Scottish Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs calls for medicinal cannabis review

Written by Tom Freeman on 20 February 2018 in News

Miles Briggs calls for UK-wide medicinal cannabis review in the wake of Alfie Dingley case

Cannabis - credit arachnized

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs has written to Home Secretary Amber Rudd calling for a UK-wide review of the use of medicinal cannabis.

The call comes after the Home Office denied the drug to six-year-old Alfie Dingley from Warwickshire, despite advice from his doctor that cannabis oil would treat his rare form of epilepsy.

Alfie was taken to the Netherlands last year for the treatment, which saw a reduction in the severity and frequency of his seizures.

After an appeal the Home Office said the as a Schedule 1 drug, cannabis “cannot be practically prescribed, administered, or supplied to the public in the UK, and can only be used for research under a Home Office licence.”

In his letter to Rudd, Briggs said he had conducted “several meetings with interested stakeholders on the subject of medicinal cannabis since my election as an MSP in 2016”.

He added: “I personally believe it is time for a comprehensive, UK wide review on this matter and for Parliament to look to reform access to cannabis for medical and scientific purposes.

“I wonder if you would be willing to work with UK government colleagues and arrange for a cross-party summit which could discuss potential reforms and assess the most recent clinical and scientific evidence?

“I believe there is significant public support for such a debate being had and for all the evidence being considered.”

Although health policy is devolved to the Scottish Government, drugs policy is reserved to Westminster.

Apart from the Greens and Liberal Democrats, who support the decriminalisation of cannabis, the main parties in Scotland have yet to commit to a policy on medicinal cannabis.

However at SNP conference last year, delegates overwhelmingly backed a motion in favour of decriminalisation of cannabis for medical use. 

Some Multiple Sclerosis patients can currently access medicinal cannabis, but only privately at great cost.

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