Doncaster MP Ed Miliband calls for cannabis to be legalised

Ed Miliband MP.
Ed Miliband MP.

Former Labour leader and Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband has put aside political differences to pledge his support to Tory Lord Hague's call for cannabis to be legalised.

In a column for a national newspaper William Hague - the former Conservatives leader who was educated at Wath-upon-Dearne Grammar School - reportedly urged the Government to review Britain’s “failed (and) unsustainable” cannabis laws, license medicinal use of the drug and consider creating a legal, regulated market for recreational users.

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Mr Miliband, Labour leader between 2010 and 2015, tweeted earlier today: "I agree with William Hague.

"Drug legalisation is a no-go area for most frontline politicians but on public health grounds, we should legalise cannabis.

"If we care about mental health, street cannabis is a much bigger danger and the experience of for example Portugal suggests use is unlikely to rise."

The Portugese parliament this week approved the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

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Lord Hague was speaking out after Home Secretary Sajid Javid granted an emergency 20-day licence for 12-year-old Billy Caldwell to be treated with cannabis oil, after he was admitted to hospital with seizures following the confiscation of supplies his mother Charlotte had brought from Canada.

She claims his seizures, brought on by severe epilepsy, are reduced when he takes the oil and has called for it to be freely available.

However, the Home Office has firmly rejected the calls for cannabis to be legalised.

A spokesperson said the Government had “no intention” of reviewing the classification of cannabis, which would remain a Class B drug.

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They added: "Any debate within government about the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of cannabis-based medicines does not extend to any review regarding the classification of cannabis and the penalties for the illicit possession, cultivation and trafficking of cannabis will remain the same.”

A Downing Street spokesman also confirmed the Government had no plans to legalise or decriminalise cannabis for recreational use and added: “The evidence is very clear – cannabis can cause serious harm when misused.”