Cancard is a card that is designed with the help of doctors, backed by senior representatives of the Police Federation and made for patients. Despite cannabis medicines becoming legal in 2018, patients unable to afford a costly prescription are stuck in limbo, Cancard aims to bridge the gap between patients, doctors and the police. The card allows for the police to exercise discretion by understanding that the patient caught in possession is medicating for their condition.
We are pro private prescriptions - for those who can afford it we understand that some people will benefit here with legitimate, safe access. We will offer resources on how to find out what the cost of whatever medicine helps you is likely to be.
We are pro NHS scripts - although this isn't happening yet we will provide resources to educate primary and specialist care clinicians to help raise awareness.
We are pro GYO - we want to move towards a space where it is acceptable to cultivate whatever medicine helps you, we know there is healing and empowerment in self sufficiency.
We are pro protecting our caregivers - we will look to provide a carers card or designate a caregiver for those who require to be in possession temporarily to support a person requiring cannabis medicine.
We are pro clubs and community groups - we will provide resources to help connect you locally to groups who do amazing work in this area.
We are pro collaboration - we will sensibly engage with all stakeholders in this space to actively work towards the common goal of greater access in whatever form suits the needs of the individual patients.
Carly Barton is a former lecturer in the Arts who has a creative background that includes exhibiting at the Tate and the Saatchi gallery. After having to give up her role due to health problems, she discovered that Medical Cannabis was not only an appropriate, but more effective substitute for Opioids to treat her Fibromyalgia and post-stroke Neuropathy.
Carly now advocates for patient access to Medical Cannabis as an advisor to all patient advocacy groups in the UK as well as many international organisations.
Carly was the first person in the UK to receive a prescription for herbal Cannabis privately since the law change in 2018, after not being able to sustain the costs of this she is working tirelessly with government organisations in order to progress NHS prescriptions, with the hope of setting a precedent for other patients to follow.
She is involved in many projects that seek to establish wider access to Medical Cannabis in the UK, most notably launching Carly's Amnesty which set the stage for Cancard, a collaborate project that has seen her connect high level police forces, doctors, patients and MPs on a scheme that reduces the fear 1.1 million cannabis consumers have around interference from the police.
Her work has seen her garner international press coverage and awards for her dedication to advocacy and change for patients who require the use of this life changing medicine.
"Despite the fact that Cannabis medicines became legal in 2018, patients who are unable to afford a costly prescription are still stuck in limbo. Cancard provides the opportunity for police to exercise their discretion through the understanding that the patient in possession of cannabis is in fact medicating for their condition."
“More than a million patients in the UK qualify for a private cannabis prescription for a range of conditions, but sadly many of them cannot afford this and so could face criminalisation if they are found in possession of what to them is a vital medicine.
The CanCard will provide them with assurance that their ill health will not lead to a criminal record, while it will also be a valuable tool to help frontline officers, saving them time by providing immediate verification of genuine medical patients and therefore giving them confidence to use their discretion.
I want to praise Carly for her dedication and the collaborative work she has done with senior officers to get this important initiative off the ground.”
"Cancard is a great innovation. For those using cannabis for medicinal purposes it should help take away some of the fear generated by potential interactions with the police.
For the police it provides a straight forward and validated basis for using their discretion in such cases."
“I’m very grateful for the work that’s been completed so far which helps the Police service identify those that should be accessing their prescribed medication.
This is a really live issue, where the Police service finds itself stuck in the middle of a situation where individuals should legitimately be accessing their prescribed medication, but, because of availability and cost they can’t and therefore to address their illness rely on having to use illicit cannabis. This can’t be acceptable and places the service in a position where we could be criminalising someone because of their illness.”
“I did not join the police to arrest people who are simply unwell and trying to manage their symptoms or pain. In fact I joined to help people in that position.
Initiatives such as Cancard are important because they give police officers vital information which they can use when they have to make decisions on the street.”
“Movements like CanCard are vitally important to ensure sensible reforms which will not only benefit the patient but also society as a whole.
We must follow examples from across the globe and start ensuing that those who need help receive it. LEAP UK join together with MPs, scientists, doctors and academics in welcoming all sensible - and evidence-based reforms, and this is why we welcome CanCard.”
“Unfortunately there are hundreds of individuals in the UK who need medical cannabis to continue to live without pain and enable them to lead a normal life. The cost of a private prescription for medical cannabis can be up to £3,000 a month. This is a cost which is impossible to sustain yet these individuals are increasing their debts and using their savings just to live a pain free life and prevent prosecution. This plan would give people a safe and secure way of accessing medicinal cannabis whilst the system would be strictly regulated and have robust safeguards.”
“For too long, patients who can’t afford a legitimate private medical cannabis prescription have been in an impossible position. We need medical cannabis to be available for people who need it on the NHS, but until then, the CanCard is an important initiative. It will help patients and police officers alike, reducing worry for those who are unwell, and stopping police time being wasted on arrests which aren’t in the public interest.”
“Despite the law change in November 2018 very few of the estimated 1.4 million people in the UK who consume cannabis for medical reasons have a prescription and thus face prosecution for treating their illness. This is a wretched situation both for patients who constantly fear a knock on the door from the police and for the police themselves who are in the unenviable position of having to arrest the sick. The CanCard initiative is a welcome step forward that provides necessary immediate relief and I look forward to even further progress to ensure this medicine is legally available to all who need it.”
“More than a million patients will at last be free from the fear of arrest for taking their cannabis medicine to relieve their pain or suffering, thanks to the Cancard.”
I have spondylolisthesis, spinal fusion twice, chronic pain and major mobility problems since 1985.
The fear of arrest is horrible but my worst fear is having any of my cannabis destroyed, its the only medicine that has ever helped and I will be devastated and may just throw in the towel, the worry is also exhausting. To be able to legally use it at home would have a massive and fantastic impact on my life, I long for that day.
Endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, IBS, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, hypertension, anxiety, depression, osteoarthritis of cervical spine, asthma.
I had to stop taking opioids as they were no longer working for pain. I was still having the awful side affects. I could not function, I felt like I was a zombie. I could not think, talk or motivate myself. I also had weight gain from a size 6-8 all my life, becoming size 14-16. I couldn't cope mentally or emotionally with the weight gain, also physically the pain became worse and it became harder to walk and sleep with carrying the extra weight too. I know cannabis helped me years ago but I was arrested and now I am too scared to get it, I have too much to loose; my home, my son. I was accepted by medical cannabis clinic but can not afford the prices so I am stuck struggling and bed ridden most days. I am missing out on life, family and being a proper mum. I feel like a failure, living with the pain and knowing what could improve my life so much, but I cant do anything about it because of the fear.
EDS type 3 (loose joints, pain, stomach, bowel & bladder issues), fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis & a failed spinal surgery.
It would be great not having to look over my shoulder, worry about the smell & the very real threat of losing my home because I’m a housing association tenant. It would mean I could medicate whenever & wherever I needed to. It would also make accessing it easier. Even better if I could just grow it too. I could reduce my prescription meds even further.
Rheumatoid arthritis and spondylitis to the spine.
If this was removed the amount of stress that would be removed from my life would be night and day. I flare with my condition and stress can induce flares so it would be removing a factor that causes my condition to be worse . That in itself would be life changing.
I medicate for Endometriosis, IBS and Interstitial cystitis.
If it was legalised I'd be able to treat myself without the worry of getting another criminal record for possession and it would also reduce the anxiety that comes with being in possession of an illegal plant.
My condition would be far more manageable if the constant fear of arrest wasn't there, for sure.
Complex regional pain syndrome, anxiety and depression.
The fear of loosing my home and putting the family unit at great strain. I also feel the anxiety and depression would be greatly improved.
I suffer from several ailments, the most severe is Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) is a bony hardening of ligaments in areas where they attach to your spine.
My son suffers from Cluster headaches.
My daughter suffers from anxiety attacks and possibly ADHD (still being evaluated).
We all get relief from cannabis. For my son's Cluster headaches, cannabis is a god send! He gets instant relief. Vaping herbal cannabis gives me instant pain and stiffness relief.
I'm currently a medical cannabis patient with the Sapphire Clinic but it's very expensive! 10ml of 2% THC isolate is £90! 30ml of 50mg/ml of CBD oil is £125.
Legalising cannabis would be a huge relief for my family in so many ways; health, financial and mental.
I use cannabis to treat fibromyalgia.
I would be able to relax and be more open and honest about my consumption. In turn keeping me off addictive and harmful prescription drugs.I would love to be able to sit in my own garden and medicate. My partner also wouldn’t be scared my medication use could make her lose her job if I got caught.
Neuropathy, chronic pain, anxiety, ptsd, bpd.
If criminality was removed my life would be a lot less stressful, as finding legit suppliers, collecting meds, and possessing the meds incurs a lot of anxiety, especially as I have been caught twice now. Also, my job prospects would improve as there would be hopefully a strike off of possession convictions.
It would be a huge relief, I would stop worrying about that knock on the door. I wouldn't have to sneak about. I wouldn't have to explain myself all the time, my grandchildren and daughter wouldn't have had to see me and my husband being arrested by the police for wanting to be well. Our parents and grandparents wouldn't have had to see us dragged through courts, I could go on and on.
37 years of this and all because my life was halted by MS and even now i can't afford their legal private script, so on it goes.