Northern Ireland news

Medicinal cannabis can be prescribed without a licence from today

A rally was held at Belfast City Hall in June to call for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis oil

SPECIALIST doctors in Northern Ireland can prescribe medicinal cannabis from today.

Doctors had previously needed licences from the Department of Health to prescribe, supply and possess cannabis-based medicines.

Clinicians listed on the General Medical Council's specialist register can now prescribe the medicines.

The products will not be available from GPs.

The change brings the north into line with Britain.

The Department of Health insisted that the move "does not pave the way towards legalising cannabis for recreational use".

The change comes after 12-year-old Billy Caldwell, from Castlederg, Co Tyrone, was granted permission over the summer to take medicinal cannabis.

The boy, who has severe epilepsy, suffered a severe fit after his medication, which his mother Charlotte bought in Canada, was confiscated at Heathrow airport.

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