Sick Children May Have Been The Kicker For Medical Marijuana In The UK

4 of the 9 medical doctors who sit in the UK's House of Commons have come together to form all-party parliamentary group (APPG) to push for medical marijuana. The man spearheading the initiative says this is really about getting sick kids the treatment they need.

Former UK health minister and part-time general practitioner Dan Poulter has invited fellow Conservative Andrew Murrison as well as the Labour Party's Paul Williams and Philippa Whitford of the Scottish National party to join an APPG charged with pushing for medical marijuana legislation in the UK. The group is being co-chaired by former Tory justice minister Mike Pennings. He estimates that they currently hold the support of 80 UK politicians.

Poulter says the biggest motivator behind the new push to bring medical marijuana to the UK are sick children. In recent months there have been two high-profile cases involving children who had to leave the UK to get the treatment they needed elsewhere.

“What these cases help to do bring into focus some of the absurdities about the law at the moment,” Poulter told The Guardian.

One of these children is Alfie Dingley, a 6-year-old boy who took a 300,000 signature petition to the Prime Minister. When his family was denied medicinal marijuana at home they relocated to the Netherlands so he could be treated.

The other is 12-year-old Billy Caldwell. An epilepsy patient whose doctor was reprimanded for giving him a cannabis perception.

Billy's mother, Charlotte, says she met with Poulter and is supporting his effort.

"This is so important. This now is about every child in our country that’s suffering from this brutal condition. And now is the time to get these children their medicine, to give them a better quality of life."

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As medical marijuana continues to gain ground across the US, more and more colleges are adding cannabis to their curriculum. In fact, more than half of America's pharmaceutical schools (62 percent) now teach students about medical marijuana according to a new survey conducted by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Pharmacy. "With more states legalizing medical marijuana, student pharmacists must be prepared to effectively care for their patients who may use medical marijuana alone or in combination with prescription or over-the-counter medications," the study's authors wrote.