We have received numerous queries with regards to recent claims that the importing of medical cannabis is now legal with a UK prescription. We have been silent, on what is an extremely bold claim, for some time because we have been privately making our own inquiries in an attempt to verify this.
To date, no legal advice we have received has been of the opinion that it is legal to import cannabis into the UK without an import licence, which the Home Office systematically denies to all personal applicants. We have obtained verbal confirmation from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs that they have no discretion over the importation of controlled drugs and they are obliged to enforce the law, set by the Home Office. We also received a letter from the HMRC underlining that the import of cannabis remains legal only with a valid import licence issued from the Home Office.
We are still waiting for an official Home Office response regarding the legality of importing cannabis without an import licence but with a UK-issued prescription. We will publish this when it arrives.
We would also ask our members to apply common sense, ask themselves why there has been no press coverage of this issue and why no other cannabis campaigning organisation in the world has seen fit to endorse or even comment on it.
For the time being, we cannot recommend for the safety of our members that they attempt this route. From the advice we have obtained so far, attempting to import validly prescribed medical cannabis remains unlawful and a matter of civil disobedience. If any cannabis user or activist is willing to undertake this route NORML UK will of course support them in every way possible but they MUST realise and accept the potential risks, including arrest, confiscation of goods, prosecution and conviction. This is not a safe path for those who cannot risk a criminal record and the possession of cannabis remains an offence in the UK. Having said this, it should be noted that the 2012 sentencing guidelines that importation for sole personal medical use is classed as a “lesser offence”.
Finally, NORML UK has members at every level of our organisation who use cannabis as their medicine. We are just as desperate for medical cannabis to be available in this country as any other medical cannabis user. We will investigate and pursue every possible avenue to speed up the political process so that none of us will ever be persecuted again for using our medicine. But we will never pretend that the UK situation is rosier than it is. We are truly in this with you.
We will be continuing to hold our cannabis hypocrisy protest on Wednesday to draw attention to the numerous hypocrisies of our cannabis laws, everyone is welcome to attend.
For further information, visit: http://tinyurl.com/NUK9th