Rt Hon Sir Mike Penning MP – Update from Parliament July 2018

It has been very busy in Parliament on Brexit this past month and I am delighted that the EU (Withdrawal) Bill has now been passed in both Houses. We now need to get on with Brexit as soon as possible.

This Bill is purely and simply about leaving the EU. It will bring all EU law into UK law. Once that is done, then is the time to make any changes – with full debates in Parliament as per usual.

The other “big event” in Parliament for me this month has been on the campaign to make it legal for doctors to prescribe medical cannabis. In my view the way the Government deals with prescribed medical cannabis and cannabis for recreational use should be separated. The first to be dealt with as medication – and therefore come under the Department for Health, the second to remain under the auspices of the Home Office.

I became involved in the Alfie Dingley case as former Policing Minister. Six-year-old Alfie has a very rare form of epilepsy which causes him to have up to 30 seizures a day. A cannabis oil drug has been proven to work in Alfie’s case when he lived in Holland and had access to the drug.

I was with Alfie Dingley and his family when they met the Prime Minister and she promised them the Government would grant a licence on compassionate grounds. I am delighted that the Home Secretary has now granted that special licence.

Alfie’s family have been steadfast throughout this complex process and they have acted in the correct way at every step, but we must make it easier for other children with these rare diseases so that they and their families are not put through the same ordeal.

A victory for common sense, certainly, but there is more to be done to make prescribed medical cannabis available to patients who need it.

I am in the process of forming a new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prescribed Medical Cannabis. People who find relief from their symptoms using medical cannabis should be treated as patients, not criminals. Many countries and other jurisdictions, including 29 US states, have legalised access to medical cannabis.

The formation of this new APPG reinforces the view that medical cannabis should be treated separately from other, wider reform of drugs in the UK.

 

  1. Further information can be obtained from Sir Mike Penning at mike@penning4hemel.com, telephone 01442 251126.
  2. Website penning4hemel.com

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