Frequently asked questions
Will this mean that I am legal?
No, the law has not changed. However, following 12 months of conversations with police forces, there is a frustration around being able to identify legitimate patients so that they are able to use their discretion. Cancard is backed and co-designed by senior police and guidance will be issued by them to all forces in the UK to suggest that they should feel confident in using their discretion in cases of possession with a Cancard.
The card does, however, prove that you are legally entitled to a cannabis prescription and are only in contravention of the Drugs Act because you are unable to afford one. This is a mitigating factor for the CPS and one which means a simple possession case would be unlikely to make it to court. In the event that you do, the card comes with:
- A stop and search guide
- Resources for your solicitor
- An outline of a legal framework for defence
- An anonymised self reporting tool that will help to build a picture of Police involvement for the upcoming legal review.
What if my condition isn’t covered?
The Cancard legal argument for exemption from prosecution for possession of cannabis is based on the idea that if you were able to afford to obtain a private script - you would be covered by law.
Unfortunately you will be unable to apply if your condition isn’t yet covered. However, the list of qualifying conditions is increasing daily. We are keeping a close eye on what conditions are being prescribed for and will be adding them as they come up. Please check back to see if your condition has been added.
What if I have multiple conditions on the list?
Thats ok, the GP form will have a list of conditions, they are just confirming that you have one (or more) conditions on the list.
Does the scheme cover home growing?
We are focusing on simple possession while we are in the process of working in the background on the amnesty project. This may be something we fold in as our work with the police and the CPS continues.
We understand that supply is safer and can be more personalised if the option for home growing were open to patients, and after all, this is how this project began. We will be updating everyone as discussions around this turn into workable solutions later in the year.
However, if you are caught cultivating cannabis - Cancard will provide key information to officers at the scene and the CPS upon interview, this should go a way to demonstrate intent and question if it is in the publics best interest to pursue a charge.
My GP is against the idea of medicinal cannabis.
Will this be an issue? What if my GP is reluctant to engage?
Your GP does not need to advocate for the use of medicinal cannabis, the form for the GP is designed in such a way that they are merely confirming that you have a diagnosis and have discussed other licensed medicines. This is standard practice in the case of confirming diagnosis for other things such as health insurance.
We are working on a solution for situations where a GP refuses to sign the form. Our lovely partners at the Primary Care Cannabis Network are helping us to design this service.
Why must I have tried other medicines first?
Part of the assessment for a private prescription of cannabis includes a caveat that you have tried at least two licensed medications beforehand. As our legal argument is based on you fitting the criteria for a private script we have followed the same guidelines. You needn’t have taken the prescription, but in that case your GP just confirms that these options have been discussed and discounted due to concerns of side effects or dependence.
What happens if a police officer refuses to use their discretion?
Part of the process of getting a charge is the consultation between the police and the CPS who recommend what action they should take. The CPS has mitigating circumstances based on the medicinal use of cannabis. Cancard is a really easy way of verifying intent of medicinal use, so even if a police officer does not wish to use their discretion and ignores guidance; no charges are likely to be brought.
In the very unlikely event that police push for a charge we have designed a whole legal resources section for any solicitor to pick up. This template argument would make it almost impossible to pursue a charge for simple possession.
What happens if I get stopped by police?
We have designed a stop and search guide that is available on the website. This can be downloaded and saved to your phone. Our advice would be to stay calm, produce your card and before you go any further bring up the guide.
Can you help me source cannabis?
No, unfortunately we are unable to advise on routes of supply.
Where should I go for advice about cannabis and my condition?
There are a few fantastic organisations who do some excellent patient advocacy such as PLEA. Cancard will also be building a community forum where you can engage with patients with the same condition as you.
Can I get a private prescription?
If you meet the Cancard criteria then you should qualify for either the Twenty21 trail or a private prescription.
To get further information on how that works you can visit https://drugscience.org.uk/twenty21-is-now-live/ and https://www.opencannabis.uk/
Can I apply for a card if I already have a private prescription?
Yes. Cancard is a medical ID and simply confirms that you have a condition that is being privately prescribed for. You may wish to apply for the card even if you have a legal prescription as it is a good indicator for police and the general public if you need to use your equipment out and about. There is also Medcan ID who are providing cards to those with prescriptions.
How much does Cancard cost?
We will be providing the card for a small admin fee for those who can afford it. We will be making the card free for those on benefits, in that case you will simply be paying for postage and packing.
How will my data be stored?
- The Police will not be given access to your data, they don’t want it and understand that this would be a concern for patients. We have an anti-corruption lead on the working group who is incredibly well versed in safe guarding. The police merely need a visual cue in the form of a photo ID which can be presented to them in the event of a stop or complaint, they do not want or need access to any of your data.
- We have an incredible company who have offered to build our encrypted server to keep everyone safe. This company are the leading providers in the UK who work with massive institutions such as the NHS. They have offered us a massive discount due to the fact that the director is directly effected by the issues at hand. This community are great at pulling together!