Wednesday 07 December 2022
Select a region

'Cancard' ID for medicinal cannabis users could help fill legal void

'Cancard' ID for medicinal cannabis users could help fill legal void

Tuesday 01 February 2022

'Cancard' ID for medicinal cannabis users could help fill legal void

Tuesday 01 February 2022

The Government is considering introducing a ‘Cancard’ to help medicinal cannabis users prove their legitimacy if stopped by the police.

The States Assembly voted in November 2018 to allow GPs to prescribe medicinal cannabis. A year later, its cultivation was also approved.

Since then, however, Police and Customs officers have sometimes struggled to distinguish between bona fide users who have a prescription and those who have not.

Those using medicinal cannabis illegally may have obtained the drug from a secondary market which has emerged since its legalisation.

An ‘advisory council’ of senior officers, led by Chief Probation Officer Mike Cutland, is now trying to fill the legal void, and following some parts of the UK in introducing a ‘Cancard’ form of identification is being considered.

Speaking to a Scrutiny Panel this week, Chief Police Officer Robin Smith, who is a member of the council, said: “Above all, the States of Jersey Police is supportive of people in need of medicinal cannabis but I have previously raised the issue of people using drugs illicitly, and, of course, cannabis is still an illicit drug, and we have had a number of seizures in recent weeks. 

“Some people are very entrepreneurial and will seek to deal with medicinal cannabis in an illicit way.”

Robin Smith.jpeg

Chief Police Officer Robin Smith: "The force is supportive of people in need of medicinal cannabis."

Mr Smith added that the council was still looking at how the island could better ensure that those people who are legally in possession of medicinal cannabis are protected by the law.

“In the UK, they have adopted in some places something called a Cancard, which is under consideration by the advisory council. We still have a gap where police officers could be in an awkward position when asked to deploy to a certain case and not being too sure. 

“And my job, along with this group, is to make sure that everyone knows what is what.”

Mr Smith added that, currently, officers were asking to see the prescription of a user and would take a photo of it, but he conceded this was “far from a failsafe”.

The Cancard scheme in the UK, which is backed several groups including the Police Foundation think tank, the Green Party and the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group, allows users to prove their legitimacy if stopped by the police or another agency.

Officers across England and Wales have been given standardised guidance on how to proceed when presented with a Cancard.

The advisory council also hopes to invite Professor Mike Barnes, a consultant neurologist and leading cannabis physician, to the island to discuss best practice with those professionals involved with medicinal cannabis.

Sign up to newsletter



Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.

Posted by Scott Mills on
too late, if you are prescribed medicinal cannabis you can apply for the UK and well known card, very simple process and should Jersey start one, it'll be a lot cheaper (£30, then £20 renewal). card and organisation have been running since 2018.

On a side note, Why not decriminalise the herb for personal use, that would stop any black market, but I'm sure they (police) keep this going because it's easy figures for the police to attain arrests/confiscations), than other drugs on the black market. Looks good in pie charts, plus the amount of time, resources and money could be put to better use in the police force.
Posted by Mark Wilbourn on
In 2018 the states voted to allow ALL doctors to prescribe cannabis, not just GPs.
Any bona fide medical cannabis patient will have paperwork to prove their cannabis is prescribed. If the person doesn’t, they aren’t a bona fide patient.
When I was a Primary Care Body, GP representative we were told by GoJ representatives that laws take ‘years’ to change. Hence, if the law is going to be changed, that must be years away.
Having liaised with local Police, Cancard has been counterfeited and is therefore unreliable. A local alternative would have a smaller number of users and hence is less likely to be counterfeited. Ultimately, Cancard like cards indicate that somebody has a condition that might be amenable to cannabis treatment. They don’t indicate that the holder has been checked to see if they have a contraindication to this treatment nor that possible medication interactions have been considered.
Medical cannabis is produced to increasingly rigorous standards. Illicit cannabis isn’t and may be sprayed with synthetic drugs. This may explain the observation, of our Canadian colleagues, that medical cannabis doesn’t cause psychosis as illicit cannabis does.
My understanding is that the Police cannot change their response to cannabis carrying individuals until the law is changed as the Police are not permitted to exercise discretion, as their UK counterparts do.
When doctors see patients we try to help them to stop prescribed opiates and benzodiazepines. When people have to see an illicit drug dealer, they may be offered harder drugs. Hence, the ‘gateway’ phenomenon is broken if patients can see a doctor..
To place a comment please login

You have landed on the Bailiwick Express website, however it appears you are based in . Would you like to stay on the site, or visit the site?