Last week Jim Starr flew into Bristol Airport from Amsterdam carrying 80 grammes of herbal cannabis as prescribed for him by a Dutch doctor. That’s just under three ounces of dried flower heads. He was carrying it in a parcel about the size of a telephone directory.
There was no one at customs, even though Jim went through the red channel and had telephoned ahead to advise the airport that he was bringing the cannabis in. He waited, even looked around for someone, anyone, but there was no one to be seen at all. He wanted to declare what he had with him. He’s never wanted to break the law. He knew that he was risking confiscation of the cannabis, possibly even arrest but the coast wasn’t just clear, it was deserted. The authorities had evidently decided that in their “war on drugs”, this time, discretion was definitely the better part of valour. They were in full scale retreat.
Jim had confirmed to the airport that he had the necessary paperwork to prove it was prescribed medicinal cannabis. His doctor had told him that he was protected under Article 75 of the Schengen Agreement which states “persons may carry the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances that are necessary for their medical treatment provided that, at any check, they produce a certificate issued or authenticated by a competent authority”
Of course, even then, it didn’t stop the journey being a nerve wracking and tense experience. Now, safely at home in Dorchester with his family, Jim understands from the Home Office that he is entitled to bring in the cannabis as prescribed for him by his Dutch doctor. He can bring in up to three month’s supply at a time if he carries it on his person. Otherwise he has to apply for an import licence and have it shipped to a UK pharmacist.