Paul Flynn MP & The Medical Cannabis Debate - Is now the time?

Paul Flynn is the current MP for Newport West and a member of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee and the Welsh Affairs Committee.

 

In July 2017, the Labour MP wrote an article for Vice entitled ‘We Must Legalise Medicinal Cannabis’ where he laid down his case for the UK to change it’s law on the use of medicinal cannabis.  Paul Flynn continues to campaign for these changes to happen.

 

A recent case of his work in this field is a debate that took place in the commons chamber of parliament on the 20th February 2018 where he was joined by Crispin Blunt (Cons), Mr Nick Hurd (The Minister for Policing and the Fire Service),  Carolyn Harris (Swansea East) (Lab), Mr Philip Hollobone (Kettering) (Con), Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con), Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West) (SNP), Bob Stewart (Beckenham) (Con), Christine Jardine (Edinburgh West) (LD) and other MPs from different parties including Brighton MP, Caroline Lucas (Green Party).

 

The debate centred around the case of Alfie Dingley, a six year old boy with a rare case of cancer epilepsy that causes up to 150 seizures a month. Alfie’s parents have been campaigning for Alfie to be able to use cannabis oil which is currently banned in the UK. 

 

It is noteworthy that the majority of MPs present in this debate were in support of legalising medicinal cannabis. Crispin Blunt mentioned how 12 EU states, 29 US states and the state of Columbia have found ways to license the use of medical cannabis and that the Republic of Ireland allowed it’s health minister to license medical cannabis for Alfie Dingley.

 

Paul Flynn laid down his case to the chamber in the strongest terms stating it would take a ‘heart of stone’ for anyone with children or grandchildren in a similar situation to Alfie Dingley to endure the  bureaucracy of existing laws in the UK that effectively prevent needed treatment.

 

He reiterated the fact 29 US states have legalised cannabis for medicinal purposes and in each of those states, the use of dangerous opioids has gone down.

 

He added that alternative to natural cannabis is worse and thousands of people have the choice of suffering terrible pain and seizures every day or criminalising themselves by breaking the law. He further added that he urges such people to break the law as he believes this law is cruel and lacks compassion.

 

Another MP, one of several Conservative MPs present in this debate, Michael Fabricant backed up Paul Flynn’s statement, adding that thousands of people including one of Fabricant’s constituents suffer conditions like those of Alfie Dingley. Fabricant’s constituent,   Vicky Clarke suffers from multiple sclerosis and is chronically underweight at 5 stone. Mrs Clarke’s husband found that cannabis was the only effective way of relieving her pain and found himself under police investigation on two occasions as a result. The entire debate can be read on the Hansard website here.

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the issue. Is now the time for us to follow the progressive actions of others?