Last week I presented a petition to parliament imploring the government to look seriously at changing the law in regard to the use of medicinal cannabis in this country.
I was prompted to do so through the actions of one of my Wansbeck constituents – 45-year-old Paul Keeny from Ashington, who has collected nearly 300,000 signatures on a petition which he hopes will bring about a change in the law.
Paul suffers from a rare form of penile cancer and has undergone six operations in just over a year, the latest of which led to his penis having to be removed.
Since I met Paul I have been astounded by his bravery and courage, not just in dealing with the horrors he had been through, but in speaking so publicly about why he believes the law should be changed.
He is convinced that not only would his cancer have slowed down, but his quality of life would be drastically improved if he could have access to medicinal cannabis.
Paul is not alone in this dilemma because there are many similar cases across the country where people claim they would benefit from using cannabis for medicinal purposes.
I am no expert, but from what I have been told there are two compounds known as THC and CBD which affect the legality or otherwise of medicinal cannabis.
Currently, Paul is able to legally use the CBD compound, which he says helps him sleep and relieves his pain, but he claims he also needs access to THC.
If he used both compounds he would be breaking the law, yet it is legal to do so in some countries such as the USA, Germany, Italy and Holland.
I fully understand the use of medicinal cannabis is a complex issue that will divide public opinion, but what is obvious, as Mr Javid has said, is that the law surrounding its use needs urgently reviewing.
I trust my presentation of Paul Keeny’s petition will concentrate minds on ensuring that happens sooner rather than later.