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FAQ's about cannabis based products medicinal [CBPM] Import Licences for individuals

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How long will it take for me to receive my import licence?

Timeline:  approximately 5-10 working days (not including weekends) from the date the last piece of complete and accurate information is received.

If there are queries or errors in the information sent to us, then the timeline will be longer.

Senior clinicians who do the verification have limited time among their other responsibilities to sign licences.

How do I ensure that my licence is processed efficiently?

What slows down the licensing process?

What if my prescription is future dated?

A controlled drug prescription is a legal document. For patients who are stabilised on treatment the clinic may provide a series of up to 3 prescriptions to cover a 3 month period.

We will accept all prescriptions when they arrive and you can complete your application ahead of the date in preparation.

The licence will then be issued on the date of the prescription or as close to the date as is appropriate. This is because the prescription is only legally valid from that date.  The Pharmacy also cannot supply the prescription ahead of the date on the prescription

What do I do with my import licence once I receive it?

Once you receive your import licence by email from the cannabis licensing team, you should forward it by email to your UK pharmacy so they can apply for an export licence. This will enable them to send your shipment along with this export licence..  

Can I call the licensing team to speed things up?

Our team can no longer take inbound calls since they are busy with issuing licences.   Be aware that the licensing team has hundreds of files to deal with at any given time.  There are periodic processing delays due to unexpected volumes, or time-consuming cases, and occasionally, staff illness. 

Please only email Cannabis Licensing with your full name in the subject line in extraordinary circumstances.  You will have provided your telephone number on the Application in case the team needs to contact you.   

If the matter pertains to your prescriber or pharmacy, please contact them directly.

Why does the licensing process seem so complex?

Provision of an import licence for a controlled substance is a legal process. It is therefore essential that all relevant and accurate detail is collected and verified before an import licence can be issued.  Any errors slow this process.  Prescriptions vary from month to month so it is not an automated process.

Experience has been that delays happen when prescriptions are either unreadable or contain errors which will be also be rejected by the Pharmacy supplying.  Our team is therefore obliged to chase these errors for correction, which can add several days to the licensing process.

If I am requesting an import licence on behalf of a relative, what additional permissions do I need?

The licensing team will require an email from the patient's own email, or a telephone number at which to contact the patient if they are unable to use a computer, in order to consent to another person communicating on their behalf in an application for a cannabis based product medicinal import licence.  It is advisable for any patient to inform their GP of their CBPM consumption.

What happens if my prescription is rejected by the Guernsey clinicians?

If a UK prescription does not appear to be appropriate, our Duty of Care requires that we inquire with the prescriber to clarify their intent.  This occurs in approximately 5% of cases and is extremely time consuming.  

Prescriptions will be queried for a number of reasons.  This can include prescriptions containing excessive quantities for a 28-day period, or from multiple doctors.

Individuals are reminded that they are only allowed to import sufficient product to serve their own personal needs within a time frame. 

What happens if nearly 28 days have passed since the prescription's date?

Prescriptions become invalid 28 days after their issue date.

If the application and prescription are completed accurately the first time, then this should not happen.  If the prescription or import licence application are submitted late, then there is not time to process all paperwork with regard to import/export/delivery.

For future dated prescriptions we can prepare the licence but we can only issue the import licence on or after the prescription date.

Please remember that a UK Controlled Drug prescription is only legally valid for 28 days, so you need to obtain the licence within that 28 days.  Otherwise, you will need to obtain a re-dated prescription from your doctor.

The import licence, once issued and dated, is valid for up to 6 weeks from the date of the original prescription.

What if I want to travel with my prescribed CBPM?

The Open General Licence will be hosted on the Guernsey Border Agency website for full details.

When travelling from Guernsey with your licenced medication, please ensure you meet the following 4 requirements:

  1. You have your import licence available to present to customs.
  2. You have your prescription available to present to customs.
  3. You have your licenced medication available to present to customs in its original packaging.
  4. You travel through the red channel in order to declare that you are travelling with a controlled substance.

With regards to the country you are travelling.

In the case of exportation from the Bailiwick, the traveller is at all times responsible for compliance with the law of the country or territory to which the controlled drug is to be exported, in particular any requirement for an import licence to be issued by the competent authority of that country or territory.

For the UK further information can be found on the Home Office website or by contacting them direct.

Drug and Firearms Licensing Unit
Telephone: 020 7035 6330
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

For Jersey please check with their site.

This link may be helpful

What is the Fair Processing Notice?

This notice is linked on the  import licence page.  It describes the use and storage of patient data in accordance with GDPR data protection laws.

Where can I learn more about taking CBPM?

Any information or advice pertaining to a prescription for CBPM must come from your prescriber.  He or she is entirely responsible for the safety of your prescription under their own General Medical Council licence.   Your local GP should be made aware by you that you are using CBPM to ensure that any medications you are prescribed locally are safe to take at the same time.  

What hours do the licensing teams work?

The team works normal weekday business hours.  The cannabis-licensing email is not monitored outside of business hours.  The team is small, and can be affected by sickness, absence and part time work.

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