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United Kingdom Approves Medical Marijuana



Good news as certain doctors in the United Kingdom will now be able to legally prescribe medicinal marijuana starting later this year, after the British government announced relaxed the laws surrounding the plant on Thursday.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid stated that patients with drug-resistant conditions will be allowed treatment with cannabis-derived medicinal products, revealing that the drug would be reclassified from schedule one to schedule two. Just like the U.S. federal government, the British government previously classified marijuana alongside heroin and LSD. But with studies & research the new classification in the U.K. recognizes that cannabis has medicinal value in some instances.

“This will help patients with an exceptional clinical need,” the secretary said, but insisted that the decision in “no way” should be seen as “a first step” toward legal recreational marijuana.

Many campaigners and activists welcomed the government’s decision. Former Justice Minister Sir Mike Penning also welcomed the announcement, but pointed out that there are still many unanswered questions the government must address about rescheduling marijuana.

“Any move to restrict medical cannabis in the UK to a very narrow range of derived products, each requiring full pharmaceutical trials, thereby blocking out the many products available overseas, will lead to great disappointment and be a missed opportunity,” Penning told the British broadcaster.

Billy Caldwell and his mother Charlotte pictured as they return to Belfast on July 5 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Billy Caldwell, who is severely epileptic, had been receiving treatment in London for his condition and had been denied the use of cannabis oil. CHARLES MCQUILLAN/GETTY IMAGES

The  decision followed a high-profile campaign surrounding the case of a 13-year-old boy named Billy Caldwell. The young boy has a rare form of epilepsy and was granted a special license to use medical marijuana, which helps him control his seizures, by Northern Ireland’s Department of Health earlier this month.

Despite the landmark decision, using or selling marijuana for recreational use will still remain a serious criminal offense in the country. Possession of the plant and its derivatives will continue to carry an unlimited fine as well as up to five years in jail, according to the British news site. Dealers will face up to 14 years in prison.

Source : Newsweek