The UK Parliament debated medical cannabis on Monday, 6th September 2021. The debate lasted well over an hour and primarily focused on why epileptic children almost 3 years after Medical Cannabis was formally legalised still can not get prescriptions. Even if they can get a script, it is a private prescription where the families are having to continuously fund raise to pay for the life changing medications. The debate did look at wider medical use and how access can be improved.
The parliamentary tone was constructive and MP’s were generally well-informed about the issues with all backing medical cannabis. MPs from all sides of the political spectrum were questioning the need for randomised Controlled trials (RCT’s) to move f Medical Cannabis forward. That said the government’s response to MP’s concern was led by Jo Churchill, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care with responsibility for Medical Cannabis regulation. Her view is Medical Cannabis must have evidence produced under RCT’s but did acknowledge that there may be some flexibility in the future.
The debate was in stark contrast to the Italian parliament where the justice committee has reacted to the 2019 supreme court ruling that allowed small scale cultivation of Cannabis. Italy has just enabled patients to grow their own medicine! The third country in Europe to allow home growing and the trend is increasing. Greece, France, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg are all making major moves on cannabis reform. The regulation of Cannabis across Europe is changing and starting to catch up with the North American reforms of the last decades.