A bill seeking to legalize medical marijuana in the UK has passed its first reading in the nation’s Parliament; without any opposition.
It was introduced by MP Paul Flynn as a “ten minute rule bill“. These give MPs an opportunity to voice an opinion on a subject or aspect of existing legislation in a speech of no more than ten minutes that outlines their position. While “ten minute bills” rarely become law, they can help set the scene for related legislation to be passed.
Mr. Flynn, who has been an advocate for the legalisation of medical cannabis for more than three decades, believes the tide is turning in the UK on the issue.
“People have seen what’s happening in other parts of the world, and seen the changes that have been made in the law on cannabis, without civilization collapsing and without the sky falling,” he said in an interview with Marijuana.com
The second reading of the bill will occur early next year.
Coinciding with yesterday’s reading, a protest coordinated by United Patients Alliance took place outside Parliament, with some participants also consuming marijuana products. No arrests were made during the act of civil disobedience; which was encouraged by Mr. Flynn as “the law has proved to be an ass.”
“It’ s the duty of the good citizen to disobey laws that oppress the sick and the powerless and deny them the medicines of their choice,” he tweeted.
Earlier this month, United Patients Alliance announced additional MP’s had joined their ranks as patrons, including Mr. Flynn.
“I am delighted to become a Patron of United Patients Alliance. I will do everything I can to help,” he said. “Please support my bill that will end the anxiety of the threat of prosecution from seriously ill patients taking their medicine of choice. The bill is sponsored by members of all parties, The Multiple Sclerosis Society, United Patients Alliance and a Police & Crime Commissioner.”
The group saw Mr. Flynn’s patronage and that of Tonia Antoniazzi MP as an important event.
“Getting Labour MPs on board like this now, really sets the balance in our favour…..and we think we are raising awareness of the plight of cannabis patients in all the right places in the Labour Party leadership,” said UPA.
Another patron of the group is former UK Government Drugs Minister, Norman Baker.