Police chiefs back ‘cannabis card’ which will decriminalise drug for millions
Police have backed a new system of "cannabis cards" for medicinal users which would effectively decriminalise the drug.
Around 3.5 million Brits with health conditions would be allowed to use the card, according to reports on the proposals in The Times.
Cancer patients, depression sufferers and people with epilepsy would be eligible to use and as they would be a "registered medicinal cannabis patient".
Currently, users can be slapped with a fine or even a five-year prison sentence for buying cannabis from drug dealers.
Medical cannabis has been legal in Britain for nearly two years but only a handful of people are eligible under the NHS prescription.
Less than 100 people are thought to have been given the prescription since the law changed in 2019.
Doctors are able to prescribe marijuana but the decision must be made by a specialist, not a routine GP.
Reports indicate that more than a million people use the drug illegally to self-medicate.
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And according to The Times, the new proposals are being backed by police chiefs.
It would mean police can avoid arrests over the drug.
This plan is being backed by the Police Federation of England and Wales, and the National Police Chiefs Council is working with organisers of the card on its design.
The cannabis card also referred to as CanCard, is set to be introduced in a private scheme in November and will be a boost to people who need medical cannabis but cannot afford a prescription.
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It will also mean the police will be able to avoid arrests in the future.
Simon Kempton, of the Police Federation, told the Times: "Our members didn't join the police to lock up these people.
"This is an initiative that I support, for a number of reasons. Primarily it gives officers information on which to base their decision-making around whether or not to use discretion or to arrest a member of the public."
Jason Harwin, from the police council, added: "This is a real live issue, where the police service finds itself stuck in the middle of a situation where individuals should legitimately be able to access their prescribed medication but because of availability and cost they can't and therefore to address their illness rely on having to use illicit cannabis.
"The card isn't a get out of jail free card… it does not give holders the right to carry illicit drugs. It's a flag to us that the person should be accessing medication."
There are concerns that the cannabis card, funded by the medical cannabis industry, could be taken advantage of by organised crime gangs.
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