Sajid Javid, UK Home Secretary, has announced plans to review the UK's current medical marijuana regulations. The decision comes days after a landmark move in which an epileptic child was granted a license to access cannabis oil.
The UK government will be following a two-part review of the country's current medical marijuana laws. The first will "consider the evidence available for the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of cannabis-based medicines" and is being led by the UK's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sally Davies. The second will be directed by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, and will report on the potential "harms and public health needs". Javid says the findings of these investigations could lead to big changes in the way cannabis law is structured in the UK.
"If the review finds there are significant medical benefits, then we will reschedule [change the drug's legal status]," Javid told Sky News.
Javid has largely been motivated to review the UK's cannabis legislation by the stories of Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley, two young boys who suffer from severe forms of epilepsy and have found relief in cannabis-based treatments. Javid says he sympathizes with the boys' parents.
"As a father, I know there is nothing worse than seeing your child suffer."
Former Tory leader and foreign secretary Lord William Hague has also come out in support of changes to the UK's cannabis laws. He has argued the current regime is "inappropriate, ineffective and utterly out of date," and has called for a rescheduling of the drug and legalization for recreational purposes.
Javid, however, is not prepared to move the needle that far. His focus right now, he says, is on medical access for patients that need it.
"We have seen in recent months that there is a pressing need to allow those who might benefit from cannabis-based medicines to access them."