By Rudi Fortson Q.C.
Today is undoubtedly a landmark moment but - as foreshadowed in earlier posts - the regime will be more restrictive than many persons in the media, and certain commentators, had claimed a few months ago. The reason is that the medicines legislation (and not just the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971) was/is bound to set the ‘pace’ in relation to Cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs).
The relevant legislation is The Misuse of Drugs (Amendments) (Cannabis and Licence Fees) (E.W.&S) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018 No.1055), which came into force today.
A useful and comprehensive statement of the current position has been published by the MHRA, “The supply, manufacture, importation and distribution of unlicensed cannabis-based products for medicinal use in humans ‘specials’”.
A letter dated 31st Oct 2018 from the DHSC and NHS England is informative but there are two statements within it that need to be treated with discretion:
“Moving cannabis based products for medicinal use to schedule 2 will mean those [products] can be prescribed medicinally where there is an unmet clinical need”