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Medical Cannabis *updated*

May 2006

Cannabis (Therapeutic Use)

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to change the status of drugs derived from cannabinoids to allow their wider legal use for pain and spasm control.

Mr. Coaker: The Home Office continues to license clinical trials aimed at developing non-smoked medicines derived from cannabis. We would seek Parliament's agreement to make any necessary changes to the law to enable the prescription of cannabis-based medicine, for the purposes of relieving pain and spasm control. The MHRA is responsible for evaluating the safety, quality and effectiveness of all prospective medicinal products. It is a process which is designed to protect public health.


A day of medical cannabis action took place on 24th May 2006 to raise awareness of the issues and injustices facing medical cannabis users, growers and their friends and relatives in the UK.

A Petition was delivered to Downing St at 1pm by a group which includes a Grandmother who self-medicates by adding cannabis to her food (Cannabis Grandma), an MS sufferer, the founder of a clinic dispensing cannabis-based creams and tinctures, an organic medical cannabis grower and a human-rights lawyer.

An organiser said: "Many thousands of people in Britain are being denied treatment with a effective drug, not because of scientific or medical reasons, but because of bigotry, because the drug is called 'cannabis'. As a consequence it could be you who dies early, or who ends up in a wheel chair unnecessarily, or who suffers pain that can't be treated by other drugs without terrible side effects. Or it could be your Mum or Dad, a child or your grandparents. That is why legalising medical cannabis now is a family issue. Meanwhile the only people who benefit from the continued prohibition of medical cannabis are the companies who supply drugs that don't work as well as cannabis - and funeral directors."

There was a Press Conference, and Lobby of MP's 3pm - 4pm inside the 'House of Commons', and a all day demonstration outside at Parliament Square from 10am to 5pm.

Organised by members of the 'Cannabis Trust' - bookmark 'News of the Weed' for more information & regular up dates.

Respect Cannabis - The Law Doesn't The Right To Choose Your Own Medicine

Cannabis (Therapeutic Use)

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to change the status of drugs derived from cannabinoids to allow their wider legal use for pain and spasm control.

Mr. Coaker: The Home Office continues to license clinical trials aimed at developing non-smoked medicines derived from cannabis. We would seek Parliament's agreement to make any necessary changes to the law to enable the prescription of cannabis-based medicine, for the purposes of relieving pain and spasm control. The MHRA is responsible for evaluating the safety, quality and effectiveness of all prospective medicinal products. It is a process which is designed to protect public health.

 


A day of medical cannabis action took place on 24th May 2006 to raise awareness of the issues and injustices facing medical cannabis users, growers and their friends and relatives in the UK.

A Petition was delivered to Downing St at 1pm by a group which includes a Grandmother who self-medicates by adding cannabis to her food (Cannabis Grandma), an MS sufferer, the founder of a clinic dispensing cannabis-based creams and tinctures, an organic medical cannabis grower and a human-rights lawyer.

An organiser said: "Many thousands of people in Britain are being denied treatment with a effective drug, not because of scientific or medical reasons, but because of bigotry, because the drug is called 'cannabis'. As a consequence it could be you who dies early, or who ends up in a wheel chair unnecessarily, or who suffers pain that can't be treated by other drugs without terrible side effects. Or it could be your Mum or Dad, a child or your grandparents. That is why legalising medical cannabis now is a family issue. Meanwhile the only people who benefit from the continued prohibition of medical cannabis are the companies who supply drugs that don't work as well as cannabis - and funeral directors."

There was a Press Conference, and Lobby of MP's 3pm - 4pm inside the 'House of Commons', and a all day demonstration outside at Parliament Square from 10am to 5pm.

Organised by members of the 'Cannabis Trust' - bookmark 'News of the Weed' for more information & regular up dates.

Respect Cannabis - The Law Doesn't The Right To Choose Your Own Medicine

 

 

Labour MPs support medicinal cannabis use

David Batty Wednesday May 24, 2006

Two MPs today backed calls to legalise cannabis for medicinal use, saying it would offer relief to thousands of sick and elderly people suffering from chronic pain.

The Labour MPs Paul Flynn and Brian Iddon were supporting a rally today in Parliament Square by the Cannabis Education Trust to raise awareness of the problems faced by medicinal cannabis users.

Mr Flynn, who has campaigned for the legalisation of the drug for medical purposes for 12 years, said he planned to reintroduce his private member's bill, first presented to parliament in 2001, to prevent the prosecution of chronically ill people.

"People around the world have testified in their thousands about the benefits of taking cannabis to relieve chronic pain," he said. "But because of our hang-up in this country with recreational use of the drug, we've condemned otherwise law-abiding citizens to risk jail."

He said there had been legal cases in which juries had let off people who said they were using cannabis medicinally.

"We must test the waters again. The law is an ass. Judges have called for parliament to revisit the issue."

Mr Flynn blamed the political parties' fear of being painted as weak on law and order for the failure to legalise cannabis for medicinal use.

"We had a bill last year that wasn't opposed by anybody to reclassify magic mushrooms as a class A drug - the same level as heroin, which is stupid because they're not at all that dangerous."

Many people with multiple sc partylerosis have used cannabis illegally to relieve their symptoms, including spasticity - muscle tightness and stiffness - and nerve pain. An estimated 85,000 people in Britain suffer from the disease.

Mr Iddon, chairman of the all-party parliamentary drugs misuse group, favours legalising cannabis for medicinal and recreational use, provided that in the latter case it is sold with clear health warnings.

 


The MP, a former chemistry lecturer, said it was "very wrong" that chronically sick patients had to choose between living in severe pain or risk themselves or one of their relatives being sent to prison for buying cannabis or growing it for medicinal use.


He said most medicinal cannabis campaigners were "normal people" and did not fit the "loony cannabis smoker" stereotype.

Earlier today, campaigners delivered a petition to Downing Street calling for an end to the prosecution of medicinal cannabis users.

Adam Slade, who suffers from chronic pain as a result of a congenital condition, said the current law on medicinal cannabis use put him in "an awkward position".

Mr Slade, who found standard painkillers ineffective at relieving his pain, said: "Cannabis improves my quality of life but because it's illegal it doesn't improve my quality of characterisation."

As well as decriminalising such use of the drug, the campaigners want a pain-relieving cannabis mouth spray to be made available on the NHS and cannabis clinics opened to provide patients with pain relief.

The mouthspray, Sativex, is already on sale in Canada to treat nerve pain but the company is facing a longer wait than expected for approval in Britain. Regulators in this country asked for additional data from the company last June.

Andrew Cornwall, coordinator of the Cannabis Education Trust, said the status of medicinal cannabis was a grey area of the law that needed clearing up.

"The needs of medicinal cannabis users are being neglected," Mr Cornwall, a lawyer, said. "There's no legal medicinal cannabis yet available in this country but many would argue that it was a medical necessity to provide the drug to chronically sick people to relieve their symptoms."

 

New Bill needed to re-Legalise Medicinal Cannabis

 

Paul Flynn said:

“The recent case on ex-police women forced to buy her medicinal cannabis on the streets from the dealers she once arrested illustrates the absurdity of the current laws.

The House of Lords Select Committee on Science, 100 MPs, the Police Foundation and the majority of doctors and the public are in favour of this bill. By a simple change in the law, natural cannabis can be legally available to those suffering from serious ailments.

It is indefensible that last September a Chief Constable said he would not arrest someone for smoking cannabis recreationally in the same month a desperately ill woman was dragged through the courts for using it medicinally.

A moving account of one women’s experience was recently given to a conference in Brussels. Clare Hodges said:

Campaigner Clare Hodges made a profound impression with her personal experience when she addressed a conference in Brussels.

"I discovered I had Multiple Sclerosis ago when I was 25 years old. Fir several years I was only mildly affected, I carried on working, married and had two children. But slowly my condition became worse, so that now I am constantly uncomfortable and tired; I am visually impaired and cannot sleep, eat or move very well. In some ways it's like having permanent jetlag.

The medicines prescribed only gave limited relief and often unacceptable side effects. Over the years I've been given steroids, tranquilisers, pain killers, muscle relaxants and antidepressants. At best they only helped in the short term, and many have intolerable side-effects. My main problem, however, was that, my bladder was in constant spasm, but no prescribed medicines helped me.

Multiple Sclerosis (or MS) is a cruel disease. You develop it when you're young and healthy, and slowly but surely you lose all your faculties, abilities and functions. Nowadays you can expect to live your full life span often until you are completely dependent. And of course this is a very depressing prospect. I began to get gloomy and introspective as all the future seemed to hold was deteriorating health and no medicines that really helped.

But in 1992 I read n an American journal about how some doctors had observed cannabis can help people with MS. As I am a middle class mother of two young children I had a bit of a problem obtaining cannabis. It was sometimes quite embarrassing asking people, but eventually I found someone who helped me and showed me how to use it.

When I did try cannabis, the physical relief was almost immediate. The tension in my spine and bladder was eased, and I slept well. I was comfortable with my body for the first time in years. But, just as important, I felt happy that there was something, after all, that could help me. It was as if a huge weight had been lifted from me.

I've been using cannabis now for nine years. There is no doubt that my condition had improved in different ways, I do not have to take as many prescribed medicines. I now eat better, sleep better, and I feel more positive and motivated. Ad my health is more stable I find I can now do simple things that I hadn't been able to do, like go to the shops, or cook my children's dinner after school.

Through trial and error I have now established a routine that helps me. I take 9 grams of herbal cannabis per week, drinking it in tea during the day and smoking it at night before I go to bed. I do not smoke it with tobacco but with dried herbs. I've found smoking is the best way of taking it to treat my disease as it is much easier to regulate the dose.

The neurologist I see was very much impressed by how much better I was, he put me in touch with two other patients with MS who also used cannabis. When we found out cannabis in tincture form was available on medical prescription in Britain until 1973, we decided to start campaigning to have it restored as a legal medicine. The campaign is called the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics or ACT. It's run entirely by patients, and we finance it ourselves. It has involved an enormous amount of work, dealing with thousands of letters from patients, doctors and politicians. We were very involved in the British Medical Association report, were interviewed by the House of Lords select committee, and by two Ministers of Health. We also helped a pharmaceutical company, GW Pharmaceuticals, obtain a licence to grow cannabis for medical research, and clinical trials are now planned.

Judging from the large correspondence over the years and from widespread reporting in the press, it reasonable to conclude there are thousands of medical users in Britain. Many patients say cannabis helps them because it not only eases their physical problems, but also improves their mood. Like all diseases, MS affects you both physically and psychologically, and cannabis is the only medicine we've come across which treats the whole condition. This is why many of us feel the research to develop a version of cannabis without the psychoactive effects fundamentally mis-understand how it helps us.

The campaign in Britain has now been active for 8 years, and has been very successful. When we started in Britain cannabis was considered as little more than recreational drug, and now, although there is very little new scientific research, it is considered a useful medicine. However, we patients are in exactly the same position as we were 8 years ago. We still have to break the law to get the medicine we need.

In a way the situation is almost farcical. While authorities debate earnestly rights and wrongs of medical use of cannabis, patients simply carry on taking it. While government-controlled cannabis is grown for medical research, secretly and with tight security, patients simply carry on growing their own at home. And, worst of all, seriously ill people are regularly taking to court for growing cannabis and regularly acquitted by juries the only thing these trials do is to bring the law into disrepute and cause great distress to ill people. Next week I will be giving evidence at a crown court trial of a woman with MS who grew cannabis at home to treat her condition.

So what can be done to escape from this impasse? Both the House of Lords and the Townswomen's Guilds have recommended that we should have more research, but that patients should have more research, but that patients should have legal access to cannabis while research is proceeding. What our patients' campaign suggests as an immediate, simple solution is that any patient who has authorisation from their doctors be allowed to grow up to six plants at home. Very similar legislation to this has recently been passed in Hawaii so there is now a clear example to follow. The next step would be to move it to schedule 2, so doctors can prescribe it on a named patient basis.

To conclude, as time goes on, I am becoming more and more disabled, and more frustrated that there's such reluctance to help me and others like me. It's been a big effort for me to come to speak here, but I very much wanted to outline the problem to people who I hope will not just call for me research, but will have the confidence to actually do something to help us now.

Thank you


14th May 2006
Not you two

By chance I shared a lift with David Blunkett on Wednesday. He had sounded off earlier that day to condemn 'left wingers and Old Labour” in case we rock the boat.

In the early seventies on Newport Council, I was pioneering the sale of council house for good socialist reasons. The argument that “Council Rent is theft” fell on the deaf years of the hard left. At that time, John Reid, Alistair Darling and Alan Milburn were calling for a Workers' revolution.

I told David Blunkett, “We on the backbenchers understand the dangers of divisions and the need to ensure that no-one drags the name of the party into disrepute. What is hard to take is to hear that message preached at us by you and John Prescott.'

Why an e-news-letter?

The purpose of the 60 e-newsletters I have sent out is to keep constituents informed of what is happening in parliament. The local papers have become tabloidised. The only politics they report are stories that fit their campaigning agenda. All their campaigns are cynically aimed at increasing circulation.

The only reports of Gwent MPs activities and when support for their campaigns are shared by politicians or when they can be used to knock the Government / Assembly / Council. The local press is as twisted and malicious as the Daily Mail or Express. E-mail and the Internet give politicians the vehicle for communicating directly with constituents directly unspun, unedited and without distortion.

Some items in the newsletter are long and detailed for those with special interests. Some are intended to present the lighter and funny side of the political world. Gwent MPs activities are often quoted in the national press but ignored locally. We pass these on such as today's Sunday times report on Iraq.

There is a healthy circulation for Newport News but I am sure many others would welcome a chance to be better informed. I would be extremely grateful to receive e-mail addresses of constituents who would like to be added to my address list. Many thanks.

Bush Slaughter
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-869183917758574879

Stephen Colbert ABSOLUTELY SLAUGHTERING Bush for a good 20 minutes with him sitting ten feet away, totally helpless, on live TV. Try the above link. One example. 'How dare mean critics say the Bush Government is like rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic. The Titanic was sinking. This Government is not sinking, it's soaring. Like the Hindenburg!”

Tots Used as Human Guinea Pigs?

If you thought you had heard everything about the Pharmaceutical companies read this from American ABC News. “A Massachusetts hospital is currently recruiting pre-schoolers to test the safety and effectiveness of a powerful anti psychotic drug called Quetiapine.

The study, conducted by the Department of Paediatric Psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital, is testing subjects from four to six years of age with Bipolar Disorder. An earlier Massachusetts General study of the anti psychotic drugs Risperidone and Olanzapine recruited children as young as three years old.

These anti psychotic drugs are only approved for use by adults and are so toxic they carry a "black box warning." The drugs have been found to cause diabetes; a life-threatening nervous system problem called Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome; low blood pressure; and have also led to higher death rates in the elderly. Despite these serious potential side effects, a patient recruitment video obtained by ABC News contains no mention of any of these risks.
Vera Hassner Sharav of the Alliance for Human Research Protection said, "Antipsychotics were never approved for use in children whose developing brains and central nervous system may be irreversibly harmed. We believe that physicians who subject children to the toxic effects of these drugs...are practicing outside medically accepted standards."
A previous clinical trial of Olanzapine was conducted by UCLA in 1998 on five children, aged 6 to 11. The authors of the study said treatment was discontinued within the first six weeks "because of adverse effects or lack of clinically significant therapeutic response."

Sharav also said it's questionable whether or not three or four year-olds can be accurately diagnosed for Bipolar Disorder. According to a 1999 Surgeon General report, "The signs and symptoms of mental disorders are often also the characteristics of normal development." The National Institute for Mental Health has concluded that "diagnostic uncertainty...surrounds most manifestations of psychopathology at such an early age."

I was so incensed with this report, I had added this comment on ABC's website.
As a veteran admirer of the science of pharmaceutical companies but a critic of their marketing, I have been deeply shocked in the past two years by revelations of their rampant unethical greed -trial results suppressed, conclusions published that are contrary to the data of trials, lethal adverse side effects ignored, disease mongering and now child abuse. They deserve to lose all public trust. Strict state regulation must be imposed on them in the public interest.
Posted by: Paul Flynn MP | May 14, 2006 7:39:56

Pressure rises on Blair to quit Iraq
Michael Smith and Ali Rifat
From The Sunday Times May 14, 2006

TONY BLAIR was under pressure to begin pulling troops out of Iraq last night amid claims their presence causes more problems than it solves.

Lieutenant-General Sir Rob Fry, the deputy coalition commander and the most senior UK general in Iraq, said a phased withdrawal was likely to begin “in the pretty near future”. At the same time Mohammed al-Waili, the governor of Basra, said British control of security was preventing the provincial government from purging the security forces of militia members.

He added that a boycott on co-operation with the British had been suspended last Sunday only after British commanders promised agreement on “a timescale for the execution of future plans”.

His comments came as a senior member of the Mahdi army, the militia of the radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, claimed it was behind the shooting down of a Royal Navy Lynx helicopter in which five British service personnel died. He claimed the militia had bought “advanced” weapons from Iran to end British helicopter surveillance flights.

Iraqi reaction to last weekend's crash has increased backbench pressure on the government to start pulling troops out.

Paul Flynn, Labour MP for Newport West, said television pictures of British troops being protected from a mob by Iraqi police had provided evidence of the need for a phased exit.

“Our troops are now in a situation where their main function is to defend themselves,” he said. “The case for remaining there is collapsing.”

Tragically today two more British soldiers have been killed bringing the total to 110. The Iraqi total is uncounted but today there were another 30.

 

Labour MPs support medicinal cannabis use

David Batty Wednesday May 24, 2006

Two MPs today backed calls to legalise cannabis for medicinal use, saying it would offer relief to thousands of sick and elderly people suffering from chronic pain.

The Labour MPs Paul Flynn and Brian Iddon were supporting a rally today in Parliament Square by the Cannabis Education Trust to raise awareness of the problems faced by medicinal cannabis users.

Mr Flynn, who has campaigned for the legalisation of the drug for medical purposes for 12 years, said he planned to reintroduce his private member's bill, first presented to parliament in 2001, to prevent the prosecution of chronically ill people.

"People around the world have testified in their thousands about the benefits of taking cannabis to relieve chronic pain," he said. "But because of our hang-up in this country with recreational use of the drug, we've condemned otherwise law-abiding citizens to risk jail."

He said there had been legal cases in which juries had let off people who said they were using cannabis medicinally.

"We must test the waters again. The law is an ass. Judges have called for parliament to revisit the issue."

Mr Flynn blamed the political parties' fear of being painted as weak on law and order for the failure to legalise cannabis for medicinal use.

"We had a bill last year that wasn't opposed by anybody to reclassify magic mushrooms as a class A drug - the same level as heroin, which is stupid because they're not at all that dangerous."

Many people with multiple sc partylerosis have used cannabis illegally to relieve their symptoms, including spasticity - muscle tightness and stiffness - and nerve pain. An estimated 85,000 people in Britain suffer from the disease.

Mr Iddon, chairman of the all-party parliamentary drugs misuse group, favours legalising cannabis for medicinal and recreational use, provided that in the latter case it is sold with clear health warnings.


The MP, a former chemistry lecturer, said it was "very wrong" that chronically sick patients had to choose between living in severe pain or risk themselves or one of their relatives being sent to prison for buying cannabis or growing it for medicinal use.


He said most medicinal cannabis campaigners were "normal people" and did not fit the "loony cannabis smoker" stereotype.

Earlier today, campaigners delivered a petition to Downing Street calling for an end to the prosecution of medicinal cannabis users.

Adam Slade, who suffers from chronic pain as a result of a congenital condition, said the current law on medicinal cannabis use put him in "an awkward position".

Mr Slade, who found standard painkillers ineffective at relieving his pain, said: "Cannabis improves my quality of life but because it's illegal it doesn't improve my quality of characterisation."

As well as decriminalising such use of the drug, the campaigners want a pain-relieving cannabis mouth spray to be made available on the NHS and cannabis clinics opened to provide patients with pain relief.

The mouthspray, Sativex, is already on sale in Canada to treat nerve pain but the company is facing a longer wait than expected for approval in Britain. Regulators in this country asked for additional data from the company last June.

Andrew Cornwall, coordinator of the Cannabis Education Trust, said the status of medicinal cannabis was a grey area of the law that needed clearing up.

"The needs of medicinal cannabis users are being neglected," Mr Cornwall, a lawyer, said. "There's no legal medicinal cannabis yet available in this country but many would argue that it was a medical necessity to provide the drug to chronically sick people to relieve their symptoms."

 

New Bill needed to re-Legalise Medicinal Cannabis

Paul Flynn said:

“The recent case on ex-police women forced to buy her medicinal cannabis on the streets from the dealers she once arrested illustrates the absurdity of the current laws.

The House of Lords Select Committee on Science, 100 MPs, the Police Foundation and the majority of doctors and the public are in favour of this bill. By a simple change in the law, natural cannabis can be legally available to those suffering from serious ailments.

It is indefensible that last September a Chief Constable said he would not arrest someone for smoking cannabis recreationally in the same month a desperately ill woman was dragged through the courts for using it medicinally.

A moving account of one women’s experience was recently given to a conference in Brussels. Clare Hodges said:

Campaigner Clare Hodges made a profound impression with her personal experience when she addressed a conference in Brussels.

"I discovered I had Multiple Sclerosis ago when I was 25 years old. Fir several years I was only mildly affected, I carried on working, married and had two children. But slowly my condition became worse, so that now I am constantly uncomfortable and tired; I am visually impaired and cannot sleep, eat or move very well. In some ways it's like having permanent jetlag.

The medicines prescribed only gave limited relief and often unacceptable side effects. Over the years I've been given steroids, tranquilisers, pain killers, muscle relaxants and antidepressants. At best they only helped in the short term, and many have intolerable side-effects. My main problem, however, was that, my bladder was in constant spasm, but no prescribed medicines helped me.

Multiple Sclerosis (or MS) is a cruel disease. You develop it when you're young and healthy, and slowly but surely you lose all your faculties, abilities and functions. Nowadays you can expect to live your full life span often until you are completely dependent. And of course this is a very depressing prospect. I began to get gloomy and introspective as all the future seemed to hold was deteriorating health and no medicines that really helped.

But in 1992 I read n an American journal about how some doctors had observed cannabis can help people with MS. As I am a middle class mother of two young children I had a bit of a problem obtaining cannabis. It was sometimes quite embarrassing asking people, but eventually I found someone who helped me and showed me how to use it.

When I did try cannabis, the physical relief was almost immediate. The tension in my spine and bladder was eased, and I slept well. I was comfortable with my body for the first time in years. But, just as important, I felt happy that there was something, after all, that could help me. It was as if a huge weight had been lifted from me.

I've been using cannabis now for nine years. There is no doubt that my condition had improved in different ways, I do not have to take as many prescribed medicines. I now eat better, sleep better, and I feel more positive and motivated. Ad my health is more stable I find I can now do simple things that I hadn't been able to do, like go to the shops, or cook my children's dinner after school.

Through trial and error I have now established a routine that helps me. I take 9 grams of herbal cannabis per week, drinking it in tea during the day and smoking it at night before I go to bed. I do not smoke it with tobacco but with dried herbs. I've found smoking is the best way of taking it to treat my disease as it is much easier to regulate the dose.

The neurologist I see was very much impressed by how much better I was, he put me in touch with two other patients with MS who also used cannabis. When we found out cannabis in tincture form was available on medical prescription in Britain until 1973, we decided to start campaigning to have it restored as a legal medicine. The campaign is called the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics or ACT. It's run entirely by patients, and we finance it ourselves. It has involved an enormous amount of work, dealing with thousands of letters from patients, doctors and politicians. We were very involved in the British Medical Association report, were interviewed by the House of Lords select committee, and by two Ministers of Health. We also helped a pharmaceutical company, GW Pharmaceuticals, obtain a licence to grow cannabis for medical research, and clinical trials are now planned.

Judging from the large correspondence over the years and from widespread reporting in the press, it reasonable to conclude there are thousands of medical users in Britain. Many patients say cannabis helps them because it not only eases their physical problems, but also improves their mood. Like all diseases, MS affects you both physically and psychologically, and cannabis is the only medicine we've come across which treats the whole condition. This is why many of us feel the research to develop a version of cannabis without the psychoactive effects fundamentally mis-understand how it helps us.

The campaign in Britain has now been active for 8 years, and has been very successful. When we started in Britain cannabis was considered as little more than recreational drug, and now, although there is very little new scientific research, it is considered a useful medicine. However, we patients are in exactly the same position as we were 8 years ago. We still have to break the law to get the medicine we need.

In a way the situation is almost farcical. While authorities debate earnestly rights and wrongs of medical use of cannabis, patients simply carry on taking it. While government-controlled cannabis is grown for medical research, secretly and with tight security, patients simply carry on growing their own at home. And, worst of all, seriously ill people are regularly taking to court for growing cannabis and regularly acquitted by juries the only thing these trials do is to bring the law into disrepute and cause great distress to ill people. Next week I will be giving evidence at a crown court trial of a woman with MS who grew cannabis at home to treat her condition.

So what can be done to escape from this impasse? Both the House of Lords and the Townswomen's Guilds have recommended that we should have more research, but that patients should have more research, but that patients should have legal access to cannabis while research is proceeding. What our patients' campaign suggests as an immediate, simple solution is that any patient who has authorisation from their doctors be allowed to grow up to six plants at home. Very similar legislation to this has recently been passed in Hawaii so there is now a clear example to follow. The next step would be to move it to schedule 2, so doctors can prescribe it on a named patient basis.

To conclude, as time goes on, I am becoming more and more disabled, and more frustrated that there's such reluctance to help me and others like me. It's been a big effort for me to come to speak here, but I very much wanted to outline the problem to people who I hope will not just call for me research, but will have the confidence to actually do something to help us now.

Thank you


14th May 2006
Not you two

By chance I shared a lift with David Blunkett on Wednesday. He had sounded off earlier that day to condemn 'left wingers and Old Labour” in case we rock the boat.

In the early seventies on Newport Council, I was pioneering the sale of council house for good socialist reasons. The argument that “Council Rent is theft” fell on the deaf years of the hard left. At that time, John Reid, Alistair Darling and Alan Milburn were calling for a Workers' revolution.

I told David Blunkett, “We on the backbenchers understand the dangers of divisions and the need to ensure that no-one drags the name of the party into disrepute. What is hard to take is to hear that message preached at us by you and John Prescott.'

Why an e-news-letter?

The purpose of the 60 e-newsletters I have sent out is to keep constituents informed of what is happening in parliament. The local papers have become tabloidised. The only politics they report are stories that fit their campaigning agenda. All their campaigns are cynically aimed at increasing circulation.

The only reports of Gwent MPs activities and when support for their campaigns are shared by politicians or when they can be used to knock the Government / Assembly / Council. The local press is as twisted and malicious as the Daily Mail or Express. E-mail and the Internet give politicians the vehicle for communicating directly with constituents directly unspun, unedited and without distortion.

Some items in the newsletter are long and detailed for those with special interests. Some are intended to present the lighter and funny side of the political world. Gwent MPs activities are often quoted in the national press but ignored locally. We pass these on such as today's Sunday times report on Iraq.

There is a healthy circulation for Newport News but I am sure many others would welcome a chance to be better informed. I would be extremely grateful to receive e-mail addresses of constituents who would like to be added to my address list. Many thanks.

Bush Slaughter
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-869183917758574879

Stephen Colbert ABSOLUTELY SLAUGHTERING Bush for a good 20 minutes with him sitting ten feet away, totally helpless, on live TV. Try the above link. One example. 'How dare mean critics say the Bush Government is like rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic. The Titanic was sinking. This Government is not sinking, it's soaring. Like the Hindenburg!”

Tots Used as Human Guinea Pigs?

If you thought you had heard everything about the Pharmaceutical companies read this from American ABC News. “A Massachusetts hospital is currently recruiting pre-schoolers to test the safety and effectiveness of a powerful anti psychotic drug called Quetiapine.

The study, conducted by the Department of Paediatric Psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital, is testing subjects from four to six years of age with Bipolar Disorder. An earlier Massachusetts General study of the anti psychotic drugs Risperidone and Olanzapine recruited children as young as three years old.

These anti psychotic drugs are only approved for use by adults and are so toxic they carry a "black box warning." The drugs have been found to cause diabetes; a life-threatening nervous system problem called Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome; low blood pressure; and have also led to higher death rates in the elderly. Despite these serious potential side effects, a patient recruitment video obtained by ABC News contains no mention of any of these risks.
Vera Hassner Sharav of the Alliance for Human Research Protection said, "Antipsychotics were never approved for use in children whose developing brains and central nervous system may be irreversibly harmed. We believe that physicians who subject children to the toxic effects of these drugs...are practicing outside medically accepted standards."
A previous clinical trial of Olanzapine was conducted by UCLA in 1998 on five children, aged 6 to 11. The authors of the study said treatment was discontinued within the first six weeks "because of adverse effects or lack of clinically significant therapeutic response."

Sharav also said it's questionable whether or not three or four year-olds can be accurately diagnosed for Bipolar Disorder. According to a 1999 Surgeon General report, "The signs and symptoms of mental disorders are often also the characteristics of normal development." The National Institute for Mental Health has concluded that "diagnostic uncertainty...surrounds most manifestations of psychopathology at such an early age."

I was so incensed with this report, I had added this comment on ABC's website.
As a veteran admirer of the science of pharmaceutical companies but a critic of their marketing, I have been deeply shocked in the past two years by revelations of their rampant unethical greed -trial results suppressed, conclusions published that are contrary to the data of trials, lethal adverse side effects ignored, disease mongering and now child abuse. They deserve to lose all public trust. Strict state regulation must be imposed on them in the public interest.
Posted by: Paul Flynn MP | May 14, 2006 7:39:56

Pressure rises on Blair to quit Iraq
Michael Smith and Ali Rifat
From The Sunday Times May 14, 2006

TONY BLAIR was under pressure to begin pulling troops out of Iraq last night amid claims their presence causes more problems than it solves.

Lieutenant-General Sir Rob Fry, the deputy coalition commander and the most senior UK general in Iraq, said a phased withdrawal was likely to begin “in the pretty near future”. At the same time Mohammed al-Waili, the governor of Basra, said British control of security was preventing the provincial government from purging the security forces of militia members.

He added that a boycott on co-operation with the British had been suspended last Sunday only after British commanders promised agreement on “a timescale for the execution of future plans”.

His comments came as a senior member of the Mahdi army, the militia of the radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, claimed it was behind the shooting down of a Royal Navy Lynx helicopter in which five British service personnel died. He claimed the militia had bought “advanced” weapons from Iran to end British helicopter surveillance flights.

Iraqi reaction to last weekend's crash has increased backbench pressure on the government to start pulling troops out.

Paul Flynn, Labour MP for Newport West, said television pictures of British troops being protected from a mob by Iraqi police had provided evidence of the need for a phased exit.

“Our troops are now in a situation where their main function is to defend themselves,” he said. “The case for remaining there is collapsing.”

Tragically today two more British soldiers have been killed bringing the total to 110. The Iraqi total is uncounted but today there were another 30.