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United Patients Alliance

United Patients Alliance – A Call for Change

A heartfelt, passionate and exclusive article from Clark French, founder of the United Patients Alliance, about their successful and emotional launch night.

United Patients Alliance
UPA Founder Clark French (left)

The United Patients Alliance is the UK’s newest medicinal cannabis lobby group. We seek to change the law to allow patients to be in possession of and cultivate medical cannabis.

We believe to do this, we must tackle the associated stigma around the use cannabis as medicine. We wish to see patients receive access to medical grade laboratory tested cannabis at a dispensary and for patients with serious conditions to be able to produce their own medicine at home, without unwanted intervention from the law and without judgement by our peers.

We seek to remind the British Public and Politicians that cannabis was used in this country as a medicine since the 1840’s up until when its medical benefits were ignored after the 1971 Misuse of Drugs act.

“Cannabis has been a medicine for over 4000 years and to continue to punish patients & their families who use it is an outrageous abuse of process, as well as a cruel and dishonest act” –Professor David Nutt.

We were very pleased to have some fantastic speakers in attendance at the fund raising launch event for the United Patients Alliance including Medical testimony from lots of ordinary people using cannabis as a medicine.

We had 20 patients talk and tell us how cannabis helps them, including Kieron Reeves who has epilepsy, Mike Cutler who had Liver Cancer and Katie a Californian patient legally recommended cannabis back in her home state.

The Highlight of the entire night for me was Mike Cutler’s speech – he took a room packed full of people on a roller coaster ride of emotions, he conveyed a message of hope and you could feel every person taking in what he was saying.

When Mike said “and now I’m cancer free and called for people to unite under the UPA” the whole place exploded, everyone stood and cheered with so much furore that it took me back, I don’t think any of the patients were expecting to get such a heartfelt and positive response from the audience.

This week has been a bit of a roller coaster for Mike himself now, with his story appearing in the Daily Mail, The Express and The Metro with potentially hundreds and thousands of people reading about how he saved his own life with cannabis oil.

Mike was not the only great speaker and one after another every single person who stood had a story worth hearing, we heard from people with MS, Epilepsy, Chrons, Arthritis, Parkinson’s, Diabetes and many more ailments and conditions. Every patients united to stand up against the law to say “I am here and I will be counted”.

As a founding UPA Member & Medical Cannabis Patient I opened the night and spoke after the patient perspectives about how I have seen medical cannabis in action & met patients first hand in California, Colorado, Holland and Spain and really felt like the talk connected with the hundreds of people who were in attendance.

Jason Reed the Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition UK. LEAP spoke after me, Leap are a group who campaign to end the prohibition of all drugs & believe that police time is better used fighting real criminals rather than perusing medical cannabis patients. Jason also said ‘off the record’ that he is also a patient and has found cannabis to help him with ME / Fibromyalgia.

Jason Reed was followed by Professor David Nutt of Imperial College London. David is probably the most famous Ex-Government drug advisor after he was sacked for telling the truth and asking for evidence based policy. He is a strong supporter of medical cannabis and told the audience about the history behind its medical use in the UK revealing that none other than Queen Victoria herself was in fact a medical cannabis patient and used it for her menstrual cramps.

Our final speaker was Caroline Lucas MP – Caroline is the MP for Brighton Pavilion and has a history of campaigning for controversial subjects, as well as being a strong campaigner for evidence based drug policy. Caroline’s talk finished the night perfectly with a call for everyone to visit their MP’s and raise the issue with them, as well as strongly calling for the end of criminalisation for medical cannabis patients. She said

It has been incredibly moving to hear the courage of so many people who are essentially just trying to get a drug to keep themselves well. To criminalise people is inhumane, unjust and immoral.

It is certain that the United Patients Alliance is here to stay and I’m incredibly proud to have played my part in our formation and launch night which was incredibly successful.

David Nutt commented about how “this type of thing” is usually not so well attended and this is a tribute to the healing powers of the cannabis plant. When something changes your life for the better it is hard not to be passionate about it.

What sets the United Patients Alliance apart from other UK cannabis reformers is that we campaign on a platform of medical cannabis for sick patients. Our mission is to help advance legal access to cannabis therapeutics in the United Kingdom. . We have been to visit the home office and lobbied MP’s, we have given out thousands of leaflets about medical cannabis on the streets and we need your help to continue our work.

To find out more, you can visit upalliance.org or visit their Facebook page.

Clark is a founding member of the United Patients Alliance and Norml UK. You can read more articles by him on his website www.clarkfrench.co.uk

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