Tuesday 02 May 2017
At its meeting tomorrow, the Committee for Health & Social Care will consider making changes to the Misuse of Drugs legislation to recognise the medicinal benefits of cannabinoids.
If supported, the Committee will seek to formally consult with the Committee for Home Affairs, Committee for Employment & Social Security and the Law Officers.
Deputy Heidi Soulsby, President of the Committee for Health & Social Care, confirmed the discussions following a statement made by Senator Green, the Minister for Health and Social Services, in Jersey's Assembly earlier today.
'By way of background, I have been working closely with Senator Green in order to develop a pan-Channel Island approach to removing the legal barriers preventing the medicinal use of specific cannabis-based products.
Both Senator Green and I have recently been advised by our respective technical and clinical advisory groups that there is now authoritative clinical and scientific evidence that establishes certain cannabis-based medicinal products can bring benefit to some medical conditions. The medical benefits were identified in "The Barnes Report - Cannabis: the Evidence for Medical Use" which was considered by the all-party parliamentary group on drug reform in September last year.'
Deputy Soulsby said she was working with Senator Green to investigate ways in which certain defined cannabis-based products could be prescribed by medical practitioners to help treat conditions where there are clinically proven benefits.
But she stressed the moves would not legalise cannabis.
'What we are investigating would require a change to legislation but will not legalise cannabis or any of its derivatives which will remain controlled drugs. It is important to make clear that it will still be illegal to use, grow, supply or import cannabis or any derived product thereof for recreational or self-medication purposes.
Work is ongoing to identify what specific medicinal cannabinoid products could be made available through prescription and how they could be sourced, as countries such as the UK and France have yet to legalise them for medicinal use. It follows that even with a prescription it would be illegal to travel to, or through, these jurisdictions with a medicinal cannabinoid.'
The Committee for Health & Social Care has given a commitment to keep under close review any authoritative clinical and scientific evidence that identifies the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
'The action we are undertaking in close consultation with colleagues in Jersey shows how we are seeking to respond to the latest evidence to enable medical practitioners to prescribe licensed pharmaceutical medication containing cannabinoids that may benefit the treatment of certain medical conditions. Their use will be restricted in the same way as any other controlled drugs that have a medicinal application such as diamorphine (heroin) through a licensing regime administered by qualified medical professionals and pharmacists.'