Right now, hundreds of UK citizens are staging what is perhaps one of the most civil forms of civil disobedience imaginable. To raise awareness about the medical uses of cannabis and to persuade the UK government to legalize medical weed, protesters have organized a “cannabis tea party” outside the British Parliament.
Patients, Protesters Have ‘Cannabis Tea Party’ Outside Parliament
In fine English tradition, patients and advocates have gathered together to hold a cannabis tea party on the grounds of the UK Parliament building.
The United Patients Alliance, a medical cannabis advocacy group fighting for legal access to cannabis therapeutics, is organizing the event.
It is a tea party in the traditional sense, not the kind of “tea party” Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty held in 1773, when they threw 342 chests of tea overboard into the Boston harbor. Today, medical cannabis advocates aren’t dumping pounds of cannabis into the Thames.
Instead, they’re currently holding a very civil, very quaint tea party, complete with cakes and cookies.
Jon Liebling, a member of the group organizing the demonstration, explained to the Mirror that “the idea was to do something terribly English and unthreatening—so we’re having a little tea party.”
And to show members of parliament exactly how non-threatening medical cannabis use is, the tea and cakes served at the tea party are reportedly dosed with CBD.
Rumors are going around that some of the cakes are medicated with THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid. CBD derivatives are currently legal in the UK, but anything with THC in it is criminalized as a Class B narcotic.
Happening Now: Members of Parliament Join Cannabis Tea Party
The impetus for the peaceful cannabis tea party protest stems from MP Paul Flynn’s urging cannabis users to break the law.
Back in July, Labour MP Flynn told the story of how he made a cup of cannabis tea for a multiple sclerosis sufferer on the Parliament terrace.
Admitting to the illegal act, Flynn went on to encourage other medical cannabis users to come to Parliament and use cannabis.
“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,” Flynn said in July.
Taking Flynn at his word, dozens of cannabis patients and their supporters are currently sitting around a table dressed with cannabis-infused teas, cakes and scones.
Three Members of Parliament, including Flynn, have joined the tea-party. Live streams from the event show Flynn making impassioned statements in defense of the medical use of cannabis.
According to reports, MPs in attendance at the cannabis tea party are not sipping tea with protesters. Flynn himself had to decline multiple offers to imbibe, which he refused citing a speech he is to give at 2 p.m. today.
Patients in attendance are also offering testimony on how medical cannabis has transformed their lives for the better.
In the background, members of the United Patients Alliance are waving pro-cannabis banners, signs and hemp plants on the lawn of Westminster.
MP Flynn To Introduce Bill Legalizing Medical Cannabis
In the UK, patients who medicate chronic conditions like multiple sclerosis and arthritis with cannabis are breaking the law. If arrested, they could face up to 14 years in prison for their medical use of cannabis.
But protesters at today’s “cannabis tea party” say they aren’t afraid of breaking the law.
On camera, patients are sharing stories about the life-changing effects of cannabis. Many are describing how prescription drugs, especially opioids, were doing more harm than good.
“I was 27 and I was using one of those day organizers for pills,” said Faye Jones, a 33-year-old organizer of the tea party who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2012. “I’ve now managed to replace all of those drugs with just cannabis.”
On the heels of the protest, which is garnering national media attention, MP Paul Flynn is set to introduce a bill into parliament that would legalize the medical use of cannabis. The bill has only a very narrow chance of passing, despite overwhelming popular support.