As of November 1, doctors in the United Kingdom will be able to prescribe marijuana for medicinal purposes. The public court cases of two epileptic patients aided in pressuring the UK government to change its strict marijuana policy.
The change was announced by UK Home Security official Sajid Javid, who, last summer, called upon the government to review marijuana-derived products, reports The New York Times. He called for the review following the confiscation of a 12-year-old boy’s marijuana-derived epilepsy medication.
Javid’s office determined on July 1 that senior clinicians will be able to prescribe the medicines (marijuana) to patients with an exceptional clinical need.
“Having been moved by heartbreaking cases involving sick children, it was important to me that we took swift action to help those who can benefit from medicinal cannabis,” Javid said. “We have now delivered on our promise and specialist doctors will have the option to prescribe these products where there is a real need.”
Those battling the British government in court were given a special (but temporary) license to use and possess their marijuana medicine earlier this summer.
Patients’ symptoms must not be well controlled by traditional therapies or medications to qualify for the use of marijuana. The policy states that medical marijuana may be prescribed “only when the patient has an unmet special clinical need that cannot be met by licensed products.”
The new policy applies to residents of:
- Northern Ireland
The possession of marijuana will remain illegal in the UK without a doctor’s authorization.