Nearly 25,000 people in the UK have signed up for a Cancard since it was launched in January by founder Carly Barton.
In that time, 90 out of 93 stops by police have resulted in no arrests, with patients able to keep their medication, Barton said in an interview with The Cannavist.
All in all, these figures suggest the initiative, which is backed by police, MPs and leading doctors, working as planned despite early concerns about its legitimacy.
What is a Cancard?
The Cancard is a holographic ID card that is meant to protect the card-holder from arrest and having their medicine confiscated. It informs any police officer that may have stopped the card-holder that they use cannabis for medical reasons.
It’s hoped to dissuade the police from arresting the patient or confiscating their medicine – even if the cannabis was bought from the black market.
It’s available to anyone with a diagnosis for a qualifying condition, the list of which is quite broad but does include:
- Chronic pain
- and a number of conditions related to cancer and chemotherapy
The initiative was created in collaboration with doctors and has the public backing of several MPS and senior police representatives. Not every medical organisation is on board, though.
As well as an ID card, holders can have a digital version of the card on their phone in order to for more convenience.
Speaking to The Cannavist, Carly Barton, who is a well-known cannabis activist in the UK, said she is overjoyed with the latest figures which prove the card is working to prevent arrests and allowing patients to keep their medication.
She said, “The majority of stops are reported to us because the police will often ring our helpline to check the database. If a card is presented, the police can call and check the register to see if the card is real. After that, we are seeing that they are letting their patients go without any further issue.”
How to get a Cancard
Application to get a Cancard is pretty easy. All you need to be eligible is a diagnosis of a qualifying condition, confirmation of your diagnosis, and then to fill out an application form on the Cancard website.
When you apply online, you will need the following on hand:
- A mobile phone
- Your passport or driver’s licence
- Your NHS number
- Your GP name, email address and practice
- Summary Care Record (if necessary)
The is an initial membership fee of £30.00 as well as an annual renewal fee of £20.00 a year.
Carly also spoke of the fear cannabis patients experience when stopped by police for consuming their medicine.
She says, “A lot of these people through no fault of their own are really struggling with their health and they are in fear of the very people who are meant to be protecting them for taking something that has been helping them.
“There is fear when they are stopped by a police officer but relief that comes after they have been legitimised and allowed to continue.”