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Community / Wishart seeks clarity on guidance for medical cannabis patients

SCOTLAND’S justice secretary is to write to Police Scotland seeking clarity on the guidance for legal medical cannabis prescriptions sent through the post.

Earlier this month local police returned medicinal cannabis to Lerwick man Liam Lewis after initially confiscating it claiming he had been unable to provide satisfactory evidence that his medication had been legally prescribed. 

Liam Lewis: ‘A whole load of stress that could easily have been sorted’. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

The 28 year old was left “distraught” having felt he had no alternative but to accept a recorded police warning and was without his medication for a time before providing paperwork and having it returned. 

He described it as “a whole load of stress that could easily have been sorted”. After having the medicine returned, Lewis has now had his warning rescinded.

On the back of that case, Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart questioned justice minister Keith Brown as to whether a scheme was being developed to assist patients to avoid warnings, fines or other criminal footprints. She pointed to the already established “Cancard” scheme.

Brown told Wishart that while the government did not support that particular scheme, he did believe further clarity for cannabis patients might be required. Brown undertook to write to Police Scotland asking if it would share advice and guidance for legal prescriptions sent through Royal Mail. 

Speaking following the exchange, Liberal Democrat MSP Wishart said she was “grateful” for that undertaking.

“Patients should not fear criminal footprints and negative interactions simply because of the medicine they are prescribed,” she said. “Clear guidance, expectations and schemes like Cancard could help reduce fear and negative outcomes for patients.

“There is still a difference between legal and illegal cannabis and Dogs Against Drugs, alongside Police Scotland, do a great job in preventing banned substances from being imported into Shetland.”

In response, a Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Following enquiries the correct documentation was provided proving legal possession and the prescription was returned.”

Shetland News raised a number of points with Police Scotland including: whether it intended to apologise to Lewis, whether it felt the case was handled correctly, whether it is taking any steps to improve the way such cases are handled and whether it could offer reassurances to other medical cannabis patients.

A Police Scotland spokesperson responded: “We have nothing further to add to the statement we have provided.”