A father who had his penis removed due to a rare form of cancer has demanded that the government legalise medical cannabis for patients.
Paul Keeny, 45, believes that using cannabis oil would have slowed down the spread of cancer that has ravaged his body since his diagnosis in April.
His calls come as the Home Office agreed to return cannabis to 12-year-old epilepsy sufferer Billy Caldwell following a public outcry.
So far, 280,000 signatories have backed Paul’s petition on Change.org to fix the unfair law, Chronicle Live reports .
Paul said I absolutely think attitudes are changing, you can see it all over the news, it’s much more accepted in the public view now. I think there was a stigma about it, but people are realising there are real medical benefits.
The 45-year-old has been forced to undergo six operations since his diagnosis, and is currently in recovery from the latest, most drastic procedure, in which his penis was totally removed. He first heard about the potential effects of cannabis oil from a school friend, who had got in touch to tell Paul that he credited it for his recovery from stage four cancer.
He said it was outrageous that he could face potential arrest for seeking out a drug which he believes could improve his quality of life, and give him more time with son Dylan, 15, and wife Cheryl, 41.
I absolutely believe that if I had access to medical marijuana I might not be in such a bad position, Paul said.
CBD – which is completely legal – has helped a bit with my pain and sleeping, but I believe that THC is what I need. It’s incredibly unfair that it’s criminalised, and that some people might face the choice between accessing something that could help them and breaking the law. Plenty of workplaces do random drugs tests, so a person could be caught out when they’re just trying to treat their illness.
I find myself tearing at my hair in frustration – I just wish that the politicians who are making these decisions had seen the evidence that I’ve seen, because I can’t believe anyone could say there is no medical basis for it. They’ve had medical marijuana for 20 years, it’s been properly tested by doctors.
Paul also says it’s vital that the drug be made available on the NHS. At present, he says even the less-effective CBD oil is pricey to buy, and out of the reach of many cancer patients.
Paul’s petition is set to be presented in Westminster by Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery, who said he had been inspired by his determined constituent.
Since the first time Paul came to see me, I was blown away by his determination and courage, despite the horror he has been through, he said.
His petition has really shown what society thinks about this important issue.
With nearly 300,000 people signing Paul’s call for legalisation of cannabis oil for medical purposes, it is the Government ’s duty to ensure that action is taken as soon as possible.
The many moving cases we have seen recently, including Paul’s have had a profound effect on this debate. I will be submitting Paul’s petition to Downing Street in the coming weeks and supporting his cause all the way.
What are the current laws on cannabis oil in the UK?
The current row may prove confusing, as some forms of ‘cannabis oil’ are, in fact, legal in the UK, with some people claiming they help treat pain or even address cancer symptoms.
What’s legal is oil containing cannabidiol (CBD), but not tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (the substance associated with the ‘high’ marijuana is famous for). This is produced from the hemp strain of the cannabis plant, while the marijuana strain, containing THC, remains illegal in the UK.
Campaigners like Paul argue that medical marijuana oil (containing CBD and THC) should be legalised for its therapeutic effects.
On Monday, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the current position on medical use of the drug was not satisfactory and promised to review it. But he stressed it would remain illegal for recreational use.
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