Cancard: Carly Barton Negotiates Law Enforcement, Politics & Gripes To Protect Legal Rights Of UK Medical Cannabis Patients

Here at Cannabis Law Report we’ve been hearing for the past few months about Carly Barton’s initiative to allow UK medical cannabis patients access to an official piece of identification,  which, she hopes will not only mean medical cannabis patients no longer pointlessly appear before the courts but will also begin to give those charged with enforcing the UK’s outdated cannabis law a greater understanding of medical cannabis issues whilst the current government deliberately keeps both legislation and enforcement in the grey zone.

Barton became the first official patient in the UK in 2018 to be prescribed herbal cannabis as a result of suffering a stroke in her mid 20’s.

Carly Barton


After 6 years of various medical regimes including copious prescriptions of opiates she was introduced to medical cannabis and found, like many others, that it was her Saul on the road to Damacus moment.

Working with the UK’s, United Patients Alliance,  Barton started learning more about the issues of medical cannabis and especially so with regard to patient’s rights in the UK, or lack thereof.


Click image to go to their facebook page


At a cost of £1500 a month for a private prescription  she soon discovered that she would have to take matters into her own hands and grow her own medical cannabis allowing her to ensure  supply but also control exactly what strains she needed for a maximum health response.



At which point things began to get tricky.

Barton decided that first stop should be to inform her local police station in Brighton that she would be growing cannabis at home for medical use and that being open and transparent about her intent would be the best way to approach law enforcement.



The local police force in Brighton had already been quite public in their enforcement approach toward semi-official hemp businesses with the very public raid and shut down of a hemp cafe Canna Kitchen in early 2020. So, Barton was unsurprised when she received the knock  on the door and a tearful WPC telling Barton that all her medical plants were being confiscated.

See our stories

Brighton , UK: Owner of UK’s first cannabis restaurant charged with supplying cannabis

UK: Remember Canna Kitchen Brighton ?


This, in turn,  led to Barton initiating  “Carly’s Amnesty Project” & Cancard and starting her working with  London based solicitors Mackrell, Red Lion Chambers,  the CPS (Commonwealth Prosecution Service) the DPP ( Director of Public Prosecutions) and the police to forge solutions for UK medical cannabis patients.



The experience with the local constabulary drove Barton  to the conclusion that the only way she and other medical cannabis patients in the UK would see any progress would be to work with the police and other relevant statutory bodies to ensure that patients weren’t being criminalized at every opportunity.

So….she started speaking with various regional commanders which in turn led her to  the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and the Police Federation  who said early 2020

As forces increasingly continue to move away from hauling people in possession of cannabis through the criminal justice system, the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) renews call for a fresh debate on prohibition of the class B drug.

With outdated prohibition laws failing 100 years on since they came into force, politicians need to have a rethink, says PFEW Drugs Lead Simon Kempton, who also makes it clear community resolutions should not be seen as police “going soft” on criminals.

“We are not calling for their legalisation or de-criminalisation, but clearly prohibition has failed. We now need an open, honest, transparent debate about how we tackle this issue taking evidence from around the world.”



Barton’s proposal, develop an identification system for medical cannabis patients around the UK that will be accepted by all (eventually) police forces and the solution …The Cancard a simple credit type piece of plastic that costs £30 a year and contains the following information


  • Photo
  • Name
  • DOB
  • Issue Date
  • NHS Number


All patients need supply to access a card is the same info as if you were applying for any other service such as the gas, electricity or a phone plan.

  • Bank Account No
  • GP Reference re cannabis prescription ( All medical records are disposed of once confirmation is received with regard to the prescription)
  • NHS Number
  • Address Telephone etc


The card is then printed and mailed to the medical cannabis patient.

Barton adds that data protection is extremely high on her agenda and that she is working with more than one tech provider to ensure that all cardholder’s details are completely secure and can only be checked against the relevant police database

Barton has provided an exhaustive FAQ page on the CanCard website if you would like to delve deeper

As of  mid  May 2021 24,685 Cancards have been issued

Learn more about how to apply by going directly to the site

It is worth noting that Barton has put the hard work in evidenced by the types of people  and organisations now backing Cancard

The Baroness Molly Meacher
The Baroness Molly Meacher
House of Lords

“More than a million patients will at last be free from the fear of arrest for taking their cannabis

medicine to relieve their pain or suffering, thanks to the Cancard.”



Simon Kempton
Simon Kempton
Police Federation

“I did not join the police to arrest people who are simply unwell and trying to manage their symptoms or pain. In fact I joined to help people in that position.

Initiatives such as Cancard are important because they give police officers vital information which they can use when they have to make decisions on the street.”



Jason Harwin
Jason Harwin
Deputy Chief Constable at Lincolnshire Police and National Police Chiefs Council Lead for Drugs

“I’m very grateful for the work that’s been completed so far which helps the Police service identify those that should be accessing their prescribed medication.

This is a really live issue, where the Police service finds itself stuck in the middle of a situation where individuals should legitimately be accessing their prescribed medication, but, because of availability and cost they can’t and therefore to address their illness rely on having to use illicit cannabis. This can’t be acceptable and places the service in a position where we could be criminalising someone because of their illness.”


In our conversation Barton noted, that for her, the approach to medical cannabis in the UK must be, eventually, a negotiated, what we’d call the Heartbeat approach to build compromise between patients, the medical profession, law enforcement and of course the most tricky of all, the politicians.



Barton thinks that a courts based approach won’t achieve the required results and will, if anything,  just antagonize the DPP and instead prefers to slowly draw all parties together to apply that final bit of persuasion to get a sensible piece of legislation through the house on the back of proper knowledge and education about medical cannabis and the individuals who need to take medical cannabis products for their health issues.

What’s next, … education, education and more education says Barton and, especially so, balanced and clear educational tools  for the medical profession, the police, relevant government departments & lawyers.

All of the above are required to undertake CPD (Continuing Professional Development) throughout the year so why not include clear information and clarification about current laws, rules and regulations with regard to medical cannabis so at long last relevant and clear knowledge can be provided to guide individuals and organisations to undertaking practical and sensible solutions to the mess that is currently medical cannabis in the UK .

Looks like Cancard is just the start.

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