When Home Office officials confiscated Billy Caldwell’s cannabis oil at Heathrow Airport in June, they were met with a public backlash that prompted them to return a portion of the boy’s medicine and begin discussing medical marijuana policy.
Following the second part of a review by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced that medicinal cannabis would soon be available by prescription for individuals with severe conditions.
“Following advice from two sets of independent advisers, I have taken the decision to reschedule cannabis-derived medicinal products, meaning they will be on prescription,” said Javid. “This will help patients with an exceptional clinical need, but is in no way a first step to the legalization of cannabis for recreational use.”
Like in the United States, the U.K. places cannabis in the Schedule 1 classification, meaning the government has determined that it has no medicinal value. But after Secretary Javid’s announcement, cannabis-derived medicinal products will now be listed as Schedule 2 under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.
“Recent cases involving sick children made it clear to me that our position on cannabis-related medicinal products was not satisfactory,” said Javid. “The Home Office have said they will develop additional frameworks and clinical guidelines to ensure that cannabis-derived medicinal products can be prescribed safely to patients.”
Once the Department for Health and Social Care and the Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency drafts a precise definition of medicinal cannabis, specialist clinicians will be able to prescribe approved medical marijuana products by sometime in the Fall.