The government will announce the details of a new law to give seriously ill people the legal right to access medicinal cannabis, ministers have said. A consultation will be launched to give patients who have been prescribed the drug for medicinal purposes access to it in a controlled way. Under the new law, a doctor will be able to prescribe the drug to patients with a number of specified conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV, epilepsy and chronic pain. It is understood a new cabinet minister – who will not be a health secretary – will oversee the process of prescribing the drug, in consultation with experts. Ministers said it was a personal choice for doctors to prescribe the drug.
On Thursday 16th February, medical cannabis campaigners from across the UK, including Sajid Hussain, the MP for Bradford East, met with MPs in Westminster to discuss the burgeoning issue of medicinal cannabis.
Campaigners for medical cannabis have visited Westminster as part of a march from Belfast to London to raise money for the UK’s most vulnerable chronic patients who need access to medicinal cannabis.
In 2018 Billy Caldwell, who lives with epilepsy, successfully campaigned for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis in the UK. However, there are still no government-funded clinical trials on the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis. Monday the 14th. In June, medicinal cannabis activists Billy and Charlotte Caldwell came to Westminster to request a roundtable discussion with Matt Hancock and the National Institute for Health Research.
Billy and Charlotte proposed a special study on medicinal cannabis, and the letters were personally delivered to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Access to cannabis in the UK
After a 1,000-mile footrace from their home in Belfast across the British crown islands, Billy and Charlotte joined voters on College Green to lobby their representatives for better access to patients.
The I’m Billy campaign, which is backed by leading cannabis companies Kanabo, LVL Health Clinics, Medisonal, Grow Biotech and Northern Leaf, is calling for the UK’s first purpose-built trial to be funded by the National Institute for Health Research so that patients with the condition can receive free medication.
Patient access to medicinal cannabis on the NHS is currently limited due to the lack of certified evidence of effectiveness in the UK. Thousands of patients are receiving potentially life-saving cannabis-based drugs through private clinics.
Charlotte Caldwell, mother of Billy Caldwell, said: Billy and I have been overwhelmed by the fantastic support we have received on our journey across the country. We have met friends, supporters and patients and we will never forget any of you.
We arrived in Westminster today to meet MPs, relay my response to the Prime Minister and break this painful deadlock once and for all in the interests of patients and our wonderful NHS doctors. We request that the Minister of Health, Matt Hancock, meet with us today to discuss the next steps to allow patients access to publicly funded medical cannabis.
We have the solution, the experience and the team ready. Let’s end the suffering of cannabis patients by finally giving them access to the medicines that are right for them, while gathering much needed data on the efficacy and safety of cannabis-based medicines.
MP Heather Wheeler said: I’m happy to support the I am Billy campaign. It is very important that we organise this NHS research. The fact that Billy has been seizure free for 12 months is such an achievement that I wish others had the same opportunity.