Rian (Ree) Saunders

UK Parliamentary Group Calls for Cannabis Rescheduling

The UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform is urging the Home Office to reclassify cannabis from Schedule One to Schedule Four, putting it in the same category as steroids and sedatives and allowing doctors to prescribe the drug and pharmacists to dispense it, according to a report from the BBC.

However, despite the suggestion by the cross-party group, the Home Office says they have no plans to legalize the “harmful drug.” Under current laws in England and Wales, cannabis therapies are not recognized and possession is illegal.

The group surveyed 623 patients, medical professionals, and medical marijuana experts, finding that 67 percent of patients try conventional methods first. According to the survey, 37 percent don’t tell their doctor about their cannabis use and 72 percent are driven to the informal market to purchase their medicine, while another 20 percent grow their own.

APPG Co-chair Baroness Molly Meacher called the UK’s current scheduling of cannabis “irrational.”

“Cannabis works as a medicine for a number of medical conditions,” she said in the report. “The evidence has been strong enough to persuade a growing number of countries and U.S. states to legalize access to medical cannabis.”

A representative for the Home Office said that “it is important that medicines are thoroughly trialled” before being made available to patients and that there is a regime in place by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to develop medicines that contain controlled substances.

At least 11 European countries, Canada, Israel, and 24 U.S. states approve medicinal cannabis use.    

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