Sputnik spoke to EP, Political Campaigner and Leader of End Prohibition (@afterprohibends), for more insight on the issue.
Sputnik: Firstly, how significant is this this development that medical marijuana could be available for prescription in less than a month?
EP: It is very significant but it’s a very tiny and welcomed step in the right direction. It remains to be seen how actually available it will be on prescription in the coming week. There are a lot of reservations about that, when we look at the current medical panel that’s been set up at the moment. For example, they have only prescribed a handful of people for the medical cannabis that they require, and that is going to be in place until the winter time. Things are changing slowly, they are going in the right direction, but people are going to feel let down, as they currently are.
It’s been over three months and I think less than five people actually have access to it and a lot that’s been put in place looks like it’s not going to give many more people access to it.
Sputnik: What would this look and how would it be controlled and distributed to patients?
EP: So what they’ve said is that they’re going to do is the expert medical panel will continue until winter. This isn’t quite the timeline that stated, of GPs being able to prescribe it by autumn. It will remain with specialists, who will have to apply to import cannabis for patients, which isn’t very different from what it is being said, with NHS England at the moment writing to specialists with infirm guidelines and it won’t be until 2019 until the NIC guidelines are published and it will only cover three areas initially. Patients with severe epilepsy, much like some of the children we’ve seen in the media recently, people suffering nausea from chemotherapy which has already been recognized by the UK government – they used to allow a synthetic THC product to be prescribed that, and people with chronic pain where reports have shown up to 28 million people may benefit from that
So yes, eventually the have said that GPs will be able to prescribe; I think only at that point will more people actually gain access to that whilst its only specialist who will be able to prescribe it, very few will be able to get access to that which obviously a bit concerning for people that require it.
Sputnik: In the past year, we've seen major changes to Britain's legal attitude to drugs. Are steps like this beneficial and what does it mean for the society and the general public?
EP: It can only be beneficial, certainly ‘The War on Drugs’ is a complete failure, I don’t think it has ever been about drugs, more on certain classes of people but the public’s attitude to drugs has certainly changed especially on the cannabis side.
Attitudes are changing; there a lot more that needs to be done to remove that stigma and certainly much more needs to be accomplished so that all can benefit from medical cannabis can access it.
I certainly think attitudes are certainly changing that way; we have more police support backing sensible reforms like this, more health groups as well, I think it will take a lot more changes in health groups as well…
I think it will take a lot more changes in public attitudes and certainly political ones to get there, but they are certainly heading in the right direction and just a lot of effort and a lot more fighting because our drug deaths are going up year on year and it’s not acceptable when we have proven drug measures that will help reduce them.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.