#ReleaseMyMeds - Protecting UK Medical Cannabis Patients

#ReleaseMyMeds

Release is launching a vital initiative. We are launching the #ReleaseOurMeds campaign to protect the rights of patients to access their medicine. There has been an increase in reports of patients having negative encounters with the police due to their possession of prescribed cannabis medication.

Guardian article: They put handcuffs on me UK users of medical cannabis tell of raids and arrests

In November of 2023, five years since medical cannabis was legalised in the UK, the Guardian reported that they had received 24 individual reports from people who had experience negative police interactions related to the use of their prescribed medication.

The article concluded that "... among many police officers there is a lack of understanding about who can access [medical cannabis] and where it can be consumed."

We have heard of similar problems over the last five years through our national helpline. We want to see change. One way of pushing for this is by collecting the negative experiences medical cannabis patients have had with the police in a structured way.

Your voice matters. Share your experience.

If you're a prescribed medical cannabis patient and had a concerning interaction with the police about it we want to hear from you. By filling out our brief questionnaire, you can help us to collate these instances so they can be assessed by Release. If you want, Release’s legal team can also review the questionnaire and contact you about referring you for further advice for a potential legal claim.

In return we offer:

Support
Release and our partners can advise on medical cannabis, drug laws and legal actions against police. This campaign is looking at prescribed medical cannabis patients and their encounters with the police, but we can also advise you through our national helpline on other issues. We may also be able to refer you to other organisations who could advise you on further claims.
Mobilisation
In the five years since the law was changed, we have not seen any meaningful improvements in how police forces approach medical cannabis. By sharing your experiences with us we hope to get a better understanding of the full extent of this issue. Even if your experience isn't one that is referred for a potential claim it will help us know more about what patients are going through. This will help inform our own policy work in the future, another pathway to change.
Action
We want patients to have their rights protected. A lot of prescribed medications are also controlled drugs, but some of the problems we have heard through our helpline have been unique to medical cannabis. We want patients to stop having their lives disrupted. Your experience may be what's needed to bring about the change to stop this from happening.

What can't we offer?

Release operates a national helpline to advise on drugs and laws about drugs. Through this we can offer one-off advice, and sometimes help with a referral if you are facing a criminal charge. However, we're not able to represent you, or 'take on your case'. We don’t have the capacity to do this, but you can always call our helpline for advice.

This campaign is exploring what changes could stop the problems some patients have had with the police when found with medical cannabis. If you complete the form then we will review what you’ve shared with us. If we think what happened may be of interest to our partners we will contact you to ask for permission to share it and check any details with you. We can't promise that if we do contact you that your case will then definitely be taken on.

We will assess all submissions and consider whether we are best placed to provide assistance or not.

#ReleaseMyMeds