A bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the United Kingdom passed its first reading in Parliament today completely unopposed.
The legislation was introduced by MP Paul Flynn this afternoon amongst a flurry of anticipation. Not coincidentally, on the same day the bill was introduced, a planned protest was executed outside of the Parliament building in London where dozens of cannabis advocates consumed edibles, drank teas, and vaped flower.
This bold act of civil disobedience was incited by MP Flynn in July, when he invited medical cannabis consumers to openly ingest their products. The call to action was Flynn’s effort to challenge law enforcement and see if they were prepared to arrest people suffering with debilitating conditions who find relief with cannabis medicine.
“The bill went through its first reading today without opposition,” said MP Flynn in an interview with Marijuana.com. “The other matter, which was of more importance is that a few hundred people gathered up here and broke the law. I invited them here and suggest they [consume cannabis] because the law has proved to be an ass.”
Flynn added that, thankfully, there were no arrests. “They could have been thrown into jail for five years for what they did. I think we’ve got to say to the government now, if they are so cowardly and unintelligent as to believe that an illegal market is better than a legal market, it is up to the public to prove that [they] are wrong.”
Although Flynn has never ingested cannabis himself, he did join the protest today and was prepared to partake. “I didn’t take any cannabis today but I would have if there had been any arrests. I would have joined in solidarity, having made the call for people to do it. People were using cannabis in cakes, in drinks and used as a vapor.”
Flynn added that the bill itself still has a long way to go in Parliament, but he has hopes it will pass if people keep up the protests. “There were two police commissioners who came and joined the rally today and were supportive. This is very significant, the people who are responsible for making sure that the law is implemented, were on the side of the lawbreakers.”
Despite past trepidation from the UK government on this issue, Flynn very much believes the tide is turning. “I believe there’s been a change. People have seen what’s happening in other parts of the world, and seen the changes that have been made in the law on cannabis, without civilization collapsing and without the sky falling.”
The bill will be headed into its second reading this coming February.
Cover photo courtesy of Alex Fraser