Hemel MP hails medicinal cannabis legalisation as ‘momentous’

Hemel Hempstead MP Sir Mike Penning
Hemel Hempstead MP Sir Mike Penning

Sir Mike Penning MP has celebrated the legalisation of some cannabis-based products for medicinal use as ‘momentous’.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced today that new regulations will come into force on November 1.

The rule change follows several high-profile cases, including young epilepsy sufferers Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell, whose conditions appeared to be improved by cannabis-based oil.

Sir Mike, who co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Prescribed Use of Medical Cannabis, told the Gazette: “I commend the Home Secretary for taking these bold and decisive steps. It has reversed decades of backward thinking on this important issue by successive governments.

“There is still much detailed work to be done. Since the high-profile cases of the summer involving the young children with epilepsy there has been a very disappointing reaction from a large number of consultants and health Trusts, with many refusing to even submit applications to the interim medical cannabis expert panel.

“I have constituents who have contacted me desperate for access to these drugs and now there is no legal barrier preventing their consultants from prescribing them.

“Today’s announcement puts the ball now firmly in the court of the health professionals and health authorities to approach this new and exciting field of UK medicine with an open mind.

“The government has given a bold and decisive lead. The APPG group is offering to work with the Department for Health & Social Care, the Royal Colleges and any other relevant organisations to make sure that all patients that can benefit from this new development can do so.”