Saturday, June 10, 2006

On the 24 of May, 2006, the UK Cannabis Education Trust and related organisations held a lobby outside Parliament. Starting at 10 am, they wove banners and spoke to reporters just across from Parliament. At 1 pm, a delegation went to 10 Downing Street with a letter to hand in to the Prime Minister. They were met there by MPs Brian Iddon and Paul Flynn, who support the move to legalise cannabis medicine. Flynn then took photos of our group, which he posted later in the day on his website.
At 3 pm we organised into a single file to walk towards Parliament, as we were due to speak inside in Committee Room 18. Just as we were getting ready, a young man in an orange jump suit appeared, running from the east side of Parliament Square with a case of orange drinks containers in his hand. It's a long way from here to Guantanamo Bay I started to think, or is the CIA snatching people here too? I was just about to have flashbacks of Cuba (I spent some time there in the US Navy, watching Russian ships transport rum and bananas in the '80s, no WMD) when he handed us round canisters of Cannabis Iced Tea. Tea time being not for another hour, I put it in my rucksack (which, BTW, was made by Sativa, and is the best I've ever had).
Thus suitably prepared for tea and cannabis, I joined the procession, including former MI5 agents David Shayler and Annie Machon, and took my seat at the table. Andy Cornwell, who organised the event, called it to order. Flynn and Iddon added much to the discussion, as well as Baroness Jenny Tonge and Lord Rea, a former GP from north London.
Medical practicioners, including Tony Taylor of Tony's Holistic Centre and many patients who found cannabis to be a useful medicine were there with a lot of information to contribute. My own short remark during all of this was that this was a surreal event, as cannabis had long been an established medicine in the UK and its colonies; Queen Victoria used it, and in my upcoming book Hemp for Victory: History and Qualities of the World's Most Useful Plant there is a 14-page article from Dr. William O'Shaugnessy on cannabis medicine from the 19th century. What happened to change all this, and who benefited?
Shayler and Baroness Tonge both talked about the suppression of facts, which they both ought to know well, as they were both censured for their views recently. (For a very good read, get a copy of Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers by Annie Machon).
While the meeting ended, the movement did not, and we continue to work to restore to the UK the practice which so many qualified physicians, including Sir John Reynolds, the physician to the Royal Family, were happy to endorse.

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