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Do UK Medical Cannabis Prescription Holders Need To Produce ID?




It should be fairly obvious that if you have a legal prescription, you shouldn't need proof that it's legal, as that's what the prescription should be doing. Unfortunately, five years after the law changed to extend cannabis prescriptions (from products such as Sativex, which was already legal), that's not the reality. In theory it is, and theory is a wonderful thing, but I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that there remains alarmingly high numbers of people who remain ignorant to the laws. Some of these people work in, manage or own public spaces and some, sadly, work for those paid to uphold the law: The Police! It beggars belief that prescription holders still get refused the right to medicate, or threatened to have their prescription confiscated, or harassed in the same ways they would be if it wasn't legal, but here we are.


Although in theory you don't need an ID, I personally decided that I wanted to protect myself as much as possible to try and avoid such issues. In my case, that was because a combination of seizures and being a wheelchair user (going outside quickly isn't an option) meant that I might need to vaporize in a hurry, in a place that isn't aware, and explain later. As a chronic fatigue sufferer too, I wanted to make it as easy as possible to explain as well. If your circumstances are different, you might find it unnecessary to take these measures, but personally, I like to know what my options are.


Firstly, I'm fortunate enough, and I'm well aware that not everyone is, to have NHS doctors who agree that cannabis is the most effective medicine for me. So I carry a copy of a letter by one of my NHS consultants stating that I'm permitted by law to carry certain types of cannabis flower and oils. Although it's wrong, I suspect that many trust NHS confirmation more than they would private.





Secondly, I decided to sign up to something called the Medicalert scheme [^1^], which costs around £36 a year. Like most people, I don't have spare cash floating around but I felt uneasy without the piece of mind. I have an inscribed bracelet (one off cost if you choose this as well as a card) that summarizes my symptoms and treatments I'm prescribed, including cannabis. I chose this scheme because it's internationally recognised, with a 24 hour nurse-led helpline should anyone be obtuse enough to want to call it. It also shows no prejudice as to how it lists my treatments, displaying NHS and private prescriptions together. I should say at this point that much as I hate to tempt fate, I've never needed to test whether this system works. I hope I don't need to.


It's recommended that patients carry their prescription cannabis in the original packaging, but I personally don't. I'll keep pictures of the dispensing labels on my phone, along with my prescription and Seed Our Future guidance, which I contributed to [^2^], outlining the legality and relevant information. With multiple health issues, I have to have numerous other aids and scripts and solutions on me in order to function (affectionately named 'The Utility Bag of Doom' by a friend). Whereas the boveda style packs are reasonably transportable, those big, chunky, environmentally damaging tubs certainly aren't. I also find it really difficult to get them open, as child-proof packaging is as big a problem for those with dexterity issues as any children, and I'd wager probably more so. I'd never take a whole script item out anyway in case the threat of confiscation did become a concern, but because of hand spasms, I have to have ground my cannabis beforehand. I realize this isn't ideal because of degradation, but none of this is ideal. I actually keep my vape pre-loaded too and my friends and family know how to help me if I need it in a hurry.


Lastly, it would be weird for me to write something of this nature without mentioning CanCard [^3^]. I've heard successes and I've heard failures, and the waters appear to have been much muddied over time as to which demographic (prescription holders or non-prescription users) it's designed to cater for. For clarity, as I stated at the start, prescription holders don't require ID and though you may for your own reasons decide that CanCard is the solution to greater peace of mind, for me as a prescription holder, integration with my other medicines feels essential, as well as a well established scheme I've more faith in. According to the law, it's medicine. It shouldn't matter whether it's cannabis or not!


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**References**


1. Medicalert (Home Page, September 2023). Medicalert (registered charity). Available online at: [https://www.medicalert.org.uk/](https://www.medicalert.org.uk/)


2. Coxall, G. and Taylor, A. (July 2022). Guidance In Relation To Medical Cannabis Users As per the Equality Act 2010. Seed Our Future Campaign. Available online at: [https://www.seedourfuture.co.uk/2022/07/03/guidance-for-medical-cannabis-users/](https://www.seedourfuture.co.uk/2022/07/03/guidance-for-medical-cannabis-users/)


3. Cancard (Home Page, September 2023). CanCard. Available online at: [https://cancard.co.uk/](https://cancard.co.uk/)


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