‘Zero tolerance’ warning over medicinal cannabis

Jersey Hemp, Warwick Farm. Alisia Ratliff, chief scientific officer Picture: ROB CURRIE

Medicann – which operates clinics in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man – recently posted a statement on Facebook after what it described as a ‘potential issue’ affecting one of its clinics.

The company stressed that it was not acceptable to obtain multiple prescriptions from different sources simultaneously, and it advised patients currently obtaining prescriptions from the UK that they should not attempt to obtain one from Medicann until they were ready to switch to a local clinic and pharmacy.

A spokesperson for Medicann told the JEP that they would take a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to anyone who tried to misuse their products or services.

The company’s statement continued: ‘Medicinal cannabis is a regulated medicine and as such, must be treated with the same respect and caution as other medication. Our expert doctors take great care in prescribing the right products at the right strengths and the right amount. For anyone to try and receive double the medication by being underhand is unacceptable and could result in patients being banned from the clinic/s. Our team at Medicann has one main aim, that is to support and help people access medicinal cannabis for treatment and care. We will not condone any form of abuse of our service and will take suitable action to ensure our staff and patients’ safety.’

Despite the statement not being produced in response to comments made by the police and Customs last week, it follows intelligence gathered by Jersey Customs suggesting that efforts had been made in the Island to sell drugs obtained by prescription to others. And although police chief Robin Smith said that they had received no complaints, he said he thought it was ‘inevitable’ that they would in the future.

A spokesperson for Medicann said: ‘[Our] clinics have yet to see any reason to revoke a patient’s eligibility to access medicinal cannabis. However, this would indeed be a measure we’d take if we felt it necessary. As a clinic, our culture is to mitigate the misuse of medicinal cannabis and enforce stringent measures in regard to prescribing; amount, product, strength etc.

‘Some people simply will not be eligible and therefore we do refuse access to some but for those who are eligible we are in the same position as any doctors prescribing medication: you have to trust the integrity of your patients.’

LV Pharmacy, with which Medicann partners, said that they worked within strict protocols when dispensing medicinal cannabis. A spokesperson said: ‘Our medication is audited and with reporting through to the chief pharmacist, Paul McCabe, we are confident that misuse of medicinal cannabis by way of duplicate or concurrent prescriptions, or over prescribing would be highlighted and dealt with accordingly.

‘Ultimately, we treat medicinal cannabis and the patients who come to us to collect their prescription with the same level of security and care as we do with all controlled medication.’

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