There was good news for the medical cannabis campaign recently.
As co-chair the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prescribed Use of Medical Cannabis I cautiously welcome the announcement that medical cannabis could soon be legalised.
The Home Office announced that the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has recommended that cannabis-derived medicinal products should be moved from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.
This means that doctors would be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis drugs provided they meet safety standards.
Now the Department of Health and Social Care and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) need to develop a clear definition of what constitutes a cannabis-derived medicinal product.
I spoke to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, to welcome this news and to say how pleased I am that he has acted so quickly. I also pay testament to the families and campaigners that have fought so hard to achieve this dramatic change in policy.
This now gives hope to many people, including local patients, whose consultants have been prevented from prescribing cannabis-based drugs.
However, there is still a very important body of work to define exactly which products will be allowed and how they will be regulated.
Any move to restrict medical cannabis in the UK to a very narrow range of derived products, each requiring full pharmaceutical trials, thereby blocking out the many products available overseas, will lead to great disappointment and be a missed opportunity.
This does not in any way indicate a relaxation of the laws on the use of cannabis for recreational purposes, which I would not support, and still rightly comes fully under the remit of the Home Office.
Published on: September 3, 2018