Thank you for contacting me about medical cannabis.
I sympathise deeply with the difficult situation faced by Alfie Dingley and his family. It is only natural that parents of a child who is in pain would try to alleviate their suffering in any way possible. I know that the Policing Minister wants to explore every option and has met with Alfie's family to discuss treatments that may be accessible for him. I am aware that no decisions have yet been made and that any proposal would need to be led by senior clinicians using sufficient and rigorous evidence. Unfortunately, owing to pre-arranged Parliamentary commitments, I was unable to visit the recent drop in event.
Cannabis, in its raw form, is not recognised in the UK as having any medicinal benefits. It is therefore listed as a schedule 1 drug under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. This means that it is unlawful to produce, supply or possess raw cannabis unless it is for the purposes of research. I believe that products must be thoroughly tested in the UK to provide the necessary assurances of their efficacy, quality and safety.
On the general issue of cannabis, I support the Government's position not to take any steps towards its legalisation. There is clear scientific evidence that cannabis is a harmful drug which can damage people's mental and physical health.
I do, however, have an open mind on whether it could have beneficial medical properties if prescribed by qualified clinicians for specific cases.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.