It has been a long time coming, and it is news that a lot of people will have been waiting for – medical cannabis has been “legally” brought into the UK for consumption. It is a great day for the UK and possibly a turning point in how they handle medical cannabis. A member of the UK based cannabis campaigning group “Clear” has successfully returned from the Netherlands with 90g of medical grade cannabis that had been prescribed by his UK based GP.
The 33 year old man, dubbed as Clarence Clear (not his real name), suffers from multiple spinal related health problems that have left him with chronic pain and a degenerative spinal disease. He had traditionally been prescribed a plethora of different pharmaceutical drugs which had ended up with him developing analgesia migraines as a side effect.
In a bid to try to rid himself of his pharmaceutical cocktail, Clarence tried using marijuana; he found it to be much more effective than anything he had previously had. When he approached his doctor with the information, his GP fortunately saw the benefit and improvement to Clarence's condition, instead of jumping to the usual negative conclusion.
Upon this discovery, Clarence's GP actually went away and did some research himself into the subject of THC, CBD, and their benefits - finding out whether cannabis could be a viable option for Clarence. In the end his GP found Bedribinol, a medical strain that has a 12% THC level and less than 1% CBD. Determining that it would be ideal to help relieve Clarence's situation, his GP went above and beyond, corresponding with the Home Office and writing Clarence a prescription for the cannabis.
With this prescription and Home Office correspondence in hand, Clarence went out to the Netherlands to obtain his prescription in the company of his girlfriend. Quite comically, he was stopped at customs leaving the Netherlands, but not for what you may think. A jar of mustard was seized from them, whilst the cannabis was of no interest!
As you can probably imagine, the flight back would have been very unnerving. Bringing an amount of cannabis back into the UK in quantities that could be misinterpreted as an intent to supply would have had very serious consequences if seen in a bad light. International drug smuggling is no laughing matter.
Upon arriving in the UK they chose to go down the red channel at customs – the channel you take when you have goods to declare. We can only imagine the anxiety at approaching such a situation. Apparently there was a group of young men who had also been stopped looking on in disbelief as the customs officers quite casually inspected the weed and supporting documents, packed it all back up, and allowed Clarence on his way!
This is all uncharted territory for the British border agents and legal system as a whole. The inspecting customs officer praised them for being open and honest, saying that things would have been very different if they had chosen to take the other route. He had the following to say about the indecent and any future situations:
“I now intend to write to the Home Office, explaining what has happened and asking for confirmation that anyone else with a prescription from their doctor may follow the same process. It maybe that they will claim this was a mistake, but we have taken legal advice and it would be impossible to secure a conviction against Clarence.”
This is a gigantic step forward in seeing cannabis become legal in the UK on medial grounds. It is still not law, and we do not know the permissions and details that the Home Office gave; but this could potentially set future precedent on how those in need, resident within the UK, will be able to go about obtaining medical marijuana. We have our foot in the door, we just need to push it open now.