Hemel Hempstead MP Sir Mike Penning, who co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prescribed Use of Medical Cannabis has given a cautious welcome to a Home Office announcement that medical cannabis could soon be legalised.
The Home Office has announced that the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has recommended that cannabis-derived medicinal products should be moved from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.
This means that doctors would be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis drugs provided they meet safety standards.
The Department of Health and Social Care and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) will now develop a clear definition of what constitutes a cannabis-derived medicinal product.
Sir Mike said: “I have spoken to the Home Secretary to welcome this news and to say how pleased I am that he has acted so quickly. I pay testament to the families and campaigners that have fought so hard to achieve this dramatic change in policy.
“This announcement brings hope to many people including local patients whose consultants have been prevented from prescribing cannabis-based drugs because of the drugs laws in place.
“However, there is still a very important body of work to define exactly which products will be allowed and how they will be regulated.”
He added: “Any move to restrict medical cannabis in the UK to a very narrow range of derived products, each requiring full pharmaceutical trials, thereby blocking out the many products available overseas, will lead to great disappointment and be a missed opportunity.”
In conclusion he added: “This does not in any way indicate a relaxation of the laws on the use of cannabis for recreational purposes, which I would not support, and still comes fully under the remit of the Home Office.”