Medicinal cannabis to be available from off-island doctors

ISLANDERS will be able to legally obtain a medicinal cannabis prescription from a UK doctor and have it imported into the Bailiwick, once changes to the law are made by Health and Social Care.

Bailiwick residents will be able to seek a prescription for medical cannabis off-island and have it imported, following changes to the law being proposed by Health and Social Care.
Bailiwick residents will be able to seek a prescription for medical cannabis off-island and have it imported, following changes to the law being proposed by Health and Social Care.

HSC said that although it is already legal for authorised specialists to prescribe medicinal herbal cannabis, in defined circumstances, no local doctors on the UK Specialist Register have approached the committee about doing so.

'The current arrangements are reliant on local doctors feeling able and willing to prescribe such products and being appropriately qualified to do so,' said the committee. 'There are many reasons why a doctor may feel ill-equipped to do so based on their professional experience and expertise.

'Having been made aware of this practical barrier, HSC is actively progressing further legislative changes which will enable islanders to privately access care through off-island clinics, with the potential for support from on-island clinicians, and for prescribed cannabis products to be lawfully imported into the Bailiwick.'

HSC said the same safeguards from the original law, approved in 2019, will be retained, to ensure the products islanders' obtain are high-quality while at the same time addressing the 'operational challenges' that arose from the legal changes.

A licence will be issued by HSC to enable the importation and supply of cannabis-based medicinal products even if it is not prescribed by a locally-registered specialist and does not have a marketing authorisation from the European Medicines Agency or the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency.

HSC is treating this as a priority and it is hoped that the changes will be made within the next month. There will be no need for the matter to be brought back before the States.

'It’s one thing to make a change in the legal status, which we were pleased to be able to do last year, and another to make medicinal cannabis practically accessible,' said HSC president Heidi Soulsy.

'There are limits in how much we can influence that as a government, as it is rightly a matter for individual doctors to decide what they feel is best for their patients, in line with their professional expertise.

'However, this further change we’re announcing today means islanders will be able to access UK doctors with experience in this area and, where appropriate, get a legal prescription for cannabis products and access to the products themselves.'

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