10th October - Bill introduced into the House of Commons - The Legalisation of Cannabis (medical purposes) Bill
Vice Chair of the APPG, Paul Flynn introduced the Bill under the 10 minute rule. In introducing the Bill he argued that:
'The tide of world opinion is moving in the direction of legalising cannabis. Some 29 states in America—the majority—have already legalised medical cannabis without any problems arising. There are six or seven states in Europe where it is possible to use cannabis medicinally. We have forgotten that this is the oldest medicine in the world. It has been used for at least 5,000 years—archaeological evidence supports that—and we know that if there were problems with it, they would have been discovered years ago.
As with all drugs, people will object that there are malign side effects, but as someone who has been campaigning in this House against drug misuse for many years, I can say that the ones that we have trouble with now, such as valproate, are the opioid drugs and neuroleptic drugs used in residential homes for the elderly. There is massive misuse of these drugs, which have very serious side effects. Cannabis involves side effects, but no problems have arisen in all the states and countries that have taken this on.
If we legalise drugs, we reduce side effects by taking the market out of the hands of the criminals and the scammers, and putting those drugs in a legal market that can be run by doctors using medical priorities. These are the lessons from all the states in America that have taken this step.'
A full transcript of the introduction of the Bill can be seen here
The Bill was cosponsored by MPs, Frank Field, Caroline Lucas, Mary Glindon, Jeff Smith, Kelvin Hopkins, Crispin Blunt, Michael Fabricant, Martyn Day, Ronnie Cowan, Layla Moran and Mr Alistair Carmichael.
The second reading of the Bill is expected in February 2008. See here for further details.