Prescription delays a good reason for patients home grow rights

clinic complaint

Medical cannabis patients are complaining on social media about long delivery times. Tired of the long waits and a lack of transparency, they ask, “when will I finally get the medication I have paid for”? Patients have been waiting for over three weeks for their regular monthly prescription to arrive. They will have already had to pay for the next month’s medication by this point too. In a cost of living crisis, it is leaving patients without finances to even turn to the dealers and cannabis clubs they have left behind. Should they be able to grow at home?

Patients registered with a cannabis clinic are the most vulnerable patients and usually suffer with debilitating conditions and chronic pain. They depend on legal prescription cannabis to have a good quality of life and without the anxiety of being arrested. If you grow at home illegally, it doesn’t help with that. In these circumstances, playing ball with the legal system isn’t providing patients with the sustainable healthcare they were marketed by the legal clinics upon signing up.

Who can blame patients for wanting to be completely legal now there is an option for them to be? This is what we campaigned for. There has, however, been a continuation of problems throughout the five years of medical cannabis that are due to human error, lack of education, seemingly unnecessary bureaucracy, capitalist greed and the wrong people being at the helm of the industry steering it in a for-profit direction.

We’ve seemingly shifted cannabis patients from one set of criminal vultures to the legal sharks. I know not everyone in the cannabis industry is trying to maximise profits at the expense of patients, but I have heard some very disturbing things said about patients in the legal space that make me question some CEOs intentions. Some things have improved and made the prescription cannabis service better than it was when it first rolled out. But there are still huge holes in the system, and leaving patients without their prescription for a month comes at the top of the list. We will leave the quality for another article. 

Industry insight

I have worked in the legal cannabis industry and inside the procurement process. The majority of cannabis that is prescribed by clinics is imported from outside the UK. Some of those countries are Germany, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Portugal, New Zealand just to name a few. Import letters requesting enough cannabis for X many patients for 3 need to be submitted in a very timely way on a very regular basis. It takes up to a month for the request to be processed by the Home Office. Failure to do this will disrupt the whole import process and cause gaps in the supply chain.

Writing more prescriptions for the same products you already have access to but not refilling them quick enough lets down the patients who have already been promised they would be guaranteed it when they paid large amounts to sign up to the service. Anyone running a private member cannabis social club who grows to order knows this.  When patients grow their own at home, they know what their crop schedule is, with no lengthy import process. German patients rejoiced on April 1st after the law changed, allowing them (and all adults) to grow up to 3 plants at home.

Now, I know this isn’t the case for all patients, but I have been approached by too many patients who are at the end of their tether and want to know about the legality of patients growing their own. Sadly, I have to tell them that they are putting themselves at risk of being caught by the police and facing a judge in court. The number of plants you could grow before it opened the door for a custodial sentence was previously 9 plants between 2010-2020, but this was reduced to 7 plants by the Sentencing Council recently. Have plenty but face arrest or don’t have enough and be legal. 

The question on every patient’s lips

It does beg to ask, what is the solution to patients being left without their medication? If the government does not want patients buying unregulated cannabis that has potentially been adulterated and funds criminal organisations, isn’t letting them grow their own if they wish and are able to find a pragmatic solution? The only reason cannabis is legal as a medicine now is because for the last 50 years people have been growing their own cannabis for medical use with much success. UK research shows patients are not suffering with the tabloid fears of psychosis that the public are warned about. With a little education, anyone can grow their own high quality cannabis at home safely – and for a fraction of the price that the clinics are charging. There is no limit on the THC UK clinics offer patients, and CBD products are in low demand.

But maybe that’s the problem, the clinics wouldn’t have much profit to keep them floating on even if 50% of patients grew their own. Industry meetings usually brainstorm ideas on how to get more people to convert to the legal market. The UK home-grown market is booming, and it is no secret that it is hard to compete with quality wise. 

So with all of this in mind, if legislation is meant to be in the best interest of the patients, we need to let the patients grow their own or have a caregiver grow it for them. It’s time the Cannabis Industry Council seriously backed this motion. 

Patient protest goes unsupported

MedBud.Wiki did run a Government Petition for prescribed patient’s right to grow which reached 12,648 signatures and got a standard government response, “Cannabis cannot be cultivated except under a Home Office licence. The Home Office does not grant licences to grow cannabis for personal consumption, and there are no plans to introduce this”. The industry leaders need to give patients the confidence that the industry must work for everyone, not just the businesses seeking to profit. 

Read more about UK cannabis law to brush up your knowledge. 

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