CASHING IN ON CANNABIS
Medicinal cannabis is illegal to use in the uk - but that hasn’t stopped firms selling it abroad
THE UK is the world's biggest exporter of legal cannabis - even though it's against the law to use it in this country.
A United Nations report published earlier this year found that the UK is responsible for more than two thirds (67.7 per cent) of the world's medical cannabis exports - or 2.1 tons.
But the government treats cannabis as a Class B drug - meaning it's illegal in the UK, even for medical use.
The Home Office announced last month that medical cannabis will be available for prescription from autumn - but for the moment it remains against the law.
Transform is a campaign group arguing for the decriminalisation of drugs - particularly medical cannabis.
Steve Rolles, Transform's senior policy analyst, said: “UK patients are either denied access and suffering unnecessarily, or are forced to buy cannabis from the criminal market. “Countries with proper access to medical cannabis do not have this problem, as standardised cannabis products are in the hands of doctors and pharmacists.
“It is profoundly unethical, and a violation of the fundamental right to health, to deny people access to medicines that are prescribed by their doctors.
“The government must relax restrictions that grant a monopoly for a single product to a single company. It must allow access to cannabis-based medicines that serve patients' needs – what they don't need is the government's cruel and misguided war on people who use drugs. “Home Office Secretary Sajid Javid recently commissioned an initial review into cannabis-related medicinal products.
In the light of that, chief medical advisor Professor Dame Sally Davies, said: “It is now clear that from a scientific point of view keeping cannabis-based medicinal products in Schedule 1 is very difficult to defend.” Schedule 1 drugs are those which have little or no therapeutic potential.
And at the end of July, Mr Javid recently announced that cannabis-derived medicinal products will be made available on prescription from autumn.
He said: “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.” There is one cannabis- based drug - Savitex - that can already sometimes be prescribed for people experiencing severe symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Some 2,642 items of Savitex were prescribed in England and Wales last year.
The UK is responsible for more than twothirds of the world's cannabis exports
Medical cannabis will be legalised in autumn this year