Medical cannabis patient Liam Lewis and his husband are “overwhelmed” by the support they have received.
A Shetland MP has voiced his support for a medical cannabis patient who had his prescription seized by police.
MP for Orkney and Shetland Isles, Alistair Carmichael, has described what happened to medical cannabis patient Liam Lewis as “disproportionate” after Lerwick police seized his medication from his local delivery office on Saturday 22 January.
The 28-year-old, who suffers from functional neurological disorder, has been prescribed medical cannabis for chronic migraines from Sapphire Medical Clinic for two years.
Liam attended the police station later that day with documents and medical notes from the clinic and asked if he could present a copy of his prescription when the clinic reopened on Monday.
Medical cannabis patient, Liam Lewis and husband Edward
However, officers apparently believed that the documents were fake and issued him with an official warning which will become part of his criminal record.
Liam is now facing up to three months without his medication.
Mr Carmichael, Lib Dem, and MSP Beatrice Wishart are now said to be preparing to make representations to Police Scotland.
Speaking to the Shetland News, Mr Carmichael said: “This is a massively unsatisfactory situation for Mr Lewis or anyone else to be relying on medicinal cannabis which is now legally available in the UK.
“If Mr Lewis had a prescription, as I understand to be the case, then surely he could have been allowed time to produce that for the police officers.”
He added: “Beatrice [Wishart] and I will be making representations to Police Scotland – there is a public policy issue here about them apparently denying access to medicine.
“There may be some technical reason why the medicine should not have been distributed in this way, in which case that needs to be dealt with.
“In the meantime, this will count as a criminal record, it will stay on his [Liam Lewis] criminal record, and to my mind this is disproportionate.”
Liam and his husband Edward told Cannabis Health that police officers had been in touch following the incident, after his story appeared in the Scottish press.
The couple are calling for a Government-funded identification card to be issued to patients who hold legal prescriptions to avoid them facing law enforcement.
Edward said: “We are overwhelmed by the support that this issue is getting. The more traction this gets the better, as we want to make sure that others do not find themselves in this situation.”
He added: “I thank Alastair Carmichael for his support and we hope this goes a long way, not just to solve the immediate problem, but also the wider social issues behind this.”
In a statement to Cannabis Health on Wednesday 26 January, a spokesperson for Police Scotland said: “A 28-year-old man was issued with a recorded police warning following the seizure of a controlled substance which had been found by officers within a sorting office in Lerwick on Saturday 22 January.
“He was unable to provide satisfactory evidence to police that the substance had been prescribed legitimately by a medical professional and when the recorded police warning was given to him he accepted it.
“Officers will continue to engage with him as we try to establish the full circumstances of the situation.”
A spokesperson from Sapphire Medical Clinic, commented: “We are unable to comment on individual cases due to patient confidentiality. However, it’s important to highlight that medical cannabis was legalised for prescription in November 2018 across the UK. As the only medical cannabis clinic registered by Healthcare Improvement Scotland, we abide by stringent regulations which include assessment by a specialist doctor and the requirement that prescriptions are dispensed by an approved and licensed pharmacy.”