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Friday, July 23, 1999 Published at 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK

Special Report

Flynn's medicinal cannabis call thrown out

Cannabis decriminalise attempt follows court case

A further attempt by Newport West MP Paul Flynn to decriminalise cannabis for medical use has been blocked.

A shout of "object" by Government Whip Jim Dowd was enough to kill-off the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill, piloted by Mr Flynn, a former chemist, without debate or a vote.

His bill cames before the Commons the day after a jury at Manchester Crown Court cleared a man who admitted growing cannabis.

Colin Davies, 42, who started cultivating the drug in his council flat after suffering severe spinal injuries in a fall, was acquitted at Manchester Crown Court of cultivating, possessing and supplying the drug after a three-day trial.

He said he had used the drug to relieve the pain of a spinal injury.

Groundbreaking decision

Mr Flynn, a long-term campaigner for the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use, said he was "delighted" by the outcome.

"It's a ground-breaking decision," he said. "It shows the common sense of the jury in overcoming an outdated law.

[ image: Long-tmer campaigner for medicinal cannabis use Paul Flynn MP]
Long-tmer campaigner for medicinal cannabis use Paul Flynn MP
"What we are doing at the moment is unfair and cruel - putting the fear of imprisonment into people who are commiting no greater crime than taking their medicine of choice for their ailment."

Mr Flynn had tried several times to persuade Parliament to allow doctors to prescribe cannabis for medical use but had always failed because of a lack of Parliamentary time.

And while the MP claims to have the backing of 102 MPs, the House of Lords science committee and the Townswomen's Guild, another block had been expected.

Arthritis sufferer jailed

Mr Flynn has been campaigning on behalf of Eric Mann, a grandfather from Swansea, who was jailed for a year after taking cannabis to alleviate pain from arthritis.

A retired oil refinery worker, Mr Mann suffers from crippling arthritis and says he had became suicidal.

Conventional drugs, he had told Swansea Crown Court, failed to work and he turned to cannabis, which slowly made him virtually pain free.

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