Woman who grows her own medical cannabis calls for legal reform

A woman suffering from fibromyalgia has felt forced to grow her own cannabis after her neurological condition left her housebound for six years.

Carly Barton, who suffered a stroke at the age of 24, received what is believed to be the UK’s first ever private prescription for medicinal cannabis, but resorted to illegally growing her own when she couldn’t keep up with the high cost of the ongoing treatment.

This is all following last November’s UK law change, in which cannabis was reclassified as a Schedule 2 drug, allowing doctors to prescribe it as a medicine. However, since it's still unlicensed, doctors can only prescribe it if a patient has needs that can’t be met by licensed medicines, a grey area that has left many patients waiting.

Speaking on This Morning, Carly said: "After my private prescription I was given an NHS prescription, the first one in the UK, which was brilliant news.

"It went through to board meetings only to be blocked at the final hour by the medical governance group who, through no fault of their own, need to tick a box to say that the medicine that they are going to fund is a tested medicine."

This same law change led to CBD oil becoming a legal substance to prescribe and purchase, so long as the THC content (the primary psychotropic ingredient) is under 0.2%. For many, CBD oil is the only option currently available for those seeking access to cannabidiol legally in the UK.

The high cost of reform 

For Carly, the cost of her private prescription - £1400 a month - led her down a less legal route. Her initial desperation sent her onto the streets, purchasing cannabis from dealers in the dead of night.

"I was going out on two walking sticks in the middle of the night to dark car parks, and putting myself at risk of harm.

"At the moment we are failing patients because we are putting them in a situation where that is their only option."

Carly has now turned to growing her own cannabis, though rather than hide the illegal act, she went directly to her local police station and informed them. Carly’s staunch belief in her position emphasises how necessary law reform is when ordinary people are being criminalised.

She is further proposing a project dubbed ‘Carly’s Law’ that would enable other people who have medical evidence of their condition to grow their own cannabis. As an alternative to the prices charged on private prescriptions, and illegal deals on street corners, it seems like a logical new path. 

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