Police forced to return medical cannabis to ‘distraught’ Lerwick man

11th February 2022

A medical cannabis patient has had a package containing medical cannabis returned to him after police intercepted the medication at a post office in Lerwick last month.

Liam Lewis, 29, from Lerwick, Shetland, made national headlines when his life-changing medicine was given away from him by police using sniffer dogs at a local post office.

Mr Lewis, who suffers from Functional Neurological Disorder, was told the package was confiscated by police officers, but when he visited the police station to show proof of prescription, he was still denied being returned the medicine.

He also presented to police his ID card that identifies him as an eligible medical cannabis patient under UK law. However, Mr Lewis revealed that officers did not take it into account and he was left facing “drug possession” charges.

He then told the Scottish Sun: “I have been left totally distraught by what has happened. It’s outrageous.

“I now have no oil left and it looks like I won’t get this back so I am left in the lurch and face a horrendous few weeks until I can get another delivery.

“Normally, my delivery is made by courier but for the past few months it has been delivered by Royal Mail due to worries about the boats to Lerwick being cancelled.

“This was my third delivery this way and there was never an issue with the others.

“I just can’t believe they are talking about charging me over it. If I get charged I won’t be allowed my prescription for months.”

Mr Lewis suffers from severe symptoms and he claims that his medical cannabis medication is the only thing that helps him stay afloat.

According to The Shetland Times, after a huge public outrage, the police have returned Mr Lewis’ medication, so he can resume his life-changing treatment.

Chief Inspector Stuart Clemenson confirmed that the medication had been returned to Mr Lewis.

Mr Clemenson added that, on the contrary to Mr Lewis’ claims, he was not able to produce the necessary paperwork as proof but later all the paperwork was made available and the drugs were returned to him.

Liam Lewis has a MedCannID, a card that is designed to protect vulnerably ill people from prosecution for consumption and possession of medical cannabis for their conditions – even in public space.

Another medical cannabis card, Cancard, also launched at the end of  2020 with the aim of protecting the estimated 1.4 million patients in the UK that could benefit from medical cannabis.

In 2020, it was reported that police forces nationwide would receive a briefing pack from the National Police Chiefs Council and all expert witnesses, who testify on behalf of the prosecution in court, are being trained on the scheme.

Police officers who encounter a patient in possession of a card are able to contact a policing helpline to help them verify the patient is genuine.

Carly Barton, the founder of Cancard, said then: “We all know that cases, where patients have proved legitimate medicinal use, are unlikely to make it to court, and if they do these cases are consistently dropped.

“This is especially the case when a patient presents with a condition that is being privately prescribed for. There is currently no way of identifying these people before emotional distress has been caused, and public resources have been wasted.

“There is an opportunity to provide something that changes this by way of providing a service that benefits both the patients and the police.

“Cancard should give patients peace of mind and police confidence in using their discretion before any stress has been caused to vulnerable people.

“Without a law change, we have national guidance and discretion with which to build a solution, both of which are huge parts of the design of Cancard. Having the police on-board with the design and implementation of this has been essential to make this a plausible project.”

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