Laura Brennan-Whitefield – Drugs Policy: Medical Cannabis

Laura Brennan-Whitefield

SNP Ayr North member Laura Brennan-Whitefield, who spoke at the Annual Conference in October on the subject, puts forward the possibility of drug law reform in an independent Scotland.

Society has come a long way over the last few decades when it comes to its view on medical cannabis despite the Uk governments refusal to truly engage in a meaningful discussion on the subject. The idea of “reefer madness” and other 1960s anti cannabis propaganda seems no longer relevant when it comes to the medical use of cannabis if fact opinion polls put support for the use of cannabis for medical conditions at an all time high and an estimated one million people in the UK using it to help with symptoms of a health condition. Some might say this is a seismic shift in the mind sets of people but I would say its mainly due to the access to information and the increasing volume of evidence coming from other countries who have taken a completely different approach to the issue than successive governments in Westminster who simply ignore the issue or in some cases dismiss experts who are saying things they don’t want to hear , case and point Professor Nutt in 2009.

Medical marijuana (

When I took to the stage at the SNP conference in October this year I did so not only because I have been living with MS for 9 years and simply could not remain quiet to the injustice of criminalising people who are some of the most vulnerable in our country but also before I became unwell I was studying for a post graduate in drug and alcohol studies at UWS and was aware that the misuse of drugs act was failing many people. The UK is now completely out of step with the rest of the world this may seem obvious but it has heart breaking consequences, carers are being put in impossible positions and ill people are being prosecuted and ending up homeless as they have breached their tenancy conditions. It is my belief that the Scottish Government should be given the power to address this as its clear that London is unwilling to do so. I should be clear that this must be done in a truly progressive way, by not simply handing the licences to grow and create medicines for medical cannabis to the pharmaceutical industry, the potential for creating a monopoly that will only line the pockets of the share holders is clear. We must allow people to grow their own and form co ops that share knowledge, expertise and above all compassion.

In these strange political times what once seemed impossible is now reality for better or worse. I often sit and day dream about the possibility of an independent Scotland which I think is now almost in reach as the gulf between the rise of the populist right and the truly progressive possibility of an Independent Scotland with social justice at its heart becomes a clear option. In these day dreams the ability to have our own drug law and to learn from all the mistakes and cruelty of Westminster is one of the defining starting points.

A petition to Westminster government is ongoing if you feel the same please sign and share :

Laura Brennan-Whitefield was born and raised in Ayrshire, and gained a politics degree at UWS in 2008. She has been living with MS since 2009 and became politically active during the independence referendum. Interests include social justice, drug reform, and disability issues.

Disclaimer: articles published on Red Thistle are the views of the individual authors and not necessarily those of SNP Socialists as a whole.

One thought on “Laura Brennan-Whitefield – Drugs Policy: Medical Cannabis

  1. Hello Laura,
    I have been trying to drum up support for your Petition “Devolve the power to allow medicinal use of cannabis to the Scottish Parliament” as I think it is a very worthwhile cause. However there is a huge gap between the number of signatures collected so far & the number needed to even be considered for debate in Parliament. I feel as though something like a UK national campaign to advertise that there is such a Petition is necessary. On the one hand I have been thinking, how can such a gap be bridged given that the deadline for signatures is April 2017. And on the other hand I think that out of the population of the UK, 100,000 isn’t really so much, if the message could be seen by the UK population. After all, if the Scottish Parliament could pass such a law it could benefit the whole of the UK with possibly other parts of the UK following suit. I have been writing to people of influence to seek their help in spreading the word, eg I have e-mailed political leaders, as I believe, as do you, that such a cause must attract cross-party support.
    Perhaps we could join forces in coordinated e-mailing & possibly reach a wider audience. What do you think?

    Yours sincerely, Robert Bell.


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