As of this week, those with certain health conditions in the U.K. will be able to apply for Cancard, a cannabis card that will make sure patients don’t get arrested for having cannabis medicine on their person.
The idea is to make sure that no one who needs cannabis medicinally has to be worried about the law, even if their medical card is expired. Those behind the card estimate that over 1 million people could be eligible for the card by 2021.
Currently, qualified conditions range from anxiety, nausea from chemotherapy, appetite loss, depression, pain, ADHD, and even gastrointestinal issues like Crohn’s disease and neurological problems like cerebral palsy. So far, the card has been approved by the Police Federation, the National Police Chiefs Council, the Police Foundation, and the Drug Expert Witness Board.
The Story Behind The Card
Innovated by Carly Barton a chronic pain survivor with seizures who uses and advocates for medical cannabis, the card will be on the radar of police forces across the nation, to ensure that, as long as the card is honored, no one has to worry about the law as long as they are a certified medical patient.
Barton said about Cancard, “We all know that cases, where patients have proved legitimate medicinal use, are unlikely to make it to court, and if they do these cases are consistently dropped. This is especially the case when a patient presents with a condition that is being privately prescribed for. There is currently no way of identifying these people before emotional distress has been caused, and public resources have been wasted.”
“There is an opportunity to provide something that changes this by way of providing a service that benefits both the patients and the police,” she added. “Cancard should give patients peace of mind and police confidence in using their discretion before any stress has been caused to vulnerable people. Without a law change, we have national guidance and discretion with which to build a solution, both of which are huge parts of the design of Cancard. Having the police on-board with the design and implementation of this has been essential to make this a plausible project.”
Patients will be able to scan cards on their phones in order to confirm to police that they are in fact eligible to possess medical cannabis. They will also be able to use the information on their phone for resources related to their medical conditions.
In order to get a card, patients must go through an application process much like applying for a passport. They will also need to include a summary of care from their GP as evidence of their medical condition or conditions. Once approved, they can use an app to manage their card or pull up their information if stopped by authorities.
While this process has just been launched, and it is not yet clear if all law enforcement will get on board right away, the implications are very exciting, and move the U.K. closer to a viable medical cannabis future.