Lichfield’s MP has backed calls for cannabis to be legalised for medicinal purposes – insisting it would improve life for a Burntwood family facing life with multiple sclerosis.
Michael Fabricant was co-sponsor of a Bill that was introduced in the House of Commons today (October 10) by Labour MP Paul Flynn.
The Conservative MP for the Lichfield constituency said he believed doctors should be given the access to treatments that could help patients suffering from illnesses.
“A friend of mine suffers from multiple sclerosis and yet he is prevented from using cannabis even though it would relieve his pain,” he said. “I see no reason why doctors should not be allowed to prescribe cannabis – or any drug – if in their judgment it would help in palliative care or cure.
“A local Burntwood family, Andy and Vicky Clarke, have been tragically affected by this awful disease. They have my deepest sympathy and if their lives can be made a little more easy by having legal access to cannabis, who can object to this?”
Mum-of-two Vicky was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis in her mid-thirties – and is now unable to work.
Husband Andy explained: “My wife was a very respected primary school teacher, but within three to four years of diagnosis Vicky was forced to give up the career she loved, despite every effort made by all parties and Vicky being lifted from a taxi – on the access to work scheme – onto her mobility scooter to continue her work.
“Since the early days of diagnosis Vicky has suffered daily with severe stabbing nerve pain in her left shoulder. She has tried every drug there is, acupuncture, electro acupuncture, nerve injections, chilli patches and so on and so on, literally everything the NHS and private clinics have to offer.
“Vicky now has very little function and is doubly incontinent. She has carers come in while I work on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.”
After exhausting their options for treatment Andy began to explore whether or not cannabis could help Vicky’s condition – but soon found himself falling foul of the law.
“I had been trying to grow some cannabis in a spare upstairs bedroom, not very successfully I might add,” he said. “But one of the carers reported a smell of cannabis coming from upstairs.
“The resulting action was a visit from the local police and a stern warning with the instruction not to do it again. The WPC was quite understanding and could see what it was being used for, but said the police had to act.
“So that was our first brush with being labelled a criminal and our chances of experimenting with cannabis as a pain reliever gone for a while.”
But Andy’s attempts to ease his wife’s pain through the use of cannabis was not over.
“The second time I tried was about seven months after the first,” he said. “I had managed to find a more reliable source of cannabis than trying to grow my own.
“I made the cannabis into butter and was putting this into a healthy smoothie on a daily basis. It was an absolute success. I would come home from work to find a smiling Vicky who had been pain free. She would still have the same stabbing pain at night, but sadly this is something we were unable to get on top of as our experimenting was cut short by another report to the police.
“Vicky is now back to crying in pain on a daily basis. If I get caught again I run the risk of further action being taken by the police. I run the risk of either Vicky or my daughter being taken into care. She wants to join the police so I also run the risk of ruining her life’s dream, all because I want to help my wife.”
The Legalisation of Cannabis (Medicinal Purposes) Bill passed the First Reading stage in Parliament without a vote, but is unlikely to become law due to lack of Parliamentary time.
But Mr Fabricant said he would continue to press for action to help families like the Andy, Vicky and their two daughters.
“Their story is tragic – even barbaric,” the Lichfield MP said.
“In this respect the law is a complete ass and needs to be changed. It puts the police and social services in an impossible position and I am glad that both have behaved responsibly so far with regard to Vicky and the family.
“I shall continue to press the Government to change the law as an amendment to Government legislation.”