It's a rare thing to see a politician urge citizens to break the law rather than follow it, but that very thing happened this week when a British politician urged medical marijuana users to smoke up in front of Parliament. At a House of Commons debate on drug policy, veteran Labour party MP Paul Flynn argued that proponents of medical marijuana should protest cannabis prohibition by holding a massive smoke-out.
"I would call on people, and I know we're not supposed to do this as members, to break the law,” Flynn said. He urged marijuana advocates “to come here and use cannabis here and see what happens and challenge the Government, the authorities, to arrest them and take them in. That's the only way we can get through the common mind of the Government, which is set in concrete and the whole laws are evidence-free and prejudice-rich - let's see them do that."
Flynn also told the House how he knowingly helped Elizabeth Brice, a multiple sclerosis patient and medical marijuana advocate, prepare a cup of cannabis tea on the steps of the House building before her death in 2011. "She came to this House and together, collaborating with her, we committed a terrible crime on the terrace of this House because I supplied her with a cup of hot water into which she put cannabis and she drank cannabis tea," the MP said.
Flynn explained that Brice was "liable to go to prison for seven years" if she had been caught using cannabis. "I probably would have been accompanying her,” he continued, “but I think we have to say to those who put up with the barbaric stupidity and cruelty of Government policy that denies seriously ill people their medicine of choice - we've got to call on those who are in this position to act in a way of civil disobedience."
During the same debate, Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb argued for the legalization of recreational as well as medical cannabis. Lamb argued that it was in the best interest of public health to create a regulated legal retail market for marijuana.