Boris Johnson Breaks Cannabis Campaign Promise

PM Boris Johnson hasn't lived up to his cannabis-related campaign promises.

Boris Johnson, the newly elected prime minister of the UK, has gone back on his public promise to review the current laws on the use of medicinal cannabis for children suffering from cases of epilepsy, leaving Scottish MP's furious. 

In 2018 the case of Billy Caldwell took over UK news. Billy's family was attempting to get the attention of the Home Office to allow a physician to prescribe the 12-year-old cannabis oil, that contained THC – a substance that was banned in the UK at the time.

This oil was to help with Billy's seizures after being admitted to the hospital. Billy's case was a turning point for medicinal cannabis in the UK as this was the first time it had been prescribed since being made illegal in 1971.

Since then activists and carers of those affected by epilepsy have fought hard to make the medicinal cannabis treatment available for all. During the general election, patients could only hope for the new PM to have a more open-minded stance on the future of cannabis in the UK.

Back in October 2019 the Prime Minister declared he was committed to personally examining the current position of medical cannabis in the UK with Scottish National Party MP and Vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) of Medical Cannabis, Ronnie Cowan.

The Scottish MP asked the Prime Minister why families are still struggling to access medicinal cannabis for their children, despite the Government claiming it would be available on the NHS at no extra cost. 

"I think it is right we have changed the way we do things. The chief medical officer and NHS England have made it clear that cannabis-based products can be prescribed for medicinal use." Said Prime Minister Johnson.

"It must be up to doctors to decide when it is in the best interests of their patients to do so."

However, over two months later, and Boris Johnson is yet to personally address the issue and Ronnie Cowan has been offered a meeting with a junior health minister.

"Maybe most disturbing is not that I have been pushed down the pecking order, but that it will have taken 78 days to get this far," Cowan explained as his initial question was directed at the Prime Minister.

"He indicated at the time that he 'will take it up personally with him.' I would have preferred a conversation with him directly but these are the hoops that opposition backbenchers like me have to jump through."

Despite being available for prescription on the NHS the drug is not easily available or affordable for many. This is the main reason why black market sales remain the most common way of obtaining the drug in the country.

Ronnie states that in the coming year he will be "pushing for a timetable of events that will train GPs in the use of medical cannabis, license products that are already being imported and used "

As helping develop more medical products for a wider range of conditions and "provide medical cannabis on prescription free under the NHS."

"Those who are currently sourcing medical cannabis either illegally or legally, but at great expense, face up to their conditions every day and every night. Any and all delays hit them hardest and yet they are the very people who are being ignored" said Cowan. 

Medicinal cannabis treatments seem to be an ignored issue in the UK, those seeking it for treatment will continue vocalizing their cases and can only hope that under the new PM there will finally be some changes in the prescription and distributions of the medicine.

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In fact, a 2016 UN report found that the UK accounted for approximately 45% of global cannabis production, while also being responsible for 70% of the worldwide export market.

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And with Prohibition Partners predicting the industry could reach $3 billion in size by 2024, this is one investment opportunity you don't want to miss.

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Niki Mohazeb
Niki Mohazeb

Niki is a Sydney based writer, with a passion for promoting the health benefits of medicinal cannabis. Niki also enjoys researching and writing about the future of cannabis along with the many other benefits that the plant provides, such as the diverse utilities of hemp.

There are 2 Commentsin this post

  1. The harassment, arrest and prosecution of people who grow and use cannabis to alleviate symptoms caused by debilitating diseases like MS, is not in the public interest. Boris Johnson should order an immediate investigation into the relationship between GW Pharmaceuticals and the British government, the basis of their license, the benefits of that for the British taxpayer and the hardships of those who are unable to afford the cost of GW's products. Previous governments have promoted, supported and funded research, to produce cannabis pharmaceuticals in the belief that if they were available, it would make the line against recreational use, "easier to hold", although in practise, it merely highlights the flaws in their reasoning. The number of cannabis-derived medicines that are now approved and used all over the world, is proof of the plant's medicinal benefits and in an age when we are all encouraged to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, it seems absurd that the government should force people, under the threat of imprisonment, to use a pharmaceutical product, rather than a whole-plant, natural remedy that they can grow in their garden.

  2. The government are happy enuff to grow it ,export it, an get fat off the profit from selling it all the while criminalizing anyone else that needs it for medical reasons or enjoys using it recreationally, its a plant not a drug it's being demonized because any one can grow it an this is why our government dont like it they're worried it'll effect thier sales ,thier profit an the profits of the pharmaceutical agencies that pay them so well under the table

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