I believe that recent health cases in this country have shown that there is a need to look more closely at the use of cannabis based medicine in the healthcare sector in the UK. I am pleased that the Government decided it was appropriate to review the scheduling of cannabis.
This decision means that senior clinicians will be able to prescribe the medicines to patients with an exceptional clinical need. Following short term advice issued in September 2018 the ACMD are to review the current rescheduling and its appropriateness by November 2020 and provide further initial advice on synthetic cannabinoids by summer 2020.
The decision to prescribe an individual with medicinal cannabis is a medical one made by a professional that has considered whether it is the most effective treatment based on an individual's particular condition. It is not a political or financial decision.
Given the nature of the medicine, which can harm communities as well as mental and physical health if abused, it is only be prescribed by specialist doctors and on a case-by-case basis. I agree with my ministerial colleagues that these strict controls are necessary to develop clinical expertise and an evidence base for this treatment's effectiveness.
Patients and their families must have access to the most appropriate course of medical treatment. Therefore, it is right that the UK keeps up to date with accepted medical evidence and opinion.
However, usage of medicinal cannabis in this country must follow the above procedures. The UK Border Force has a duty to enforce the law and stop controlled substances being unlawfully imported into the UK.