24 Oct Legal Remedies part 4

The CLEAR Legal Remedies campaign aims to use legal action to overturn the British government’s cruel and irrational prohibition of medicinal cannabis.

The Legal Remedies campaign

Legal Remedies – A Call To Action

Legal Remedies – Opening Salvo

To join in this campaign, please follow these steps:

1. Register by sending an email to legalremedies@clear-uk.org. Include your name, email address, telephone number and the condition you treat with cannabis.

2. Approach your GP and/or specialist to seek their support. Ideally, you want a prescription for Bedrocan medicinal cannabis. However, this is unlikely. What many doctors will do is write a letter of support, at best confirming that cannabis helps with your condition(s), at least confirming that you believe it does. What you are looking for is the strongest possible written endorsement. This will be used as evidence in your application for an import licence.

3. Send the email/letter to the Home Office as set out in Legal Remedies – Opening Salvo. N.B. You do not have to have the evidence described in 2) above to send this email. Send the email now and then do your best to get written evidence from your doctor(s).

Latest Developments

The Home Office’s response to those emails/letters already sent has been deliberately to “misunderstand” the request with an entirely spurious response relating to the Schengen Agreement. Do not be disheartened by this. It is the sort of dishonest, corrupt, cruel and disgraceful behaviour that you must expect from the Home Office. The ministers and civil servants concerned want to deflect and dishearten you. They want to break your spirit and destroy your hope. You must not let them win. They are cruel, ruthless and in breach of every minsterial and civil service code of ethics, let alone any standard of human decency.

This is the response that the Home Office is issuing:

From: DLCU Comms Officer
Subject: RE: Proposed application for import licence for medicinal cannabis

Thank you for your inquiry on the possibility of importing herbal medicinal cannabis from Holland to the United Kingdom for your own use.

I am aware that this issue has arisen in the context of the UK’s obligations under Article 75 of the Schengen Agreement which took effect in 2005. This provision allows for the free movement of travellers within the Schengen member states with their prescribed narcotic and psychotropic substances that are necessary for their medical treatment, provided they have a certificate – “a Schengen certificate” – issued or authenticated by a competent authority of their state of residence.

Pursuant to Article 75, the UK recognises that a patient who is resident in another member state can travel to the UK with their narcotic and psychotropic medication. This is provided that they are resident in a country where that drug is legally prescribed and it has been prescribed by their doctor. In addition it is for medical treatment for a maximum of 30 days and that it is for personal use only. They must also hold an appropriate certification from a competent authority of their State. Of course, this is a reciprocal arrangement enabling UK residents to travel with their personal medication.

In respect of herbal cannabis, I understand that health authorities in The Netherlands and Belgium allow herbal cannabis products to be prescribed by doctors and dispensed to patients for a number of indications.

In the limited circumstances described above, a Dutch or Belgian resident will be allowed to travel to the UK with herbal cannabis products prescribed in these countries.

However, a UK resident cannot rely on the Schengen Agreement to bring prescribed herbal cannabis into the UK from The Netherlands or Belgium. This activity would be in breach of UK law, amounting to the unlawful importation and possession of a controlled drug and the UK resident would be liable to arrest and prosecution under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

You should be aware that in the UK, cannabis is controlled as a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and is listed in Schedule 1 to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 as the UK does not recognise that it has a medicinal use.

Kind regards

Sarah Muir
Drug Licensing & Compliance

This is how you should respond:

Dear Ms Muir,

Thank you for your email but it fails to address my enquiry at all.

I fully understand that a UK resident is not protected under the Schengen agreement if obtaining medicinal cannabis in Holland. My enquiry is nothing to do with this.

As I have already made clear, I wish to apply for an import licence and my application will be supported by evidence from my own UK GP and a prescription for medicinal cannabis from an EU doctor.

Will you please now deal with my questions as follows:

1. Please would you confirm that you will accept a licence application from me in good faith and that it will be considered on its own merits?
2. Will you also advise me of what fee will be payable and how long the licence will last as I will need to continue importing my medicine in necessary quantity for the forseeable future?
3. Would you also confirm whether it is it possible to obtain a full or partial remission of the licence fee as I am in receipt of disability benefits?

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, the Home Secretary is duty bound to give effect to the rational use of a licencing scheme and is entitled to make any necessary exemptions to permit this request. Please let me have your response within 14 days as time is the essence of this enquiry.

Yours faithfully,

If, which is likely, the Home Office refuses even to consider your application for an import licence, then we have an immediate cause for action by judicial review. Then and only then do we need to be able to present the evidence from your own doctor(s) and, if necessary, obtain a prescription from an EU doctor.

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