Baroness backs campaign to legalise cannabis for medical use

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By Una Murphy

Baroness Molly Meacher, the chairperson to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform, plans a media campaign following her parliamentary inquiry which heard from patients who use cannabis for medical use, it has been revealed.

She told VIEWdigital at the Northern Ireland Medical Cannabis Summit in Belfast that she plans to centre the media campaign around the case of six-year-old Alfie from Warwickshire in England who was refused an individual licence by the Home Office to be treated with a cannabis oil to alleviate epileptic seizures.

Alfie has moved with his mother Hannah Deacon to live in Amsterdam where he can be treated with the cannabis oil, which is outlawed, in the UK.

Baroness Meacher

Baroness Meacher said Alfie’s epileptic seizures which had led to three stays in hospital every month were now reduced to one a month.

“Alfie is now doing extremely well,” Baroness Meacher added.

She also spoke about a mother of three children “who is in extreme pain all of the time unless she takes her cannabis” and who travels to Amsterdam every three months  to get a prescription and supply of the drug.  “She is not fit to travel but she needs to get her medicine,” she said.

“It is outrageous.  How can the government allow such a thing” she told VIEWdigital.  “Maybe the government will respond to public pressure”.

She added:  “Why do I think it is outrageous?  Because so many people are suffering.”

Baroness Meacher said that billions of pounds could be saved by the NHS which is spent on hospital stays and GP appointments if cannabis was legalised for medical purposes in the UK, similar to 11 European countries and 20 US states and Canada.

Medical Cannabis Summit, Riddel Hall, Queen’s University: Prof Mike Barnes, Professor of Neuropharmacology and UPA trustee, left, with Neil Paine, UPA regional co-chairperson, Abby Hughes, UPA director; Alex Fraser, UPA director; Clark French, founding director; Jonathan Liebling, UPA political director; Pearse Donnelly, regional co-chairperson and conference manager; Faye Jones, UPA director; Dr David Gibson, cannabinoid researcher, Ulster University, and Paul North, addiction specialist and policy innovator, VolteFace

Delegates at the recent Medical Cannabis Summit in Riddel Hall, Queen’s University, Belfast

 

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