GPs prescribing can improve public safety
This letter was originally published in the Telegraph
The Government is inadvertently fuelling social harm across the UK as a result of its medical cannabis policies.
This is because existing regulations are driving up to 1.8 million patients eligible for prescription cannabis into the £2 billion illicit market every year.
The current law states that only specialist doctors can legally initiate medical cannabis prescriptions. The costs of private medical cannabis prescriptions can be prohibitive, especially for those who may be on low incomes or disability benefits.
The result is that less affluent prospective patients instead turn to the illicit market, where they are exposed to a host of health and legal risks.
There are media reports indicating that the illicit market is increasingly controlled by Albanian organised criminals. Drug-related profits from illicit cannabis sales are extremely harmful to society and are directly linked to human trafficking, money laundering, and the purchase of illegal firearms.
One meaningful change to correct the situation would be for the Government to amend the law to allow GPs to prescribe medical cannabis to their patients, rather than it being the preserve of specialists only.
This would tackle the low number of prescribers, reduce stigma and broaden awareness among doctors and patients.
The letter was signed by a range of industry leaders, doctors, scientists, think tankers, and academics, as follows:
- Jamie Bartley, Co-Chair, Cannabis Industry Council
- Dr Callie Seaman, Co-Chair, Cannabis Industry Council
- Professor Mike Barnes , Honorary President, Cannabis Industry Council
- Professor David Nutt, Founder, Drug Science
- Hannah Deacon, Executive Director, Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society
- Dr Leon Barron, Chair, Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society
- Maxwell Marlow, Director of Research, Adam Smith Institute
- Christopher Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics, Institute of Economic Affairs
- Mike Morgan-Giles, CEO, Cannabis Industry Council
- Dr Sunil Arora, Co-Chair, Cannabis Industry Council Prescription Cannabis Working Group
- James Smith, Co-Chair, Cannabis Industry Council Prescription Cannabis Working Group
- Dr Shanna Marrinan, Co-Chair, Cannabis Industry Council Research and Science Working Group
- Elisabetta Faenza, Chair, Cannabis Industry Council Standards Working Group
- Sam Cannon, Co-Chair, Cannabis Industry Council ESG Working Group
- Gareth Dundee, Vice Chair, Cannabis Industry Council Ireland Working Group
- Kirsty Morrison, Vice Chair, Cannabis Industry Council Prescription Cannabis Working Group
- Dr Dani Gordon, specialist medical practitioner
- Dr Niraj Singh, specialist medical practitioner
- Dr Elizabeth Iveson, specialist medical practitioner
- Dr Rebecca Moore, specialist medical practitioner
- Dr Evan Lewis, specialist medical practitioner
- Dr Helen Beckett Wilson, Liverpool John Moores University
- Dr Lindsey Metcalf McGrath, Liverpool John Moores University
- Professor Mike Hough, Birkbeck, University of London
- Rayyan Zafar, Imperial College London
- Paul North, Director, Volteface
- Marika Graham-Woods, Executive Director, Cannabis Trades Association
- Alex Piot, Director of Research, Centre for Evidence Based Drug Policy
The Cannabis Industry Council is also grateful to the additional 21 CIC members who also signed the letter, including clinics, dispensaries, licenced producers, consultancies, patient groups, and campaigning organisations.