10 Nov Access Medicinal Cannabis. Stage 3
How to access legal medicinal cannabis in the UK, step by step, stage by stage.
Bedrocan Growing Facility
This is the third in a series of articles that sets out, in detail, our best knowledge to date of how to access legal medicinal cannabis.
The law against the medicinal use of cannabis is cruel, irrational and has no basis in any evidence. It must be overturned and the only effective way to do that is through due process. All forms of protest have been shown to be ineffective. The only way to defeat this policy is to seize control of it and force change.
We have learned from research, from consulting with lawyers, doctors and scientists but most of all from experience. What we explain is current best practice. This is your best chance if you need access to medicinal cannabis now.
The steps involved in this process are really very simple:
1. Obtain prescription from UK doctor.
2. Apply for personal import licence.
3. Make arrangements with a Dutch or Belgian pharmacy.
4. Collect medicine and declare at customs with supporting documents
Of course, each stage is a minefield and depends on the individual. Each case really needs individual guidance which is available from CLEAR for those prepared to invest the considerable time, effort and financial risk which is involved.
This advice and guidance is, of course, offered entirely at your own risk. You must make your own assessment of the risks involved. We believe the worst that can happen is that you lose your medicine and the cost of the trip – but that is our opinion, you have to choose to take the risk yourself.
Once you have a prescription for a Bedrocan product from a UK doctor we recommend that you apply for a personal import licence as outlined in Stage 2. However, once you have your prescription you can immediately make arrangements with a Dutch or Belgian pharmacy.
The latest information we have is that Belgian pharmacies may not dispense Bedrocan. There does not appear to be any legal reason for this. If you prefer to travel to Belgium, try contacting some pharmacies and please let us know your experience. In Holland, any pharmacy should be able to order your prescription from Bedrocan for delivery in a couple of days, exactly as is the case in the UK for medicines not in stock
In practice you’ll probably have to phone around. Our experience is that the way you approach the pharmacy is important. Confidence is key. Telephone, ask to speak to the pharmacist, set out exactly what you want and how you will meet his/her requirements.
For example (change quantities/periods as necessary and use the correct Bedrocan product name):
1. You have a prescription from your doctor in the UK for 100 grams of Bediol.
2. You would like to order the prescription in advance and call to collect it when you are in Holland in a week’s time.
3. Email a scan or fax a copy of the prescription and ask the pharmacist to check it is OK. Usually quantities must be written in words as well as numbers and may have to be printed, not handwritten. Just ask what needs doing and if it means going back to your doctor that is what you’ll have to do.
4. Ask whether you should ask your doctor to fax or email a copy of the prescription direct to the pharmacist as confirmation.
So far we have found pharmacies in Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Groningen which have filled UK prescriptions. We have a report, not yet confirmed, that one pharmacy is prepared to fill future prescriptions by post or carrier delivery.
When you collect your prescription it is important to keep your receipt and all documents provided. You may be given what is called a ‘medical passport’. This appears to be little more than a leaflet but keep it and show it if asked to produce your documents. Make sure you keep a copy of the original prescription. You may also be given a form which entitles you to apply to your local health authority in your home state (presumably now your CCG) to recover the cost your medicine. This is a line we are still following up.
There have been suggestions that it is necessary to have an export licence from the Dutch Bureau voor Medicinale Cannabis to take Bedrocan out of Holland but none of the pharmacies we have reports on have mentioned it. We also know from Bedrocan itself that it is sending consignments across Europe on a daily basis. This could be regarded as trafficking under the UN Single Convention on Narcotics 1961 but is apparently not.
For obvious reasons, we are not publicly identifying those pharmacies which have helped CLEAR members. Our first ‘repeat prescription’ was filled this week. We are aware of one UK pharmacy that is considering whether it can order in Bedrocan to dispense against a UK prescription.
We will update this information as we are able.