Cannabis Activist is Bringing the Controversial Medicine into the Community Conversation
Medicinal Cannabis public info event organised by cannabis patient and long-time legalisation advocate Kay Marsh, seeks to break the stigma surrounding the cannabis conversation.
Recreational use of cannabis remains illegal in the UK. However, In November 2018 the law around cannabis was changed allowing the class B drug to be prescribed by specialist medical doctors. Now three years on and the chances of getting cannabis prescribed on the NHS remains very low. Access through private clinics however is surprisingly straightforward, if not widely known about.
Cannabis prescribed by private clinics
Despite the law change, many people are still not aware that cannabis containing THC can now be accessed, in flower and oil form, legally through private clinics to treat many different conditions.
“Since receiving my prescription for medicinal cannabis through a private clinic and sharing my journey on social media, I have been contacted by so many people wanting to know more about medicinal cannabis and how to access it. People have lots of questions, so I thought the best thing to do was to create space for them to come, speak with patients, get info and talk openly about the treatment. To hear from professionals working in the area and to have their questions answered.”
Details of the info event
The event will be held at La Salle Verte Café – Cannon Street, Dover – Thursday 21st April 2022 – 7pm. It is a public event open to anyone wanting to find out more about medicinal cannabis.
Guest speakers at the event include;
Dr Axel Klein – Anthropologist, Independent researcher and former editor for Drugs & Alcohol Today
Clinic Manager at the Zerenia prescribing Clinic
Alex Fraser – Patient Access Lead at Grow Pharma” “a leading supplier of prescription cannabis medicines”
Along with guest speakers, there will be lots of information available on different clinics, access routes and other medicinal cannabis initiatives. One such initiative is the CanCard, a scheme developed with police to help identify legitimate medicinal patients.
Kay wants to bring the subject of medicinal cannabis and the wider legalisation of the plant into the community conversation. “Because the stigma attached to the use of cannabis remains so deeply ingrained in our society, the subject can make people feel uncomfortable to even talk about” Kay says. “Since the law change, the rate at which prescriptions are being given is quickly surpassing the rate of education around the subject. This includes within local police forces, resulting in unlawful seizures of legally sourced cannabis.”
Police not aware of law change
“While planning for this event, I met with Kent police and was surprised to find they were not aware of the law change. The officer I met even spoke of recent seizures they had carried out on people claiming to be medicinal patients. This shows the desperate need for community education, to normalise the cannabis conversation and prevent innocent people being penalised when acting completely within the law. People should not be too scared to use medication legally prescribed to them for fear of legal repercussions or public ostracization”.
Incredible improvements to the symptoms of chronic conditions such as anxiety disorders, chronic pain, epilepsy and Parkinson’s, have been documented as a result of cannabis use. Many patients living with very serious medical conditions say it has been life changing.
Cannabis as last resort medication
Currently cannabis is prescribed as a last resort medication, meaning other forms of treatment must have been tried first. As a result, in the instance of pain patients for example, they must have tried opiate-based medication before being allowed to try cannabis. Many pain patients have been able to stop taking opiates and other strong, addictive and potentially harmful medications altogether as a result of using cannabis.
Safe space to speak openly
“The Department for Health and Social Care recently announced that large scale, NHS drug trials of medicinal cannabis will begin very soon. This indicates that we are entering an exciting time for medicinal cannabis in the UK. Towns like Dover are very rarely ahead of the curve on such issues. By providing safe spaces in small, local communities like ours, to speak openly about cannabis, we go a long way towards normalising the issue. This will in turn give people the knowledge and tools needed, to confidently navigate the changing medicinal landscape.”
Kay is a community event manager by trade and has been an advocate for the legalisation of cannabis and a medicinal user of the plant for many years, recently becoming a legal patient. This event will be the start of a larger campaign, locally and beyond. Events like this are to raise awareness of the benefits of cannabis and help to make it more widely accessible.