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Online survey into the development of a model legal framework for a cannabis market in the United Kingdom

James, Edward, Westwell, Andrew, Pascoe, Michael and Smith, Andrew 2021. Online survey into the development of a model legal framework for a cannabis market in the United Kingdom. Drug Science, Policy and Law 7 10.1177/20503245211034931

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Abstract

Background Despite rescheduling of cannabis to Schedule 2 and amendments to the law permitting legal availability of cannabis for the treatment of medical conditions, access to cannabis for medical use remains challenging for patients in the United Kingdom (UK). Recreational use is widespread despite laws stating users can be sentenced to prison for up to 5 years for possession. Objective The aim of the study was to develop a model for a legal cannabis market in the UK building upon the results of a preceding study in which a UK population sample determined that pharmacies are the most suitable primary legal vendor of cannabis as opposed to regulated shops or the black market. Methods An online survey was developed using Qualtrics software and advertised via the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies’ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media accounts and monthly newsletter. Results Three hundred and ninety seven individuals, a majority having used cannabis at least once, consented to participate in the study. The participants concluded that there is enough evidence for cannabis to be prescribed to treat a range of medical conditions. In addition to pharmacies providing cannabis to patients with a prescription, a majority of participants supported cannabis being sold in pharmacies for harm reduction purposes and allowing access to medicinal cannabis in cases where supporting evidence is insufficient to merit a prescription. Participants supported greater integration between dispensing pharmacies and mental health services. Overall, the participants did not oppose a consultation or screening for potential cannabis users prior to obtaining access from licensed vendors. UK participants were supportive of the concept of a cannabis card, which users can present to licensed vendors such as pharmacies, with specific recommendations (such as strains relevant to a patient’s medical condition) being coded into the card. A majority of participants supported the existence of shisha-type bars for the purchase and onsite consumption of cannabis and determined that such vendors should not be part of a pharmacy chain of stores or regulated by pharmacy regulators. The participants generally preferred that laws regarding public consumption are in line with existing smoking legislation. Participants determined that it should be legally permitted to grow cannabis at home for personal medical and non-medical purposes but not to sell for profit. Conclusion The results are suggestive of a regulatory system that medical and non-medical cannabis users can use which aims to maximise therapeutic applications, minimise harms and respect individual liberty.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Pharmacy
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
ISSN: 2050-3245
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 August 2021
Date of Acceptance: 2 January 2021
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2022 07:38
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/143146

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