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Lichfield and Burntwood MP pleads with ministers to improve access to medicinal cannabis

The MP for Lichfield and Burntwood has pleaded with ministers to allow patients to have greater access to medicinal cannabis.

Michael Fabricant’s comments came in a House of Commons debate earlier this week.

Michael Fabricant
Michael Fabricant

The Conservative MP said that although the law was changed in 2018 to permit the prescription of cannabis, a shortage of specialist clinicians has meant that just two patients in the UK have had legal access to it.

He has previously highlighted the case of local woman Vicky Clarke and her family’s battle to access medicinal cannabis products.

Mr Fabricant told the health minister:  “I have a constituent who is suffering from very advanced multiple sclerosis.

“She has been unable to obtain the medication she needs, and her husband wishes to grow small amounts of cannabis to relieve her pain.

“However, it is not just she who is suffering. Staffordshire police do not want to act, although technically the family is breaking the law. That is an impossible position, is it not?

“It really is up to the Department of Health and Social Care to find ways in which cannabis can be prescribed more widely and more quickly.

“Is it not the case – cruel as it may seem to say this in the Chamber – that for those who are is suffering from advanced multiple sclerosis, there can be only one end to it?

“Is it not therefore cruel in the extreme that when something could mitigate the pain and the discomfort and is not going to do any more harm to the patient because there is no cure for advanced multiple sclerosis, that palliative care cannot be administered?”

Regulations

Earlier this month, Mr Fabricant wrote to the Chief Constable of Staffordshire, Gareth Morgan, asking what help the police can give in allowing Andy Clarke, Vicky’s husband, to grow small amounts of cannabis for her to take to relive the pain.

In a reply to Michael Fabricant Ch Cons Morgan said: “The 2018 regulations have imposed special measures of control for the use, order and supply of these Schedule 2 products for the purposes of administration.

“Specifically, such order and supply must be for use in accordance with the prescription or direction of a specialist medical practitioner; an investigational medicinal product for use in a clinical trial in humans; or, a medicinal product with a marketing authorisation.

“The regulations continue to prohibit smoking of cannabis and cannabis-based products for medicinal use.

“For these reasons I cannot provide permission for Mr Clarke to grow cannabis for medicinal use. Mr Clarke’s wife would need to consult with a medical practitioner in relation to treatments.

“I appreciate this is not the outcome Mr Clarke desired. However, I would wish to point out that this decision is not a matter for police forces but for Parliament to decide.”

Mr Fabricant said it was now up to ministers to solve the situation for families facing a similar story.

“I completely understand the Chief Constable’s position,” he said. “So far the police have been very understanding in this difficult situation.

“I am pleased that the law was changed to enable the prescribing of medicinal cannabis in the UK, but without trained clinicians able to prescribe these drugs, I understand why Mr Clarke might take the law into his own hands.

“I will continue to press either for more clinicians or for a further change in the law.”

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2 Comments

  1. Burntwood Bloke

    24th May, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    He’s already smoking something.

  2. Philip Allso

    24th May, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    Medicinal cannabis does not have the hallucinogenetic properties of cannabis plants. Whether it is considered advisable to continue to restrict the availability of the latter when it is readily available is something of a conundrum. There is no need to grow your own. It is improbable that the police will ever control the use of drugs for “recreational ” purposes. Those for medicinal use are of a far different order and requires much research to determind their efficacy. This has been the case for this drug for some time with conflicting opinions. It has long been thought that our species requires some sort of ‘high. Hence alcohol, tea and coffee, cigarettes and others that are accepted. It would be helpful if science could provide a none addictive, none harmful alternative to the products now being used illegally. All medicines we use are drugs. Some drugs that are used are not medicines.

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