UK Government Loosens Cannabis Access Restrictions Amid Coronavirus Lockdown

British patients are now receiving their medicinal cannabis via the postal service in a groundbreaking first for the UK.

The UK government has published legislation in response to the coronavirus pandemic which has enabled the delivery of medicinal cannabis via the British postal service for the first time.

The emergency legislation also allows for the activation of unique legal protocols which would allow pharmacists to continue dispensing medication to existing patients—despite the lack of a renewed prescription—for the duration of the pandemic.

From an acute point of view, whether it's in the community or in the hospital setting, it [the legislation] just speeds up the whole process of getting pain relief or, critically, alleviation of shortness of breath or severe breathlessness sorted in a timely way. So this is something that I think is essential for healthcare workers to have.

University of York Addiction Researcher, Ian Hamilton

The legislation would also allow pharmacists—in the case of a dire supply shortage—to alter dosage levels or substitute drugs without the need to consult the prescribing doctor for a new prescription. Although, the changes can only be activated with the expression permission of the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, who has thus far refused to pull the trigger.

The lack of action from the UK government prompted more than 50 UK healthcare experts to write an open letter to Patel, where they warned that further delays could put patients lives at serious risk.

"Given the urgency with which prescribers and pharmacists need to provide pain control and reduce severe breathing difficulty for patients with covid-19 this legislation needs to be enacted urgently," the letter read.

"We call on the home secretary to trigger the useful actions contained in the legislation without delay as this will benefit health care staff and most importantly patients."

According to an official from the UK Home Office, the decision to introduce the legislation was made to provide assistance and, "relieve pressure on our healthcare system and encourage people to stay at home".

However, a pharmacist for the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis argued that the legislation may only apply to NHS patients who are undergoing "ongoing" treatment, which could inadvertently exclude medicinal cannabis users.

Many UK patients have been forced to begin using private cannabis clinics during the lockdown, as they are unable to travel to see their regular NHS consultant. Luckily, cannabis clinics are capable of holding medical consultations over the phone and can send out cannabis to patients through the post.

Cannabis Access Clinics UK have also lowered their prices—to ensure that patient access is heightened—in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, while also scrapping the requirement that necessitates meeting with specialists every 28 days to maintain a prescription.


The UK cannabis market could be on the verge of a multi-billion-pound boom

While the majority of cannabis sold in the UK still comes from the black market, things are rapidly beginning to change.

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.

However, the UK industry is still in its infancy, which has left investors starved for British pot stocks to add to their portfolio.

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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Hugo Gray
Hugo Gray

Hugo Gray is a Melbourne-based journalist with a body of work that covers a diverse range of topics, including immigration law, sex technology, and now the rapidly expanding cannabis industry.

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