thursday, 21 june of 2018


UK Home secretary announces review into medicinal cannabis use

Thousands of sufferers of drug-resistant conditions have been offered hope after the home secretary launched a review into medicinal uses of cannabis following public pressure from the families of two sick children.

But Sajid Javid ruled out legalising the drug for recreational use following interventions by the former Tory leader William Hague and policing officials

The review by the Home Office and the chief medical officer, Sally Davies, was announced following high-profile coverage of the cases of 12-year-old Billy Caldwell and six-year-old Alfie Dingley, who both have forms of intractable epilepsy that appear to be eased by the use of cannabis oil.

Following the announcement of the review, Caldwell’s mother, Charlotte Caldwell, said: “At every stage we have mentioned making history, and we have mentioned it because common sense and the power of mummies of sick children has bust the political process wide open and is on the verge of changing thousands of lives by bringing our medicinal cannabis laws in line with many other countries.”

Javid’s decision to review medicinal cannabis marks another major intervention by the secretary of state since his appointment at the end of April. Although some announcements had been set in motion before he took office, he has overseen the fallout from the Windrush scandal, which included the suspension of some immigration enforcement measures, the launch of new counter-terrorism legislation and strategy, and he has removed medics from the skilled migrant cap.

Addressing the House of Commons on the issue of medicinal cannabis, Javid said: “It has become clear to me since becoming home secretary that the position that we find ourselves in currently is not satisfactory.

“It’s not satisfactory for the parents, it’s not satisfactory for the doctors, and it’s not satisfactory for me. I have now come to the conclusion that it is time to review the scheduling of cannabis.

“Before I go into any detail of the review, let me be absolutely clear that this step is in no way a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use.

“This government has absolutely no plans to legalise cannabis and the penalties for unauthorised supply and possession will remain unchanged.

“We will not set a dangerous precedent or weaken our ability to keep dangerous drugs off our streets.”

Cannabis is currently a schedule 1 drug, meaning it is currently thought to have no therapeutic value and cannot be lawfully possessed or prescribed. It may be used for the purposes of research but a Home Office licence is required.

(Published by The Guardian, June 19, 2018)

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