Thursday, 17 September 2015

Write to Your MP

What is Happening?

The House of Commons Petitions Committee have decided to schedule the debate for the Legalisation of the Production, Sale and Consumption of Cannabis in response to the cannabis petition. It will take place on 12th October 2015 in Westminster Hall.

We already have the Government’s initial response which you will find, together with my response here:

The debate will be chaired by Paul Flynn, the Labour MP for Newport West, who has been campaigning for cannabis law reform for over 25 years; “I will present both sides of the argument and hope that MPs will voice the common sense informed views of their constituents and resist the temptation to bury their heads in the sands.”

United Patients Alliance have already made contact with him to offer any support we can to which he has responded by asking as many people as possible to write to their MP asking them to attend the debate and inform them of the harms of prohibition and the of its medicinal benefits for which there is a vast amount of ever increasing peer reviewed scientific research.

Why Now?

This is an exciting time and there has never been a better time to help and to act whilst the subject is in the spot light. In fact I will go further: If you have ever wanted to change this law THE TIME IS NOW AND YOU MUST ACT!

All 4 Labour Leadership candidates have shown their support for policy review with their recently elected leader Jeremy Corbyn saying; 

I don’t think there should be criminalisation of something that is used for medicinal purposes, it is obviously beneficial to many people, particularly those suffering from MS, and I think we should be adult and grown up about this in society and decriminalise.”

You can see this segment of the hustings here:

In addition, we have the support of the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats who both include it in their manifestos and even Nigel Farage of UKIP has publicly stated his support for reform. There is only one major political party wanting to maintain the effectively and morally bankrupt status quo.

Write To Your MP

Now is the time to contact your MP making it very clear that you expect them to attend the debate and you want them to represent your views and if you can, arrange to meet your MP at their constituency surgery to explain things in person. Saying “NO” by email is much easier than saying it to a medical cannabis patient sat right in front of them.
You must include your full postal address and postcode to show that you are a constituent.  Without this your email or letter will be ignored.

An email or a letter is fine, both is even better and a follow up phone call to their office can be very effective in getting a response.

Write in your own words. Parliamentary email systems can identify and delete “Template Emails” to address campaigns by petitioning groups that have inundated MPs with such correspondence.  

Keep your letter fairly brief. Limited to 3 or 4 paragraphs and a single page is best.

A good format for your correspondence is:

Paragraph 1: Why you are writing? What do you want from your MP?
  • I am/want to be a medical cannabis patient who has suffered from (condition) or I am a recreational consumer
  • What do you expect in return - I want you to attend and represent my situation/opinion/position in this debate....) I want you to tell me your position on this subject. I want to arrange an appointment to see you.
Paragraph 2: Details of condition/consumption/why you believe cannabis should be legalised? It does not have to be every angle or every reason. The ones that mean the most to you will do.

Paragraph 3: I appreciate you taking the time to read this. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you. Grovel (not really)

What do I Write About?

Use your own words; choose from these points if that helps:
  • Legal regulation of cannabis will move the £6bn per year market out of the hands of the criminals, reducing under age consumption and resulting in better quality and known strengths, less prevalence of Skunk and other high-THC strains which are a response to the illegal market. 
  • The potential benefits of taxation of cannabis would allow us to invest millions more in schools, hospitals, drug abuse treatment and re-education
  • Legalising would reduce police costs and time so they can concentrate on more serious and violent crime, whilst improving relationships with the public.
  • It removes the risks relating to dealing with the criminal market for patients in accessing their medicine
  • Provide patients with much needed medicine that is effective and safe
  • It would save the NHS millions of pounds as people would chose cannabis over other more expensive and less effective pharmaceutical medications. An average Multiple Sclerosis Patient costs £30k per year unless they choose cannabis. In US states where available there is 16%-25% take up. With 100k MS sufferers in the UK, that is a minimum of £480m per year, for just MS.
  • Opiate abuse and overdose has reduced by an average of 25% and Alcohol abuse and overdose by 15% in places where regulated cannabis is available as an alternative. 
  • Allows for more research in more places without the 2 year lead time and additional costs of around £160k per year for licences and materials and would encourage competition by breaking GW Pharmaceutical's UK monopoly
  • It would directly and immediately reduce the numbers of trafficked children forced to work on illegal cannabis grows in the UK
  • It's my Human Right
You can link to the following pieces of evidence in your email or letter or add your own but no more than 3 or 4 excellent links.

Lastly and most importantly; Do give United Patients Alliance a mention.

GOOD LUCK! Let us know how you get on.

Jon Liebling – Political Director of United Patients Alliance
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