The good news … The criteria is set by patients and growing based on medical research rather than politics. The bad news… The police still using their discretion as nothing is changing in law.
Read on to find out about Cancard and MedicannID, two new cards launching in 2020 for medical cannabis patients in the UK.
Yesterday I did a Livestream on the topic of two cannabis cards which have recently been announced in the UK that are intending to give recognition to 1.3 million medical cannabis patients.
Setting the scene
Back in November 2018, the then Home Secretary Sajid Javid relaxed the laws around CBPMS (Cannabis-based products for medical use in humans) so they can be prescribed via a private prescription.
This led to various clinics and ways to get medical cannabis if people can afford to pay for the prescription and the consultation each month (the price has been coming down but started around £700 per oz).
Then the NICE guidelines came out in 2019 which discussed medical cannabis for the first time, but with some big restrictions on what it is recommended to treat. For example, chronic pain was not a condition cannabis is recommended to treat on the NHS in these guidelines.
Now, in September 2020, two new cannabis cards have been announced which have been designed for patients who wish to show their legitimacy for accessing medical cannabis if they are stopped by the police, or for other reasons where they may be needed.
It should be noted that the actual laws surrounding cannabis are not changing at this point. The cards implore police officers to use their discretion when dealing with cannabis patients who produce them, but this is not a protection in law.
Below I will discuss the cards in more detail based on what I know so far:
Launching 1st November, Cancard is open for anybody with a listed medical condition to apply, but with some criteria.
Their website states “Cancard was designed by Carly Barton to address the above in collaboration with senior police, MPs, doctors, researchers and a supporting legal team.”
To get a Cancard, patients must have been to their GP about an approved condititon and been prescribed at least two medications that didn’t work.
Once they fit this criteria, their GP can sign a letter which allows them to access the Cancard.
The Cancard can be shown if stopped by the police with cannabis to show medical patient status.
Due to this card being backed by senior organisations and having been developed in discussion with police forces (amongst other stakeholders) guidance is being issued to police to use their discretion when the card is shown. This does not mean they have to, but it does mean that the case would likely be dropped by the CPS if they chose to arrest when the card was shown.
The Cancard costs a fee for applicants which is currently not disclosed, but they have stated on the website that it will be free to those who cannot afford to pay. The card looks like this:
It launches 1st November, and you can register here.
MedCannID is a photo ID card for patients who already have a prescription for medical cannabis, designed by the first company to get a patient a UK medical cannabis prescription.
This card aims to give legitimacy to medical cannabis patients who wish to show they have a prescription for cannabis if questioned about it.
To qualify for a MedCannID card, you must already be prescribed cannabis (at this time an option only available via a private clinic, unless abroad).
Currently, MedCannID is a pilot scheme, the website states that “Anyone with a valid UK cannabis prescription can sign up to receive the medical cannabis ID card to prove your legal patient status.”
As well as a holographic Photo ID Card, the MedCannID comes with an App which stores Patient medical data.
Other benefits of MedCannID in addition to dealing with interactions with law enforcement are that medical personnel can be notified of a patient’s cannabinoid intake should they be admitted to hospital, and patients can also quickly prove medical status in places such as public transport, or customs.
The MedCannID Card is free for patients with a valid prescription, renewed every year and looks like this:
Patients can sign-up here on the MedCannID website, where they can upload their prescription to get the card when it launches.
Which card is right for me?
It depends on your status – if you already have a prescription for medical cannabis, the MedCannID is free, renewed every year and everything you need to prove patient legitimacy.
However, if you do not have a prescription for medical cannabis, cannot afford one (or do not wish to go down the private route, for whatever reason) but have a condition you know cannabis helps with, then the Cancard is the appropriate option to show medical patient status.
Both cards do not provide medical cannabis, which will still be sourced illegally for Cancard holders, or on private prescription for MedCannID holders at a cost each issue.
Medical patients with an existing prescription could in theory get both cards, but this would not give any extra perceived benefits than one or the other in my opinion.
Both Cancard and MedCannID were the subjects of my latest Livestream, where I gave my thoughts on cannabis cards, UK legalisation and these campaigns:
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Drew Gilchrist, a cannabis YouTuber has filmed a video all about Cancard which you can watch below:
Simpa Carter has also discussed the Cancard and MedCannID in a Livestream recently, recorded here: