Select Committee on Home Affairs Memoranda


Submitted by the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics (ACT)

  1.  This memorandum is presented by the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics. The Alliance is an informal association of patients, doctors and politicians who are pressing for medical preparations of natural cannabis to be made available for research and for prescription on a named patient basis while research is going ahead. We have been active for ten years and are associated with the similar patients' pressure group of patients in America. We have no outside funding and no "hidden agenda". We have never applied for charitable status. We are not campaigning for the general legalisation of cannabis.

  2.  The ACT has received unsolicited support from over 2,000 patients, mainly with Multiple Sclerosis. In addition we have active support from several members of the House of Commons and House of Lords, as well as from many medical clinicians.

  3.  The ACT has been very involved in the current awareness of the medical use of cannabis. We were interviewed by the House of Lords Select Committee, represented by Clare Hodges, Austin Mitchell MP and Professor Patrick Wall. We have had two meetings with the Ministers of Health, in 1994 and 1997. In the later one we invited Dr Geoffrey Guy to join us so we could request he be given a licence to grow and research cannabis. This was given shortly afterwards. The ACT has the full support of the Townswomen's Guilds and addressed the European Parliament in Brussels following which the law was changed in Belgium.

  4.  It seems that more people with MS and other seriously ill people are trying cannabis judging from the unsolicited correspondence to the ACT over the past two years. We have received over 100 letters from patients asking if we can provide cannabis. An interesting development is that doctors who are treating these patients have begun to suggest the patients try cannabis, even though it is illegal and unlicensed. A copy of two such letters are enclosed.[1]

  5.  Another recent development is that there are now several supply networks set up by patients to supply each other. In addition, groups who are campaigning for the general legalisation are using its potential medical benefits as an argument in their favour, which makes the genuine medical use rather compromised.

  6.  Suggestions for action. Immediate directives from the Government should be given as to how police should proceed in cases where the defendant has a serious medical condition.

  7.  We also suggest that if a patient has written recommendation from their doctor, they are allowed to posseses a small amount of cannabis, or grow up to eight plants at home, for their own use. Very similar legislation has recently been passed in Canada, so there is a clear precedent for this.

September 2001

1   Not printed. Back

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