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Debate Over Medical Cannabis Legalization in U.K. Delayed by “Filibuster”

A lack of cooperation inside the Labour Party has pushed discussion of medical marijuana legislation back to July.

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A Parliamentary debate over a bill to legalize the use of medical cannabis throughout the United Kingdom has been delayed by a dispute between Labour Party politicians. The second hearing of Labour MP Paul Flynn's medical marijuana bill was scheduled to be held last Friday, but time to discuss the bill ran out due to “filibustering” from one of Flynn's fellow party members, the Daily Express reports.

Labour MP Sandy Martin reportedly prevented the medical cannabis bill from being heard by discussing the day's previous bills at great length, even speaking on the voting rights of British expats for almost an hour. Flynn told his fellow lawmakers that this amounted to “a filibuster organised by one party,” according to the Express. “I’m ashamed to say I’m a member of that party,” he added.

MP Tonia Antoniazzi also tweeted her frustration over the delay in the bill's debate: “So disappointed by the filibustering of @PaulFlynnMP ‘s Bill to Legalise MEDICINAL Cannabis. But determined to keep campaigning so people … don’t have to keep suffering. Hundreds out supporting this life changing treatment.” Since the bill was not able to be heard last week, Parliament will not be able to debate the bill until it returns to the house on July 6th.

The delay of the bill must be especially frustrating for Flynn, who has worked tirelessly to advocate for medical marijuana over the past decade. Last year, Flynn urged cannabis advocates to smoke up in front of Parliament to protest cannabis prohibition, and told the press he had helped an MMJ advocate prepare a cup of cannabis tea on the front steps of the House building back in 2011.

Last October, activists took up Flynn's dare and organized a cannabis tea party demonstration on the Parliament lawn. Flynn and two other MPs showed their support by sitting down for tea with demonstrators from the United Patients Alliance, who brought a variety of cannabis-infused tea cakes and scones with them. Flynn reportedly declined to ingest any of the medicine, but offered his full support for demonstrators bravely sparking up in front of the country's lawmakers.