News 27 July 2018

Medical Marijuana to become legal this Autumn

27 July 2018

Medical cannabis products will become legal in the UK this Autumn.

The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid made the decision this week for specialist doctors to be allowed to lawfully prescribe medications such as cannabis oil to those with “exceptional clinical need”. Doctors would need to consult a panel of independent experts in order for their patients to be considered to access the treatment.

The legalisation of medical cannabis comes after the recent cases of Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley, two children with severe forms of epilepsy which causes them to suffer repeatedly from potentially lethal seizures.

Billy Caldwell’s mother travelled to Canada to obtain the cannabis oil which is the only effective treatment for her son. This was seized by customs on her return to the UK and the withdrawal of the oil led Caldwell to have a life-threatening seizure which forced him to be admitted into the hospital.

After public outcry and a series of petitions, the Home Office granted Caldwell with a short-term license to use the oil under the provision of nurses. This prompted the government to assess their stance on the use of medical cannabis products. Soon after, Alfie Dingley was granted a similar license to allow his mother to bring the oil from abroad to use to control his seizures.

Sajid Javid made the decision to legalise such products after advice from Professor Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England. Sajid Javid said, “recent cases involving sick children made it clear to me that our position on cannabis-related medicinal products was not satisfactory”. Mr Javid is adamant however that the government’s stance on marijuana legalisation for all has not changed, he expressed that this legal change is in “no way a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use”.

Medical cannabis is currently legal in several countries including Australia, Canada, Jamaica, the US, the Czech Republic, Germany and many other European countries. Uruguay was the first country to fully legalise marijuana for all uses in 2013. Citizens are able to grow up to six cannabis plants at home and use it for both medicinal and recreational purposes.