Thursday, 22 September 2016

Write to Your MP - 2

Write To Your MP

Now is the time to contact your MP making it very clear that you expect them to read the APPG's report and recommendations 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 read, consider and respond to the APPG report and Mike Barnes' report. 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:
  • Mike Barnes' report is a new standard for evidence of cannabis' efficacy for many conditions
  • 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; 
Please send ALL responses - no matter how good or bad to 
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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Thursday, 8 September 2016

PRESS RELEASE - APPG Campaign Launch

United Patients Alliance Press Release

Embargo: 00:01hrs Tuesday 13th September 2016

Patients Welcome MPs Call to Legalise Medical Cannabis

The United Patients Alliance (UPA) has welcomed the findings of a major Parliamentary report published today that access to medical cannabis should be legalised as a ‘landmark moment’ for the estimated 1 million people in Britain that take cannabis primarily for medical reasons.  The report was issued by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Drug Policy Reform following their seven month inquiry, along with the results of a worldwide review of evidence and patient survey, commissioned by them 

Jon Liebling, political director of UPA said, ‘The findings of this report, and the review of evidence from around the world published alongside it, together with our patient survey is a landmark moment in our campaign to advance access to medical cannabis. Working alongside the campaign we have long argued that people taking cannabis for medical reasons are patients, not criminals. We urge the UK government to take heed of this report and act.  Today’s news blows the government’s view that cannabis has ‘no medical value’ out of the water.  The government needs to follow the lead of the growing number of countries, including 13 in the EU along with 25 US States that are seeing this issue for what it is – a matter of compassion and social and medical justice with solid evidence to support it’.

The APPG’s members include over 100 Peers and MPs, co-chaired by Baroness Molly Meacher and Caroline Lucas MP

Their inquiry stretched over 7 months.  The APPG also commissioned the most in-depth review of the medical and scientific evidence of cannabis’ efficacy for many conditions and symptoms, including mental health, ever undertaken. This review of evidence was researched and produced by one of the UKs top Consultant Neurologists, Professor Mike Barnes. This report should be seen as the most authoritative and up-to-date document on this subject, removing any doubt about cannabis’ therapeutic benefits for many conditions:

United Patients Alliance along with some of our patients gave evidence at a number of the APPG hearings and were tasked with running, administering and analysing a 600+ cohort Medical Cannabis Patient Survey comparing their experiences of prescription medications versus cannabis, along with preferred methods of consumption, strengths, sourcing and many other fascinating statistics. The results support both Mike Barnes’ report and the APPG’s campaign and will be addressing question such as:

How do you source cannabis? (street/grow/etc...)
What type is best for you (High THC > Low CBD, choice, etc......)
What form of cannabis (Herbal, Edible, Tincture, Oil)
How do you ingest (Smoke, w/wo tobacco, vaping, eat, etc..)
What conditions do you consume it for?
How effective is cannabis vs prescrition drugs?
Description and Severity of side-effects
How long have you had your condition? How long have you been consuming cannabis?
Have you talked to your doctor about cannabis? How did they respond?

In addition there are a few interesting and significant gender differences in terms of conditions, effectiveness, side-effects, etc..

No10 Downing Street
The public campaign #EndOurPain, which has been active for only a few months and has over 19000 signatories, 29 MPs, 12 Peers, 4 celebrities (Richard Branson, Joanna Lumley, Russell Brand and Alistair Campbell) along with a practising UK GP and Consultant Neurologist will present its aims and progress to No10 Downing Street alongside this launch -  Copies of both the APPG report and the review of evidence can be downloaded from the from 00:01 Tuesday 13th September 2016


Editors notes:

Contact Details:
Jon Liebling | Political Director - United Patients Alliance
E: M: 07921589237

Clark French | Founder and Director - United Patients Alliance
E: M: 07773 690488

Please use our Website Page link in any publications:
(New website launched on 13th Sept)

Introducing United Patients Alliance
The United Patients Alliance are a support and campaigning community for 1000s or medical cannabis patients in the UK who suffer from a range of conditions including; Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Crohn’s, Anxiety, Depression, AIDS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, ME, PTSD, Epilepsy, Chronic and Neuropathic Pain, all of whom have found that various types and strengths of cannabis consumed in a variety of ways has proven to be a more effective medicine than their legal and prescribed alternatives in improving their lives, reducing side effects and treating their symptoms. These patients are forced to either live in unnecessary discomfort and pain or risk dealing with criminals for their medicine and a criminal record for growing it or consuming it.

We launched in June 2014 with the support of Caroline Lucas MP and Professor David Nutt and have since gained the direct support of a number of other ministers and politicians. We run Patient Perspective and Cannabis College events around the UK to give patients a forum for telling their stories and to help inform the public of the proven medical benefits whilst dispelling the myths and half-truths about its harms. We estimate that there are about 1m active and current medical cannabis consumers who would immediately benefit from a change in this dreadful situation. In terms of genuine information on medical cannabis and how best to consume it, we are the UK’s experts on cannabis as a medicine.

Political Director of United Patients Alliance, Jon Liebling asks "What compassionate society would allow the criminalisation of patients for consuming something with their doctors blessing that helps them manage and treat their illnesses and improves their lives?"

Founder and Director of United Patients Alliance and Multiple Sclerosis patient Clark French says:
"Cannabis is medicine for thousands of UK patients suffering from chronic conditions, it is both cruel and callous to seek to arrest someone for consuming something which makes them feel better, we demand the government listens and changes the law to reflect the science and allow legal access to cannabis for all UK citizens who wish to benefit from cannabis' therapeutic potential"

Quotes from United Patients Alliance Patients:

Alex Fraser – Crohn’s Patient
"I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at 19. I cannot be prescribed any traditional painkillers for my chronic pain. Cannabis is my only medicine, it's the only thing that's ever worked. It eases my pain, gives me an appetite, helps me sleep and reduces my nausea. Regular use reduces all of my symptoms to the point where it enables me to work. Without cannabis, my life would barely be worth living"

Faye Jones - Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient
"I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 27 and rely on cannabis for pain relief, and to combat the side effects of prescribed treatments for my condition, that would otherwise prevent me from staying in full time employment."

Jake Barrow - Chronic and Neuropathic Pain Patient

"Patients in the UK need access to medical cannabis immediately. To expect anyone to cope or even survive on heavy opiate based medications for their entire lives shows how both cruel and inhumane political ideology can be. We need to remove the stigma from Medical Cannabis use"

APPG Medicinal Cannabis Initiative

Short Inquiry into the case for changing the categorisation of cannabis for medicinal purposes from Schedule 1 to a more appropriate Schedule”

On September 13th, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Drug Policy Reform published its report and recommendations following its inquiry and presented all the evidence to No 10 Downing Street along with United Patients Alliance and #EndOurPain

From the left: Frank Warburton (APPG), Jon Liebling, Clark French (UPA), Prof Mike Barnes, Peter Carroll (#EndOurPain), Baroness Molly Meacher

The APPG has over 100 MPs and Peers as its members and is Co-Chaired by Caroline Lucas MP and crossbench peer Baroness Molly Meacher.
To find out more visit the APPG Website

Molly attended our Patient Perspective event in London last year and was “deeply moved” by what she heard. She told us on the night, “I had no idea it had such a broad range of benefits. We have to do something about this!”

In the first of many meetings with Molly and her team we successfully argued that “a more appropriate schedule” would be better than “to Schedule 2” reflecting the fact that GW Pharmaceuticals full plant extract medicine Sativex is in Schedule 4 and as such, this should be considered more carefully.
In addition we were overjoyed to have successfully made the case for the inclusion of a recommendation to decriminalise "Grow Your Own" for patients witin the report.
The APPG’s report included evidence from many written submissions and oral hearings in which UPA and a number of our patients took part, along with many other interested groups from both sides of the fence. Most significantly, one of the UK’s top consultant neurologists, Professor Mike Barnes, published his comprehensive and qualitative review of the scientific evidence for cannabis’ efficacy for many conditions which was supported by the publication of the results from APPG and United Patients Alliance recent survey of over 600 medical cannabis patients.

House of Lords
From Left: Clark French, Founder and Director UPA, Caroline Lucas MP, Baroness Molly Meacher and UPA Political Director, Jonathan Liebling

All the documents can be accessed here:

APPG Report: Accessing Medicinal Cannabis: Meeting Patient’s Needs 
Professor Mike Barnes: Cannabis: The Evidence for Medical Use 
United Patients Alliance: Medicinal Cannabis Patient Survey

Alongside this launch, #EndOurPain presented their petition:

Sign up to support #EndOurPain here:

Whilst we await an official response from the UK Government which we expect will be forthcoming in the next few weeks, it has never been a better time to get involved with United Patients Alliance and help us drive the forward.
We need all the help we can muster - CLICK here if you would like to!

Jon Liebling – Political Director of United Patients Alliance

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