Vapouround magazine ISSUE 21 - Page 100

FEATURE STATE OF THE NATION: From MPs endorsing e-cigarettes to regulating cannabis? British patients are still being refused access to medical cannabis despite reforms By Gordon Stribling The question of whether the UK should legalise cannabis use is one which is unlikely to go away any time soon. A recent poll commissioned by think tank Volteface found that the majority of the public supported the legalisation of cannabis, including 68 percent of 18 to 24- year olds. As recently as December the whole legalisation issue even made it to the House of Commons where Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb sought the legalisation of cannabis for medical and recreational use. Norman Lamb was also the chair of the Science and Technology committee which last year reported e-cigarettes needed further endorsement at a government level to combat stubborn smoking rates. MPs narrowly rejected the former health minister’s motion on the legalisation and regulation of cannabis by 66 to 52. Mr Lamb said afterwards: “It is total hypocrisy that the most dangerous drug of all, in terms of harm to yourself and others, alcohol, is consumed in large quantities right here in our national parliament, whilst we criminalise others for using a less dangerous drug – with many using it for the relief of pain.” 100 | VM21 “It is shameful that we continue to criminalise people who use cannabis for the relief of pain. It is equally shameful that we criminalise many young people for using cannabis, when many people in Government will have themselves used cannabis at some stage of their lives.” While it was unlikely that the bill would have progressed much further, the fact that it even made it to the House of Commons reflected the growing appetite for drug reform among the UK public. Campaign group End Our Pain estimate that around a million people in the UK use cannabis as medicine every day, most obtaining it on the black market at a risk to their safety and the threat of criminal action. Following intense public pressure, Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced that specialist doctors would be allowed to prescribe cannabis in the UK. The new law came into effect on November 1, but the reform has proven to be far less of a medical revolution than campaigners had hoped for. “IT IS SHAMEFUL THAT WE CONTINUE TO CRIMINALISE PEOPLE WHO USE CANNABIS FOR THE RELIEF OF PAIN.” NORMAN LAMB, MP