Posted on Friday November 2, 2018
One of the UK’s leading law firms in the fast-growing legal cannabis market, Mackrell Turner Garrett, has said that the availability of medical cannabis under prescription from today could be the start of a boom for the industry.
The London-based firm, which is working with a number of companies that produce cannabis-derived products legally, believes that this initial move towards legalisation for medical use could be the catalyst that may one day see wider use of the drug in treatments.
Under the new rules, cannabis-based products can now be prescribed by specialist doctors in hospitals for certain illnesses, which include children with rare forms of epilepsy, adult patients experiencing nausea due to chemotherapy and people with muscle stiffness caused by multiple sclerosis.
Treatments using cannabis will also be available to adults in chronic pain and patients with HIV/AIDS that are experiencing appetite and weight loss.
NHS guidance, does, however, make it clear that cannabis should only be prescribed when all other forms of treatment have been exhausted.
“This is a big step forward for the UK’s legalised cannabis product market and has been rapid in its adoption,” said Robert Jappie, Head of Mackrell Turner Garrett’s Cannabis Regulatory Department.
“If we look back just 12 months ago, there seemed no possibility of cannabis-derived products being prescribed, in fact, the Government had been quite clear that they were opposed to such a move.
“Had it not been for the parents of Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell, as well as countless other campaigners, I fear that we may still be in the same position now.”
Robert notes that in the Government’s own most recent impact assessment on cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPM) it states that “there may be an improvement in health and wellbeing outcomes for those receiving CBPM and consequential benefits for their carers.”
The report also notes that “there may be health-related cost savings if CBPM replaces existing medicines, or if the health improvement leads to lower treatment costs.”
“It would seem clear to me then that the Government has finally recognised the benefits to some patients and is willing to recognise that it could have further benefits in future, including reduced costs for the healthcare system,” he added.
Robert said that he believes that this initial loosening of the laws surrounding cannabis could lead to further change in the future.
“While the Government remains resolute that this change to the rules is a one-off, I and many within the cannabis industries believe that this could lead to further legalisation in future and further growth for the sector,” he added.
Robert said that full legalisation, including recreational use, wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility within the next decade, pointing to both Canada and several US states as examples of where the drug has been successfully legalised and regulated.
“We work with a number of lawyers in the US and Canada experienced in advising the cannabis industry who are part of our own global legal network, Mackrell International, and have spoken at length with them about how the various states and provinces have gone about regulating this industry.
“We don’t feel that it is incomprehensible that at some point the UK may follow their example – especially considering the benefits it can offer to patients, the economy and the effect that proper regulation can have on supporting people with drug dependencies.”
To find out more about Mackrell Turner Garrett’s services for the cannabis industry, please click here.