‘Get Out of Jail’ Cannabis Card Now Held By 17,000 in the UK – VICE UK

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A cannabis card scheme which permits people who use the drug to prevent arrest is now used by over 17,380 individuals across the united kingdom. 

The Cancard, which has been backed by police chiefs, allows patients that are qualified for a medical cannabis prescription to identify themselves to police officers who may otherwise arrest them.

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With access to authorized medical cannabis still mostly unavailable on the NHS — yet available through pricey private healthcare suppliers — individuals needing medicinal cannabis who cannot afford prescriptions are purchasing it illegally.

Following the UK legalised potentially life-saving medical cannabis from 2018, resistance from the medical establishment stymied accessibility via the health support. This left some police officers in the unenviable position of feeling as they might have to punish patients for utilizing unlicensed cannabis with no prescription since they could not easily ascertain whether they’ve been using it for health reasons.

Cancard, based on clinical cannabis campaigner and patient Carly Barton, aimed to help cure this situation. Initial figures from the scheme, launched three months ago, showed that for 94 percent of individuals stopped together with the card, it led to no further action or simply confiscation of drugs. Individuals may simply get the card after a health consultation with a health care practitioner.

“I had been approached by an officer who asked me exactly that I had been vaping,” said one Cancard user with MS.”I had been really anxious however I explained everything and showed him my card. He said he understood about the card hadn’t seen one yet and he enjoyed the style of it. He wished me well and said I shouldn’t be so stressed and the police were there to provide help.”

DCI Jason Kew, Thames Valley police medication direct, said that both avoiding arresting people for minor drug offences and facilitating community resolutions were a vital elements in turning previously incriminating experiences with officers into positive health outcomes. 

“Policing sometimes finds itself having to innovate, like in this situation when confronted with a social inequality,” he told VICE World News.

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“The fact that so many of these stops have been favorably resolved — and the patients have had their faith in policing fortified — demonstrates how important it’s to give police officers all the information they require on the street to do their job fairly and economically, something Cancard can help to do.”

Barton, who uses cannabis to handle fibromyalgia, a long term condition that causes pain all over the body, said exceptionally vulnerable individuals had been”living in fear of the very people employed to protect them” for years, but indicated their terror in seeing officers had been starting to erode. 

“I need to commend the police for the work they’ve done in helping relieve some of their stress that those patients undergo in taking a medication that keeps them well,” she explained. “This is true neighborhood policing and the team at Cancard hopes that we are able to continue to offer a safe space for patients until more honest accessibility is situated in the united kingdom.”

The National Police Chiefs Council drugs direct Jason Harwin, deputy chief constable of Lincolnshire induce, sent out a bulletin providing coaching for its strategy, which can be backed by the Police Federation. 

Cancard said it’s been contacted by over 20 forces that asked further support by using their training packages to provide more detailed briefings to their own officers. 

“Whilst it will not offer the person a legal right to get illegal cannabis it does help officers understand better the people situation and make a proportionate and educated choice concerning the police answer,” explained Harwin.

Crossbench peer Baroness Molly Meacher said:”The regulations require reform to enable patients to get cannabis to the NHS. Meanwhile, the police are doing a superb job in not arresting sick men and women that are self indulgent and also rescue the NHS money.” 

In 2019, a major survey suggested that nearly three percent of the adult population, 1.4 million individuals, were using cannabis for a medical illness.

Source: https://www.vice.com/en/article/akdb5j/get-out-of-jail-cannabis-card-now-held-by-17000-in-the-uk

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