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Sajid Javid confirms medical cannabis will be made available on prescription from autumn

2 min read

Sajid Javid has announced that medical cannabis will be available on prescription, following the high-profile case of Billy Caldwell.

The move means specialist clinicians will be able to legally prescribe cannabis-derived medicinal products by the autumn for those with “exceptional clinical need”.

The change of stance comes after the Home Secretary launched a review in June following the case of 12-year-old Billy Caldwell, whose mother had the product confiscated at Heathrow airport after flying from Canada.

The youngster, who suffers from severe epilepsy, was subsequently hospitalised after his seizures intensified.

Health chiefs and ministers will now draw up a "clear definition" of what constitutes a cannabis-derived medicinal product so they can be rescheduled and prescribed.

However, other forms of cannabis will be kept under strict controls.

Mr Javid said he had taken the decision following advice from the Chief Medical Officer and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

"Recent cases involving sick children made it clear to me that our position on cannabis-related medicinal products was not satisfactory," he said.

"That is why we launched a review and set up an expert panel to advise on licence applications in exceptional circumstances.

"Following advice from two sets of independent advisers, I have taken the decision to reschedule cannabis-derived medicinal products – meaning they will be available on prescription.

"This will help patients with an exceptional clinical need, but is in no way a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use."

The Government says clinicians will be able to apply to an independent expert panel on behalf of patients wishing to access these products until the new law comes in to force.

Furthermore all fees for special permits to use medicinal cannabis will be waived.

The Government also insisted that the announcement "does not pave the way towards legalising cannabis for recreational use".

"The penalties for unauthorised supply and possession will remain unchanged."

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