The UK’s largest legal medical cannabis identification card has been forced to close.
The UK legal medical cannabis patient verification scheme, MedcannID, has been forced to discontinue its services.
Hundreds of UK cannabis patients are now MedcannID card holders, since the launch of its fully operational system in early 2021.
In an email to patients, seen by Cannabis Health, MedcannID blamed ‘ongoing Apple and Google store restrictions’ to its app, as well as ‘unforeseen post COVID circumstances’, for its imminent closure.
Services have now been suspended, with a view to discontinuing them completely from 15 March, 2022.
The email, sent from MedcannID founder, Marios Panteli and the team, said they were “truly grateful” to have been “given the opportunity to help promote legal cannabis patients’ rights.”
The MedcannID card and associated app, aimed to offer medical cannabis patients an effective means of identification to protect them against law enforcement or stigma elsewhere in the community.
In the last year, the organisation is said to have assisted patients in situations with employers, landlords and at events and public access areas, as well as with a lack of education among police officers.
Following the news, medical cannabis patient, Jack Pierce, commented: “Patients deserve an identification card which brings security to their conditions, either by a privately approved organisation or the clinics themselves.
“The reason for this being that the legislation surrounding medical cannabis is still unknown to a variety of law enforcement officials and organisations such as healthcare centres and educational centres, an approved identification card is clearly in need and should be implemented.”
Patients are advised not to upload any further prescriptions to the MedcannID app, and to take care that any already uploaded are also stored separately as evidence.
Medication should be kept in its original packaging to prevent any potential issues when encountering police.
MedcannID plans to delete all prescriptions and user data by 15 March with support and advice services expected to be available until 1 April.
It says that it hopes a Government ID card scheme will be put in place to continue its services in the future.
Panteli, whose company Numeds provided the first medical cannabis prescription to an adult patient in the UK in November 2018, told Cannabis Health: “At MedCannID we did our best to provide an essential layer of support during the first time in the UK that patients needed to feel safe moving from the illicit to the regulated route to access cannabis.
“We are overwhelmed by the gratitude expressed in all the messages received in the last few days and we are very proud to hear the positive impact our scheme has had.
“Even though there is still a lot of work to be done to protect patients, there has been positive moves in the right direction.
“Most of the clinics and pharmacies are now able to provide the essential aftercare support to protect the patients, and as a central patient register is being formed it is now even clearer and more urgent to formalise the foundation for a system that allows medical cannabis patients to feel truly protected.”
Panteli added that he now would be taking some time out to focus on family.
He added: “For the immediate future, I will be switching my focus on close family abroad that I haven’t been able to support during the Covid international restrictions of the last few years.”