Synthetic Cannabinoids: Reclassification — [Mr George Howarth in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:17 am on 6th November 2018.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 10:17 am, 6th November 2018

I wholeheartedly agree. I want to make sure that we understand the side effects, but the thrust of the hon. Gentleman’s intervention brings me back to a point that I have made clear throughout the debate: reclassifying cannabis to allow recreational use is something that I cannot support. Just as we use morphine under very select circumstances and in a controlled manner, but have rightly outlawed the use of heroin, it is right that we have classified cannabis products for medicinal use in select circumstances and in a controlled manner. That is the way I believe it must be.

I do not believe that we should allow recreational use of Spice or Mamba, or that we should advocate such use of any cannabis-derived product. Nor do I believe that legislating for medicinal cannabis means logically that we should legislate to allow recreational use, or to allow for those who believe that they can self-medicate.

We need to ensure that doctors understand the limitations of the change in legislation and can prescribe to someone whose case they know well and who is not responding to other conventional drugs. We need to ensure that people understand that the change in legislation does not give them carte blanche to grow their own plants. Finally, we need to ensure that children like Sophia Gibson who had no quality of life before medicinal cannabis was available can access medication that will enhance their life, as it has clearly done for Sophia, so that they can have a birthday party without ending up in hospital, attend school without having to drop out because they are not well, and have a semblance of normality. That is what I support and will continue to support, and there is a very clear difference between the two.