The decision comes after Billy Caldwell, a 12-year-old boy who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy, was granted an emergency license allowing him to be treated with medical marijuana by Northern Ireland’s Department of Health earlier this month.
Cannabis was previously listed as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it was thought to have no therapeutic value but can be used for the purposes of research with a Home Office license, and with the new ruling, it has now been updated as a Schedule 2 drug, which means that it has a potential medical use.
Home secretary Sajid Javid, who made the decision said, "Recent cases involving sick children made it clear to me that our position on cannabis-related medicinal products was not satisfactory. Following advice from two sets of independent advisors, I have taken the decision to reschedule cannabis-derived medicinal products – meaning they will be available on prescription. This will help patients with an exceptional clinical need."
Javid added that the ruling was "in no way a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use."
Additionally, the United Kingdom's Department for Health and Social Care and the Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), will now develop a clear definition of what constitutes a cannabis-derived medicinal product so they can be rescheduled and prescribed.
In related news, recreational marijuana use will soon be legal in Canada, and also, the New York Police Department will stop arresting New Yorkers for smoking weed in public.