MPs call for cannabis to be legalised to spare suffering

An MP wants cannabis to be legalised to shield a million people who use the drug on medical grounds from prosecution and rescue police forces from “an impossible position”.

Oct 12, 2017

An MP wants cannabis to be legalised to shield a million people who use the drug on medical grounds from prosecution and rescue police forces from “an impossible position”. Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant has co-sponsored a landmark Bill – introduced in Parliament this week – describing the current law as a “complete a**”. Mr Fabricant`s challenge to the legal status quo came in the form of a Private Members’ Bill – jointly introduced with Labour MP Paul Flynn – after a mother received police warnings for using it to treat her debilitating condition. He has revealed the story of Vicky Clarke, from Burntwood, who has been reported to Staffordshire Police twice after turning to the Class B drug in her decade-long battle with multiple sclerosis. Mr Fabricant said: “This story is tragic – barbaric. In this respect the law needs to be changed. “It puts the police and social services in an impossible position and I am glad that both have behaved responsibly so far with regard to Vicky and her family.” Urging MPs to help, Newport West MP Mr Flynn, added: “At the moment the law says that cannabis has no beneficial effects and we all know it does.” An estimated one million people in the UK use it for medical reasons, but possession can result in up to five years in prison, or 14 years for those who supply and produce it. UK laws prohibit the possession of cannabis in any form, meaning it is illegal to possess, grow, distribute or sell it. Being caught with even a small amount can mean a £90 on-the-spot fine. Mr Fabricant added: “I see no reason why doctors should not be allowed to prescribe cannabis – or any drug – if in their judgment it would help in palliative care or cure.” After a decade of suffering excruciating pain, Mrs Clarke’s life suddenly became bearable again when she started using the drug. The 47-year-old had been diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis in her mid-30s, and was forced to give up her career as a primary school teacher due to severe nerve pain in her left shoulder. She tried every available drug on the NHS and none worked, but relief finally came in the form of taking small amounts of cannabis. However, wheelchair user Mrs Clarke is now back to suffering on a daily basis when she was visited by police officers and social services regarding the safeguarding of her youngest daughter Megan, 17, after carers reported smelling cannabis in their house. Together with her husband Andy, the pair risked arrest and having their children Megan and Sophie taken into care if she continued to use cannabis. Mr Clarke, 50, said they felt they had little choice originally but to turn to cannabis due to his wife’s deteriorating condition. “Since the early days of diagnosis, Vicky has suffered daily with severe stabbing nerve pain,” he said. “She has tried every drug there is plus acupuncture, electro acupuncture, nerve injections, chilli patches – literally everything the NHS and private clinics have to offer. “Vicky now has very little function and is doubly incontinent. She has carers come in whilst I work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I take over at all other times “I had been trying to grow some cannabis in a spare upstairs bedroom, not very successfully I might add. But one of the carers reported a smell of cannabis coming from upstairs.” They were paid a visit by Staffordshire Police, and, although warned of the possible consequences, took the risk to turn to a dealer and made butter with the drugs to put it into smoothies. Mr Clarke claimed the move was an “absolute success”. “I would come home from work to find a smiling Vicky whom had been pain free all day after ten years in agony,” he added. But a second report to the police from a care agency brought with it a safeguarding visit from Social Services, followed by one regarding the safeguarding of Megan. Mr Clarke says he now runs the risk of either Vicky or Megan being taken into care if he persists with defying the law. Mr Fabricant’s Private Members’ Bill is du

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