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Royal College Of Nursing votes in favour of Suffolk nurse's motion to decriminalise medical cannabis

PUBLISHED: 18:41 15 May 2018

Ipswich nurse 
Tracey Risebrow led the motion. 
Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ipswich nurse Tracey Risebrow led the motion. Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN

A Suffolk nurse's proposals to decriminalise cannabis for medical use has been backed by the national union.

The Royal College of Nursing voted in favour of the motion, raised by its Suffolk branch, at the annual general meeting or members in Belfast yesterday.

Tracey Risebrow, vice-chairwoman of the Suffolk branch, and an Ipswich nurse, told this newspaper she would be leading the motion so that cannabis could be used for the treatment of some conditions.

“This motion is not about the decriminalisation of cannabis in its entirety but purely about its medicinal use,” she said.

“There’s evidence out there that it can make a difference to people with long-term and chronic conditions.

“You currently have situations where people go abroad to get cannabis but when they come back to the UK to continue their treatment they are not allowed to have it.”

She added: “It is making people into criminals if they are procuring cannabis to help a loved-one.”

The UK Government’s position is that, as a Class B drug, cannabis is subject to strict restrictions and cannot be prescribed, administered or supplied to the public.

RCN member Catherine Gault from Northern Ireland told the RCN Congress: “There is strong enough evidence to support the use of cannabis to treat pain.

“It would not be a recreational drug for me, it would add quality to my life.”

She has an underlying medical condition and said she risked developing pain which could no longer be treated by the NHS.

Darryl Noe, from Ipswich, runs an organisation called Green Man Compassion where he grows cannabis and gives it away for free to unwell people. His customers have a range of health conditions, including spinal injuries, cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Mr Noe said he backed calls for cannabis to be legalised for medicinal use. He said: “Sick people have the right to choose what medication they want.”

More than 40 countries, including Italy, Finland, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Germany and half of the United States have decriminalised cannabis in some form.

An online poll carried out by this newspaper found there was 90% support for cannabis to be legalised for medical use.

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