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Change Occurs for Medicinal Cannabis

30/07/2018

At a glance

The typical 13-year-old boy would be unhappy to open his birthday present and find a law change inside. But Billy Caldwell is not a typical teen. And we can assume he was delighted to receive such a gift from home secretary Sajid Javid.

Yes, it was Billy’s birthday last Thursday. What perfect timing. Billy is, of course, the child at the centre of the government’s cannabis re-think. He, along with six-year-old Alfie Dingley, takes cannabis oil to mitigate his epileptic seizures.

After a prolonged campaign, Javid confirmed that he is amending the classification of medicinal cannabis. It will be moved to Schedule 2, which means doctors will be able to prescribe it within weeks.

Previously, cannabis was a schedule 1 drug. That grouped it with ‘dangerous’ substances thought to have no therapeutic value.

Now, that’s all changed. And how quickly. It was just over a month ago that the home secretary ordered a review. That followed the public outcry when Alfie’s mother was detained at Heathrow as she attempted to bring cannabis oil into the country.

Weeks later the government’s chief medical officer concluded cannabis should be reclassified. Then, last week, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs gave the same verdict.

The home secretary’s decision will be welcomed by more than the two families at the heart of the campaign. After all, research reveals that cannabis has the potential to treat a wide variety of conditions: Crohns, nausea, chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, glaucoma, MS and even cancer.

What’s more, cannabis is relatively inexpensive to produce and appears to have minimal (if any) side effects. And with the stigma removed, the pharmaceutical industry will free to conduct more and better research into this important drug.

These studies will need to be funded. Happily, there is a growing investment community ready to step in. The experience of progressive countries such as Canada, Germany and Israel proves it. For example, as of 2017, Canada was home to 69 publicly traded cannabis-related companies.

Obviously, the medical benefits of cannabis trump all other gains. But let’s not be coy. There is an undeniable commercial upside too. Regions that have legalised medicinal cannabis report tremendous economic and fiscal growth. Indeed a recent report published by Prohibition Partners projected that, by 2028, the European cannabis market will be worth €115.7 billion (this includes revenue from recreational cannabis).

Memery Crystal has been at the heart of the drive to make medicinal cannabis legal in the UK. As such, we are delighted that the UK can finally be part of this exciting and disruptive market sector.

Nick Davis, Chief Executive of Memery Crystal said: “I have seen first hand from travelling around the world that legalisation can be a force for medicinal good. How fantastic that the UK can finally join the ranks of the ‘legal’ countries. And – more important – that patients can get the medicine they need.”

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