A high level parliamentary enquiry has called for the legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes.

The report, by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform, has been published today and follows an extensive inquiry lasting 7 months into the medical value of cannabis, currently a Schedule I substance.

Co-Chair of the APPG group Baroness Molly Meacher said, in a press release:

The findings of our inquiry and review of evidence from across the world are clear.  Cannabis works as a medicine for a number of medical conditions.  The evidence has been strong enough to persuade a growing number of countries and US states to legalise access to medical cannabis.  Against this background, the UK scheduling of cannabis as a substance that has no medical value is irrational.

The report follows on from developments across the globe, where countries including Germany and Italy are beginning to implement national medical cannabis programmes. Co-chairing the group alongside Baroness Meacher was MP Caroline Lucas, who said:

Many hundreds of thousands of people in the UK are already taking cannabis for primarily medical reasons.  It is totally unacceptable that they should face the added stress of having to break the law to access their medicine.  This a matter of compassion and human rights.  The government should have the political courage to view the issue of medical cannabis separately from any wider drugs reform and act urgently.

The inquiry collected evidence from over 600 patients, medical professionals and regulators. Professor Mike Barnes was enlisted to conduct what has proven to be the most extensive review of evidence worldwide pertaining to the medical cannabis issue.

In a separate press release by the United Patients Alliance, a campaign group focusing on establishing access for patients to medicinal cannabis, Policy Director Jon Liebling welcomed the findings of the inquiry, saying:

The findings of this report, and the review of evidence from around the world published alongside it, together with our patient survey is a landmark moment in our campaign to advance access to medical cannabis. Working alongside the End Our Pain campaign we have long argued that people taking cannabis for medical reasons are patients, not criminals.

We urge the UK government to take heed of this report and act. Today’s news blows the government’s view that cannabis has ‘no medical value’ out of the water. The government needs to follow the lead of the growing number of countries, including 13 in the EU along with 25 US States that are seeing this issue for what it is – a matter of compassion and social and medical justice with solid evidence to support it

As Liebling cites, the End Our Pain campaign group exemplify the increasing political interest in the UK surrounding medical cannabis.

With high level parliamentary inquiry into what is fast becoming a global talking point, it appears as if the necessary momentum is gathering to add the UK to the growing ranks of countries that are legalising cannabis for medical purposes.

Words by Calum Armstrong tweets @vf_calum

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