Amendment 15

Part of Medicines and Medical Devices Bill - Report (1st Day) – in the House of Lords at 8:45 pm on 12th January 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Jolly Baroness Jolly Liberal Democrat 8:45 pm, 12th January 2021

My Lords, today’s final amendment, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Field of Birkenhead, and signed by my noble friend Lady Walmsley and the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher—all long-term campaigners on this issue—would require regulations to be introduced to allow doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis products. I know that the movers of the amendment have been campaigning for ever—probably as long as I have been in the House—and can be excused their despair at the inactivity of GP prescribers.

The Home Office changed the status of medicinal cannabis two years ago, after a long campaign, but it has not been widely prescribed. The need for clarity on this matter was brought to the forefront by the news that nine year-old Alfie Dingley, whose use of medicinal cannabis has greatly improved his health, is no longer able to access his medication from the Netherlands due to Brexit. The Lib Dems have long been advocates of making medical cannabis accessible to those whose health would greatly benefit from it, and we support this amendment.

Will the Minister tell us what she can do to persuade the medical profession that cannabis has real medicinal value? Why are doctors deaf to children such as Alfie, and why are children such as Alfie and his parents left in the lurch? I hope that the Minister will be able to accept the invitation from the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, to join her in a meeting with Dr June Raine, the chief executive officer of the MHRA.