Lib Dems in the news over drugs and secrecy – for the right reasons

Nick Clegg continues to use his regular Evening Standard column to champion liberal causes:

Give doctors the right to prescribe cannabis for those in real pain
Thousands of Britons suffer from chronic conditions but face breaking the law to get treated. That must change.

Imagine being in constant pain, so much so that you can’t work, you can’t walk around town, you can’t lift things, you can’t even find a restful position to sleep in. Imagine that every medicine your doctor prescribes to you is either too weak to make a difference or comes with crippling side effects.

Now imagine knowing there is a medicine available that can ease your pain, allow you to work, move around relatively comfortably and help you sleep through the night. But there’s one downside: it’s illegal.

What do you do? Do you live with the agony and fatigue or break the law?

That’s the desperate dilemma that tens of thousands of British citizens face because it is illegal for doctors to prescribe medicinal forms of cannabis to their patients, despite mounting evidence that it can be an effective treatment for certain illnesses.

[UPDATE: At the Lib Dem conference in York, the party backed changing Britain’s cannabis legislation to legalise recreational use.]

Meanwhile Lib Dem peer Tom McNally is beating the drum for freedom of information:

A former Liberal Democrat minister has described the government commission set up to review the Freedom of Information Act as a “rigged jury”.

Giving evidence to the alternative FoI review set up by Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, Lib Dem peer Lord McNally said he had fought previous attempts by the Conservatives and civil servants to undermine the act while serving as minster of justice during the last parliament. He said the timing of the new review suggested the government felt it could now challenge the act.

“What worries me is that under the coalition the Conservatives knew they couldn’t get rid of the FoI [and] within weeks of having a majority they set up this commission, with this membership … All I can say is somebody has a sense of humour … Talk about a rigged jury.”


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