The British government has recently confirmed it will review the medical use of marijuana in the UK. Medical marijuana could be legalized.
Marijuana laws prohibiting recreational marijuana will remain the same. The laws and criminal prosecution differ if for possession or cultivation of marijuana. Possession of cannabis in the UK comes with a maximum jail term of five years in prison. If you have large amounts of marijuana, authorities can determine it is for supply and production and the maximum is 14 years.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid told the U.K. parliament the use of cannabis-based medicines should be example. He stated: “It is not satisfactory for the parents, it is not satisfactory for the doctor and it is not satisfactory for me.” He told MPs if a governmental review concluded the drug has “significant medical benefits,” the law will be changed.
Theresa May and fellow British politicians have been under public pressure to review drug regulations as children have been denied access to cannabis-deprived products known to alleviate their life-threatening epileptic seizures.
Public attention shifted to medical marijuana patients after two recent events. One was after the family of six-year-old Alfie Dingley, with a rare form of epilepsy applied to use cannabis oil medication. David said a license is now being issued for the boy’s treatment.
The second was after officials at the Heathrow Airport confiscated 12-year-old Billy Caldwell’s, cannabis oil, bought in Canada, who suffered from life-threatening seizures. Under current law, if cannabis oil has more than .05 percent of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive part of the plant, it is banned.
Javid intervened this past week to approve a 20-day licence for Billy Caldwell to be treated with his cannabis il.
One cannabis-based drug, Savitex, has been approved for UK Multiple Sclerosis patients, but only if all other drugs fail. He later announced Alfie Dingley, would be granted a licence for cannabis-based drugs.
Charlotte Caldwell, Billy’s mother, believes the change in policy reflects the power and love of a mother for her sick child, and it has “bust the political process wide open.” She said the UK is ″on the verge of changing thousands of lives by bringing our medicinal cannabis laws in line with many other countries.” The mother of Alfie Dingley, Hannah Deacon, was told during a live TV interview her son would be given the medicine.
Javid assured the possible change was “in no way a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use” and “cannabis is a drug which can harm people’s mental and physical health. The law is very clear. It’s for the police to decide how they take operational decisions on the ground.”
This news is critical for patients and caregivers. Criminalization is not on the table, but this step could be significant.