This is possibly the biggest development since prohibition was imposed on the UK and is really good news for lots of people who need cannabis for medical reasons. Over the past couple of weeks feedback to UKCIA has picked up considerably with people asking if it’s possible to obtain and use real cannabis – as opposed to the SATIVEX product – legally in this country. The answer it turns out is “yes”.
Two things have happened, neither all that recent. First there is the the Schenegen Agreement – the EU treaty which allows, amongst other things, for EU citizens to carry prescribed medicines anywhere in the EU. The other is Holland has legalised medical cannabis on prescription.
Article 75, sub 1 of the Schengen agreement reads:
As regards the movement of travellers to the territories of the Contracting Parties or their movement within these territories, persons may carry the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances that are necessary for their medical treatment provided that, at any check, they produce a certificate issued or authenticated by a competent authority of their State of residence.”
The introduction of the certificate according to Article 75 Schengen aims to safeguard the free movement of travellers between and within the Schengen Member States, as national legislation on the availability and control of medical products that are (partly) based on narcotic drugs and/or psychotropic substances may vary between Member States. The presence of an authenticated certificate can avoid unnecessary delays and misunderstandings.
In cases where the patients reside in a Member State that does not participate in the Schengen Agreement, such as Ireland, they are advised to ask for prior approval from the Embassy/Consulate of the Member State that will be passed through or visited.
The same is valid for travels to a Member State which does not participate in the Schengen area without international border controls.
Even though there may be no formal medical passport control in most Member States, travellers may need to justify the presence of medicines that are (partly) based on narcotic drugs and/ or psychotropic substances in their belongings when found in checks.
In cases where patients pass through or arrive in a Member State without a Schengen Medical Certificate or a prior approval note from the authorities in question, they might be subject to arrest and further criminal proceedings, depending on the legislation and legal practice as well as on the status of the medication concerned in that country.
A medical cannabis campaigner wrote to the Home Office to clarify the situation:
I am a UK domiciled person and I understand that I can legally import herbal medicinal cannabis from the Netherlands if I am in receipt of a prescription from a Dutch Doctor.
I understand that I would require a personal license if I possessed more than 3 months supply
Can you please confirm that if I return from Holland in possession of less than 3 months supply of herbal cannabis and I possess a letter from the prescribing Doctor stating
My date of birth
Dates of travel
The quantity of cannabis, the dosage and total amount
What it is prescribed for
Then I will be legally in possession of prescribed cannabis in the UK
The reply is quite clear
Apologies for the delay in responding to your enquiry.
Your understanding, outlined below, concerning importation to the UK of a controlled drug for personal use is correct.
Drug Licensing & Compliance
Drug Strategy Unit
4th Floor Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
(original mail attached)
Home Office information here
So you need a Dutch doctor to agree to prescribe the cannabis then you go to Holland and get some, There is a Facebook page all about it here. Cannabis obtained this way is 100% legal and you can use it anywhere you like without fear of prosecution. Going through this mill might take a bit of organising but it’s not impossible and once arranged you can bring up to three months supply back with you and you don’t even have to declare it at customs.
The Dutch government has licensed a company to provide the legal medical cannabis, you can see the details including how much it costs here. There are three strains available and it is real cannabis – ie buds of herbal cannabis and not the expensive product manufactured by GW pharms.
Edit Thursday 30th 11.00am
I’ve been asked to ammend the blog slightly. Advice which had been included at this point to the effect that anyone who has been refused SATIVEX should take this route now is best advised to hang on for a little while. Don’t dive in and put yourself at possibly an unknown risk just yet. Without giving anything away, watch this space for news.
The UK government has been keeping this very quiet but the secret is out now and will be hitting the media pretty soon, more about that later.