Brits using weed to treat pain buying ‘cannabis cards’ to avoid being arrested
Thousands of sick Brits using weed to treat pain have a "cannabis card" to avoid being arrested, it has emerged.
It allows them to keep the drug if stopped by police even if they do not have a prescription.
Almost 20,000 people have the card, many with illnesses including multiple sclerosis and arthritis.
The £20 CanCard is for anyone with an illness that qualifies for a medical cannabis prescription.
Its founder Carly Barton, 33, said: "For years we have seen vulnerable people living in fear of the very people employed to protect them.
"On the other hand we have seen the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use and the police put in a difficult situation policing it.
"The most important thing for me was to develop something to bring the two communities together."
Carly, an ex-university lecturer suffered a stroke aged 24, triggering nerve damage that left her in pain.
She could not afford the £1,000 monthly cost of a private prescription for weed so grew the drug to treat her pain. But police raided her house and seized her plants.
CanCard said on Wednesday, March 24 in the past week nine subscribers have been stopped by police over their cannabis but no further action was taken.
Up to 3.5 million people are eligible for the card.
People applying do not need to have had a prescription but organisers will contact their GP to check their condition.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Police Federation have backed the scheme since its launch in November and have trained bobbies about it.
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Last year Simon Kempton, of the Police Federation, said: "Our members didn’t join the police to lock up these people.
"This is an initiative that I support, for a number of reasons.
"Primarily it gives officers information on which to base their decision-making around whether or not to use discretion or to arrest a member of the public."
Medical cannabis has been legal in Britain for more than two years.
But strict rules mean that only a handful of people have got an NHS prescription.
More than a million Brits with conditions including cancer, chronic pain and depression self-medicate with cannabis.
But anyone caught with marijuana without a prescription could be slapped with a fine or face up to five years in prison.
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