Following the high-profile cases of Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley, last July saw the Home Secretary take the pragmatic step to re-schedule cannabis-derived medical products.
In the interim before a decision was reached, an independent expert panel was established to issue licenses for prescriptions of medical cannabis as a way for patients in urgent need to legally access the otherwise prohibited medicines. Regrettably, this process was not without problems. Despite the Government’s attempts to ease their availability, many continue to find the barriers to legally accessing medical cannabis too restrictive, as is the situation faced by one constituent and long-time correspondent of mine.
As the father of two young children, the terribly sad situation her son faced resonated deeply with me. As such, over the course of 2018, I persistently pressed the Home Office for as much clarity as possible on when the re-scheduling would come into effect and, more recently, lent my support to the APPG On Medical Cannabis under Prescription’s call for Ministers to address the barriers to accessing medical cannabis that remain despite its re-scheduling.
With each passing day, more potentially irreversible damage is caused by seizures to lives, both young and old, that might have benefitted from treatment with cannabis-derived medicines. To stop this from happening any longer than it must, and to prevent patients and their families making the onerous decision to seek treatment outside the UK, I will continue to push for Ministers to do everything in their power to ease the access to these potentially life-changing medicines.