The UK’s first medical marijuana prescription has been filled and will reportedly cost the patient £2,500 for a three-month cannabis supply.
UK’s Medical Marijuana Prescription
Medical marijuana became legal in the UK on November 1st. The move was, at first, celebrated. However, the system in place is greatly flawed.
The Government-funded National Health Service (NHS) will not pay for the drug, and the result is that patients must go down the private route to access it. This means sourcing a private doctor to get a prescription, from which the Government must authorize a specialist importer to get a specific cannabis drug. In this case, it is coming from Bedrocan in the Netherlands.
All in all, the process is costly and time-consuming, and it alienates those who need medical marijuana the most.
Many people consider the new law “botched.” NHS doctors are so constrained by interim guidelines that it is nearly impossible for them to prescribe the drug. “Some have even resorted to putting up posters telling patients not to ask for it.”
Doctors in the UK must take responsibility for a patient’s well-being or reaction to the prescribed marijuana. The suggestion is that if someone reacts poorly to the medicine, then a doctor’s license can be hit hard. What doctor would want to write up a medical marijuana prescription with that risk?
The UK’s first recipient of a medical marijuana prescription is paying out £2,500 of her own savings to procure the treatment. A sufferer of fibromyalgia, Ms. Barton is hoping that her story will resonate enough to have the law amended so that people who need the treatment can access it. In a Facebook video, she said:
“[The doctor’s] given me a three month supply that’s going to cost me £2,500. I’m going to blow all of my savings on this initial prescription, and after this three-months is up I’m going to have to go back to being a criminal, breaking the law.”
Ms. Barton is hoping an NHS doctor will give her a repeat medical marijuana prescription despite all the hoops that will have to be jumped through. If not, she will end up getting the drug illegally on the streets once again, in a country where medical marijuana is now supposed to be legal.
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