FORMER Newport West MP Paul Flynn campaigned vigorously for cannabis to be legalised for medical use in the UK before his death earlier this year - and now election candidates for both Labour and the Conservatives has said it is only a matter of time before this becomes a reality.

Mr Flynn, who died in February aged 89, had long been a supporter of legalising the drug for medical use, and had presented a Private Member's Bill calling for this to become law. But the bill was repeatedly pushed back, and ultimately his death meant it was scrapped.

But now two General Election candidates - Labour's David Lammy and Conservative Crispin Blunt - have both said they think the drug will be legalised in some form in the foreseeable future.


South Wales Argus:

Paul Flynn. Picture: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

Cannabis is currently designated as a Class B drug in the UK and its recreational use is illegal, but some cannabis-based medicines are now available on the NHS in Wales and England.

Speaking at the summit in London, Mr Lammy said: "I think my own judgment is that generationally Parliament is also moving and changing.

"I think that we are arriving at a position where I don't think we are now any longer in the place where 'will there be regulation and legalisation?', I think it is more about how and when.

"And I suspect on how, there are differences in approaches that the two main parties will take, but I think that this is probably going to happen in the next decade or so."

South Wales Argus:

David Lammy

And Tory candidate Mr Blunt said the UK's current cannabis policy had made it very difficult to conduct research on how it can be used in medicine.

He added: "What I am arguing to my colleagues is what we need is policy based on evidence - I am not arguing for an outcome.

"I am arguing to try and create the right environment to consider the evidence.

"It looks as though it is more likely than not to happen."

Mr Blunt told the conference he was not sure how long it would take for such regulations to be created.

South Wales Argus:

Crispin Blunt

Also at the event was former Liberal Democrat MP and ex-chairman of the Commons Science and Technology Committee Sir Norman Lamb, who previously led his party's decision to back the legalisation of cannabis.

Explaining why he backed the legalisation, Sir Norman said: "My argument has been two-fold - first of all, as a liberal, what on Earth has the state got to do with what people choose to do in terms of an activity that does not impact on other people?

"This should be the basis for law-making, it seems to me.

"Particularly the hypocrisy when in our Parliament vast volumes of another drug of choice is consumed in the bars around Westminster, a drug that is much more dangerous of course than cannabis," Sir Norman claimed.

"But also my argument has been on the public health basis, because I think we put particularly young people at risk because of the stupid approach that we take through prohibition."