A newly-elected MHK and island GP has renewed his call for cannabis to be decriminalised for medicinal purposes – and says there should be a wider debate on legalising it for recreational use.
Dr Alex Allinson topped the poll in Ramsey with the highest vote of any candidate across the island’s 12 constituencies in last month’s general election.
He said he has had patients who admit using cannabis to treat chronic pain and anxiety.
In his election manifesto, Dr Allinson, who continues in practice as a GP in Ramsey despite his new career in politics, said he supported the campaign to decriminalise cannabis for personal use.
He said there is a large body of scientific evidence behind the medicinal use of cannabis for pain control and muscle and joint problems and the island could lead the way in this form of research.
Dr Allinson said he would welcome a debate on legalising cannabis in line with certain American states where both significant harm reduction and economic benefits have been demonstrated.
He told the Examiner: ‘I have had patients admit that they are using cannabis to treat their chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia and joint problems and know that they are doing this illegally but feel it is less harmful and has less side effects than conventional medications.’
In the UK an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has published a report recommending the legalisation of pharmaceutically-produced cannabis for medical use only.
Access to cannabis as a medicine is now allowed in Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Israel, and more than 20 states in the US. Germany and Switzerland allow it to be imported from the Netherlands for medicinal purposes.
Dr Allinson said: ‘Medicinal cannabis has low THC concentrations so does not give the same euphoric effect and is very unlikely to cause psychosis.
Sativex, a spray form, is available as well as a tablet form for chemotherapy induced nausea but both have strict licences.
Dr Allinson added: ‘I think the debate of decriminalisation for recreational use needs to be discussed more widely with input from the Chief Constable.’