A friend of mine went to Parliament last month in order to break the law. He took cannabis on the lawn outside, watched over by police and security cameras.

He was not alone. Hundreds of people joined him in publicly eating, smoking and vaping cannabis.

They were there under the banner of the United Patients Alliance, at the specific invitation of Paul Flynn MP, who was raising a Ten-Minute Rule Bill for medical access to cannabis.

This was on Tuesday the 10th of October. No one was arrested.

Some years ago I was the election agent for the Legalise Cannabis Alliance. My friend was the candidate. At that time he was campaigning for the legalisation of cannabis for a broad range of reasons, not only for its medical use.

Since then the issue has become much more personal. He was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2014 and has been through a variety of painful and debilitating treatments, including a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy.

He has fungal pneumonia, emphysema, osteoarthritis, osteopenia and hyperthyroidism, all of them as a direct consequence of his treatment. He is in constant pain and has to walk with sticks. Of all the things he has tried, or has been given, to alleviate the pain, only two have worked. One is morphine, the other is cannabis.

Anyone who has ever taken morphine will know what it is like. It is a very effective pain killer, but it leaves you in a poor mental state. “Monged out” as people say, dribbling incoherently on the settee, unable to lift your own foot, let alone tie your shoelaces.

Cannabis, on the other hand, keeps my friend alert and focused and able to function normally. What was once a recreational pass time has now become a medical necessity.

What a strange world it is we live in. A known symptomatic cure for a whole variety of illnesses, with a 5,000 year history, is made illegal, and sick people forced into crime, on the whim of a generation of politicians who really have no idea what they are talking about.

Meanwhile the rest of the world is waking up to the medicinal use of cannabis. Let’s hope we can make the change in Britain soon.

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From The Whitstable Gazette 26/10/17

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