APPG meeting 13th September 2017

Members present

Mary Glindon MP, Ronnie Cowan MP, Lord Mancroft, Lord Ramsbotham, Lord Layard, Baroness Meacher (in the chair), Baroness Walmesley, Lord Crickhowell, Baroness Stern, Lord Low, Baroness Hamwee, Lord Howarth, Paul Flynn MP


Dr Owen Bowden Jones, Chair of the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs addressed the meeting. He outlined the range of work being undertaken by the ACMD including recent  commissions from the Home Secretary. This included a forthcoming review of the use of controlled substances for research and health applications, particularly the development of medicines.
Dr Jones answered a number of questions including the level of resources at the disposal of the ACMD, its relationship to the Home Office the issue of relative harms between substances such as cannabis and opiates and how far government needs to allow the science to catch up with practice as in the current widespread use of cannabis medicinally.
Mr Mike Abbott, Chairman, Mr Nicholas Vita, Chief Executive, and Dr Rosemary Mazinet from Columbia Care, the largest single supplier of legal medicinal cannabis products in the United States addressed the meeting.

Mike Abbott compared the situation in the USA with that of the UK in that at government level, certain medicinal cannabis products were not authorised in either country. However, in the USA, a movement has taken place outside congress at state level and cannabis based treatments are becoming part of the medical paradigm.

Dr Mazinet spoke about the development of medicinal cannabis. It has been mainly based on the components within some (not all) cannabis plants – THC and CBD but there are at least 92 components within cannabis which may have potential chemical uses. Systems of medicine development and approval tend to favour a focus on one component. For example the development of the medicine Epidiolex is based on CBD but there could be benefits in combining CBD with CBDV (Cannabidivarin) in treatments. Official statistics in the USA are indicating that in states that have legalised medicinal cannabis use of drugs that can be used to treat the same conditions but have more severe side effects (such as opioids) has decreased.

AGM of the Group held on the 4th July 2017.

The meeting was attended by Baroness Molly Meacher (in the chair), Jeff Smith MP, Lord Benjamin Mancroft, Lord Geoffrey Dear, Lord Alan Howarth, Paul Flynn MP, Ronnie Cowan MP, Baroness Joan Walmesley, Lord Philip Norton and Baroness Vivien Stern, The Officers elected were: Co-Chairs, Caroline Lucas MP and  Baroness Molly Meacher; Vice-Chairs, Jeff Smith MP,  Lord Alan Howarth, Paul Flynn MP, Ronnie Cowan MP, Baroness Joan Walmesley and Lord Philip Norton. Lord Alan Howarth was elected as Treasurer. A financial report for 2016/17 was tabled and approved by the meeting. The meeting reviewed and discussed activities taking place in 2016/17 and those planned for 2017/18.