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Medical Cannabis Under Prescription

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:23 pm on 20th May 2019.

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Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Opposition Whip (Commons) 5:23 pm, 20th May 2019

I am about to come to that point, which is the key question. The root of the problem is that we are not talking about an illegal prescription; these are legal prescriptions, but our NHS is unwilling or unable to make them and deliver on them. The question we need to ask today is, what can Ministers and the Government do to help to sort out the situation? What can we do? It is clearly not good enough for us to say, “Well, Parliament has legislated so we’ve done our bit. It’s now all down to the medical establishment.” The system clearly is not working.

At the root of the issue is evidence. The Government have issued a call for research on this, which is fine as far as it goes, but we need to look creatively at that because research and evidence take different forms. After writing to the Department, I received a letter from a Minister saying that cannabis is legal to be prescribed, but should only be prescribed where there is

“clear published evidence of benefit”.

That little phrase is difficult. Cannabis has been listed under schedule 1 until very recently. When a drug is in schedule 1, it is incredibly difficult to do research on it.