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Britain loosens restrictions on medical marijuana

By Ray Downs
Britain's Secretary of State for the Home Department Sajid Javid arrives to a Brexit Cabinet meeting at Downing Street in London, on Sept. 13. Javid announced the loosening of medical marijuana restrictions on Thursday in response to cases of children who need it for medical conditions. Photo by Facundo Arrizabalaga/ EPA-EFE
Britain's Secretary of State for the Home Department Sajid Javid arrives to a Brexit Cabinet meeting at Downing Street in London, on Sept. 13. Javid announced the loosening of medical marijuana restrictions on Thursday in response to cases of children who need it for medical conditions. Photo by Facundo Arrizabalaga/ EPA-EFE

Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Medicinal marijuana will be legal for all patients in Britain with a specialist doctor's prescription beginning on Nov. 1, the government announced Thursday.

The law change will no longer limit the types of conditions doctors can prescribe marijuana for and no longer require doctors to consult an expert panel before being allowed to prescribe the medicine.

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However, only specialist doctors -- not general practitioners -- will be allowed to prescribe medical marijuana. Despite the continued regulations, Thursday's announcement was seen as a major change in British drug reform.

"Having been moved by heartbreaking cases involving sick children, it was important to me that we took swift action to help those who can benefit from medicinal cannabis," said Home Secretary Sajid Javid in a statement. "We have now delivered on our promise and specialist doctors will have the option to prescribe these products where there is a real need."

"This news will be welcomed by many patients with serious health conditions," said President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Professor Ashok Son. "The prospect of a future where safe and effective licensed cannabis-based medicines can be prescribed to help relieve suffering is genuinely exciting."

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The policy change comes after Javid ordered a review of Britain's medical marijuana rules after officials at Heathrow Airport in London on June 11 confiscated medicinal marijuana from a 12-year-old boy who suffers from life-threatening epileptic seizures.

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