Doctors in Britain will be able to prescribe medical cannabis by this coming fall, announced the British Home Office on July 26, 2018.
British Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “Recent cases involving sick children made it clear to me that our position on cannabis-related medicinal products was not satisfactory.
“Following advice from two sets of independent advisors, I have taken the decision to reschedule cannabis-derived medicinal products – meaning they will be available on prescription. This will help patients with an exceptional clinical need.”
Javid clarified that this was “in no way a first step to the legalization of cannabis for recreational use.”
This change comes after Billy Caldwell, a 12-year-old boy who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy, was granted an emergency license allowing him to be treated with MMJ by Northern Ireland’s Department of Health earlier this month.
Billy had previously been granted a short-term license by the Home Office allowing his mother Charlotte to use cannabis to control his seizures. When her permission to legally access cannabis oil though her physician in Northern Ireland was rescinded in early June 2018, Charlotte traveled to Toronto to access her son’s medication. She was arrested upon return home at Heathrow’s airport and Billy’s medication was confiscated. That is when Home Secretary Javid got personally involved.
Javid said he decided to reschedule medical marijuana on the advice of the government’s chief medical advisor, professor Dame Sally Davies, and the government’s official Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), reported The Independent.
Britain’s Department of Health and Social Care and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority will now develop a clear definition of what constitutes a cannabis-derived medicinal product, the Home Office said. The Home Office is responsible for internal affairs in England.
They will then be rescheduled and made available on prescription.