THE Member of Parliament sponsoring the Medical Cannabis Access Bill in the House of Commons today has acknowledged it is set to fail due to lack of political support.
On December 10, last year, the bill, which aimed to open prescribing to thousands or UK patients was ‘talked-out’ by the ruling Conservative Party MPs.
While it is on the list of Private Members Bills to be heard at today’s parliamentary session there is almost zero chance it will proceed.
In an email exchange with a senior aide to Jeff Smith, the Labour MP for Manchester Wythenshawe, BusinessCann was told: “It almost definitely won’t receive any further parliamentary time or be able to progress any further.
“Unfortunately the Government was not forthcoming with any proposals that they’d be able to support, and we were not able to convince them to support the ones outlined in Jeff’s Bill.”
As BusinessCann reported in December Mr Smith’s initial attempt to open up access to medical cannabis was ‘talked out’ after five hours of debate, with the Government adhering to its position that the existing legislation is sufficient.
The primary sticking block on the Government benches is the need for evidence of cannabis efficacy and, to this end, it is urging drug manufacturers to put forward their cannabis medicines for clinical trials.
However, backers of medical cannabis say it is not suited the clinical trial process as the plant has over one hundred compounds and many patients benefit from the whole-plant, entourage effect.
In a separate November parliamentary session Government Health Minister Maria Caulfield said Government funds are available to undertake clinical research on medical cannabis and that 13 trials are currently underway.
BusinessCann asked the Department of Health and Social Care for some further details on these trials, which are not in the public domain, and we are still awaiting a response, over two months later.
This Government’s intransigence and the genetic cannabis caution of the medical profession is causing much frustration which is set to be vented at a demonstration outside Parliament today.
Protest organiser Guy Coxall, of campaign group Seed Our Future, said: “There is overwhelming evidence that whole plant cannabis is both relatively safe and has great efficacy for the prevention and treatment of a wide range of diseases.
“The harm prohibition has caused to individuals and society over the past 50 years is insurmountable. MoDA 1971 has failed the people of Britain and so-called independent quango’s such as the MHRA and the ACMD wouldn’t know the safety and efficacy of a hammer if they hit themselves in the face.
“The Government must stop placing the interests of the pharmaceutical industry over the public interest and instead, allow the people to have the autonomous right to utilise natural plant medicine for health, as at present, there is no viable alternative whilst millions go undiagnosed and without treatment.
“As legislative changes sweep across Europe, we hope that those who want to see similar changes here will attend and stand up for their human rights and civil liberties.
“For the first time, some MP’s are telling the truth in the House of Commons and we will echo the truth from outside during the second reading of this bill.
“We strongly feel that there is a real opportunity for change, but the right change will only occur if public opinion is demonstrated. We hope that the attendance will reflect this but during such difficult times, this may not be the case.
“In any case, we will continue to fight for truth, liberty and justice.”
To follow the protest click here.