Sajid Javid announces review into law on medicinal use of cannabis

Posted On: 
19th June 2018

Sajid Javid has today announced a review which could see cannabis legalised for medicinal use.

Sajid Javid announced the review before MPs
Credit: 
Parliament TV

However, the Home Secretary insisted the move was not the first step towards legalising the drug.

Mr Javid said that the review came after the “unprecedented” decision to grant the use of cannabis oil to help treat life-threatening epilepsy in 12-year-old Billy Caldwell, whose mother was stopped from bringing the oil into the country earlier this week.

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In a statement to the Commons this afternoon, the Home Secretary said that the Government’s current stance on the use of the drug was “not satisfactory”.

“It is not satisfactory for the parents, it is not satisfactory for the doctors and it is not satisfactory for me", he said.

The review, set to begin within the week, will be led by the Chief Medical Examiner alongside the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, and will be tasked with deciding if there would be “significant medical benefits” to allowing the use of the substance for medicinal purposes.

But the Home Secretary stressed that cannabis use for recreational purposes would still be strictly punished.

“This is in no way a first step towards the legalisation for recreational use. This Government has absolutely no plans to legalise cannabis and the penalties for unauthorised supply and possession will remain unchanged,” he told MPs

“There is strong scientific evidence that cannabis is a drug which can harm people’s physical and mental health, and damage communities.”

The review is a significant u-turn, coming just 24 hours after Theresa May reportedly stopped Mr Javid from even discussing the issue at Cabinet.

Mr Javid also announced that he had issued a further exception for six-year-old Alfie Dingle after his mother blasted the Prime Minister for taking three months to follow through on a personal assurance that her son would be permitted to take the drug.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott welcomed the "long overdue" announcment, but urged the Government to ensure the inquiry was based in "scientific fact" and not just "bowing to popular sentiment".