming the public are way ahead of politicians on the issue, Lamb called the war on drugs a “spectacularly, stupid self-defeating policy.” The Liberal Democrats have made a case for a fully legal and regulated market that would include the sale of cannabis to those over 18 and specialist cannabis retailers, as well as legalize home cultivation for personal use and small scale licensed cannabis social clubs.
With over 12,000 signatures so far, the End Our Pain campaign is asking the public to sign a petition supporting the call for U.K. law change. If it is successful, it will allow doctors in Britain to prescribe cannabis when they think it can help their patients. You can sign it here.