Edinburgh MP's plea for medicinal cannabis farm to change policy on NHS funding for prescriptions

SCOTLAND'S first legal cannabis farm should prompt a rethink of the policy which has denied Edinburgh youngster Murray Gray easy access to cannabis-based medicines to treat his extreme form of epilepsy, an MP has said.
Murray Gray has experienced the benefits of medicinal cannabis  Picture: Lisa FergusonMurray Gray has experienced the benefits of medicinal cannabis  Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Murray Gray has experienced the benefits of medicinal cannabis Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Eight-year-old Murray, from East Craigs, used to suffer up to 600 seizures a day, but when he was given the cannabis-based medicines Bedrolyte and Bedica the seizures stopped completely.

The medicinal use of cannabis was made legal in the UK two years ago, but at the moment Murray – who suffers from Doose syndrome – cannot get an NHS prescription for his medicine and his family is having to pay £1,400 a month to get the drugs from abroad.

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Edinburgh West Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine has previously called on the Scottish Government to allow NHS funding for the treatment, as has happened in Northern Ireland.Now she says the imminent opening of a medicinal cannabis farm at Langholm, Dumfries & Galloway, offers the government an opportunity to rethink its strategy

Hamish Clegg, CEO of Hilltop Leaf, the company behind the farm, has said they aim to provide an affordable and widely-available solution to patients suffering from a range of conditions from chronic pain to severe epilepsy.

Ms Jardine said: "Here is a medicinal cannabis farm in Scotland, which is going to be producing something that is now legal, yet Murray who lives about an hour’s drive away can’t have a prescription for the very thing it produces. The irony of it is ridiculous.

"It shows how easy it would be to solve Murray’s problem. If we’re able to produce cannabis oil in this country it’s utterly ridiculous someone whose life can be changed by it is having to pay for it privately rather than the government pay.

"This is not a political thing, this is about the illogicality of being prepared to have medicinal cannabis produced in Scotland but not being prepared to help someone get it.”

The farm has won £690,000 investment from South of Scotland Enterprise for construction of an 11,000 sq metre facility which is expected to be built by March 2021.

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