Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Write to Your MP - Today

What is Happening?

Six months ago the legalisation of cannabis was debated in parliament with fewer than 20 MPs in attendance and in a back room. Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb was one of the few that attended and now he is at it again.
The former coalition Health Minister proposed a Ten Minute Rule Bill asking for the very same thing to be debated. So what has changed?

Lamb is now armed with two things that neither he, nor any of the other speakers, could avail themselves with at the last debate:

  • He has the independent panel report on cannabis regulation that was published at the beginning of March, commissioned by the Lib Dems which proposes how the legal regulation of cannabis could be implemented specifically in the UK. 
  • He has the near unanimous support of his entire party at their Spring Conference earlier this month. The Liberal Democrats are a major political party, and Lamb’s call now carries the extra weight of far more voices than 200,000 petitioners. There is clearly appetite for this debate, at least among a swathe of the UK population and many cross-party supporters

The Second Reading of this Bill is scheduled for the House of Commons on 22nd April 2016 and what we really need to be doing is to encourage as many of our MPs to take an interest in this Bill and preferably support it.

Here is the proposal in full: 

A regulated cannabis market for the UK

Who will prepare and bring in in the Bill:

Tim Farron (LibDem)     
Nick Clegg (LibDem)
Tom Brake (LibDem)
Caroline Lucas (Green)
Paul Flynn (Labour)
Peter Lilley (Con)
Norman Lamb (LibDem)

How can we make that happen?

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.
Do support End_Our_Pain for legal access to Cannabis as a Medicine

GOOD LUCK! Let us know how you get on.

Jon Liebling – Political Director of United Patients Alliance
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  1. Well I took up the call to arms, and received a very cursory one line reply from my MP -Pat Glass:

    Sorry Allan I don't agree with legalising cannabis. have never smoked cannabis so this is not do as I say not what I do but I have seen some disturbing evidence linking this to mental health problems in some (not all or most but some) people. This is an on-going lively debate in the Labour Party

  2. You may choose to receive a second opinion if drugs are the sole solution provided strongestcbdoil by your health practitioner.