GPs to prescribe medical cannabis in Jersey

cannabisImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Deputy Montfort Tadier said GPs were already allowed to prescribe "much stronger, dangerous and addictive medicines"

Patients in Jersey will be able to get medical cannabis from all doctors after politicians voted to change the law.

Deputy Montfort Tadier, who proposed the move, said GPs should be allowed to prescribe pre-approved products to patients.

In the UK only specialist doctors are allowed to issue similar treatments.

Consultant neurologist Prof Mike Barnes said the mainland should follow the changes, as cannabis expertise was "rare" among medical professionals.

A report written by Mr Barnes in 2016 on the use of medical cannabis was previously cited by Jersey's government when reviewing its drug laws.

He welcomed the decision, but said he was "concerned" by the current stance in the UK that only specialists were allowed to prescribe.

"It is cannabis expertise that is required and not disease specific expertise," he said.

"I cannot see a logic in restricting prescriptions to hospital consultants, which narrows the pool of expertise, particularly in Jersey."

What did the proposals say?

Media caption,
Cannabis-derived medicines: What you need to know

Deputy Tadier put the plans forward in five sections.

The first four outlined that all medical professionals with the right to prescribe should be permitted to prescribe:

  • Cannabis
  • Cannabis-derivatives
  • Individual Cannabinoids
  • Pharmaceutically created cannabis derived products, including dronabinol, epidiolex, nabilone and sativex

The final section called on the island's health minister to bring in changes to the law to allow the plans to come into force by 28 February 2019.

Currently Sativex, a brand of the drug Nabiximols, is the only cannabis-derived medicine prescribed in Jersey.

But Deputy Tadier said the process patients had to go through to be considered for the drug was "a long and arduous one".

Following the debate he said: "We seem to have a states assembly that's relatively open minded... it's a positive step for the island and it means we're leading the way in the British Isles on this subject."

The plans were opposed by the island's Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, who wanted to take "a cautious, step by step approach" to the use of medical cannabis.

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