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MP welcomes legalisation of medicinal cannabis

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Dr Dan Poulter MP. Photo by Mark Bullimore
Dr Dan Poulter MP. Photo by Mark Bullimore

Former doctor and MP for central Suffolk and North Ipswich, Dan Poulter, has welcomed news that medical cannabis will be made available on prescription.

Medicines derived from cannabis can now be prescribed on the NHS for patients with an exceptional clinical need by specialist clinicians from the autumn, the Home Office announced last week.

A clear definition of what constitutes a cannabis derived medicinal product will be developed by the Department for Health and Social Care for England and the UK Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency.

Dr Poulter said: “I warmly welcome the announcement by the Home Secretary; this is exceptionally good news.

“I have been pushing this issue for some time now and am delighted that the Home Secretary has acted so promptly with his review.”

Home secretary Sajid Javid said recent cases involving sick children had made the decision clear, along with advice from independent advisors.

But he added it was “in no way” a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use. Possession of the class B drug will still carry an unlimited fine and up to five years in jail, while dealers face 14 years in prison.

The announcement comes after Billy Caldwell, a 12-year-old boy who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy, was granted an emergency licence allowing him to be treated with medical marijuana by Northern Ireland’s Department of Health earlier this month.

Dr Poulter, added:“The most distressing thing for a doctor is being unable to care properly for a patient, and permitting the use of medicinal cannabis is about improving quality of life for patients.

“It has been clear for some time that a change to the law in allowing cannabis to be prescribed for medicinal use is long overdue.

“We must stop seeing cannabis-derived medicinal products through the prism of outdated drugs laws and regulations. For families like Billy Caldwell, it marks a major milestone.”

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