Submitted by the Alliance for Cannabis
1. This memorandum is presented by the Alliance
for Cannabis Therapeutics. The Alliance is an informal association
of patients, doctors and politicians who are pressing for medical
preparations of natural cannabis to be made available for research
and for prescription on a named patient basis while research is
going ahead. We have been active for ten years and are associated
with the similar patients' pressure group of patients in America.
We have no outside funding and no "hidden agenda". We
have never applied for charitable status. We are not campaigning
for the general legalisation of cannabis.
2. The ACT has received unsolicited support
from over 2,000 patients, mainly with Multiple Sclerosis. In addition
we have active support from several members of the House of Commons
and House of Lords, as well as from many medical clinicians.
3. The ACT has been very involved in the
current awareness of the medical use of cannabis. We were interviewed
by the House of Lords Select Committee, represented by Clare Hodges,
Austin Mitchell MP and Professor Patrick Wall. We have had two
meetings with the Ministers of Health, in 1994 and 1997. In the
later one we invited Dr Geoffrey Guy to join us so we could request
he be given a licence to grow and research cannabis. This was
given shortly afterwards. The ACT has the full support of the
Townswomen's Guilds and addressed the European Parliament in Brussels
following which the law was changed in Belgium.
4. It seems that more people with MS and
other seriously ill people are trying cannabis judging from the
unsolicited correspondence to the ACT over the past two years.
We have received over 100 letters from patients asking if we can
provide cannabis. An interesting development is that doctors who
are treating these patients have begun to suggest the patients
try cannabis, even though it is illegal and unlicensed. A copy
of two such letters are enclosed.
5. Another recent development is that there
are now several supply networks set up by patients to supply each
other. In addition, groups who are campaigning for the general
legalisation are using its potential medical benefits as an argument
in their favour, which makes the genuine medical use rather compromised.
6. Suggestions for action. Immediate directives
from the Government should be given as to how police should proceed
in cases where the defendant has a serious medical condition.
7. We also suggest that if a patient has
written recommendation from their doctor, they are allowed to
posseses a small amount of cannabis, or grow up to eight plants
at home, for their own use. Very similar legislation has recently
been passed in Canada, so there is a clear precedent for this.
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