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Britain will legalise medical cannabis from November after two cases involving children this year with epilepsy put pressure on the government to change the law.

Specialist doctors — not GPs — will be allowed to prescribe cannabis medication.

The UK change comes as Fox News reports a similar about-face could be taking place in the US.

The right-wing news service reported comments by California senator Dana Rohrabacher that the White House might be intending to tackle federal legislative reform on cannabis after the mid-term elections next month.

In Britain, the new law will go further than that in place in Australia, as it won’t limit the types of conditions doctors can prescribe medical cannabis for, and they will no longer have to seek approval from an expert panel.

In Australia, the type of condition depends on the state or territory a person is in. While the law doesn’t specify which conditions it can be used for, states such as NSW have in practice limited its use to conditions such as cancer-caused nausea.

Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis however and only when a patient can’t be treated by other licensed products.

There will be three routes to access it: as a special medicinal product for use under prescription, as a product that can be used in clinical trials, and as a medicinal product without marketing authorisation.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid had called for a review of cannabis medications after a boy named Billy Caldwell had his cannabis epilepsy medication confiscated at Heathrow airport in June.

Another boy, Alfie Dingley, 6, who also suffers life-threatening epileptic seizures, was rejected for a licence to use cannabis oil in March on the grounds that it was a banned substance.

The highly publicised case prompted the abrupt about-face, and Mr Javid’s office said in July that they would allow doctors to prescribe cannabis drugs.

On Thursday Mr Javid said he was moved by “heartbreaking cases involving sick children”.

“We have now delivered on our promise and specialist doctors will have the option to prescribe these products where there is a real need,” he said in a statement.

“I’m grateful to the expert panel – who have been considering cases in the interim – and to those who’ve worked hard to bring about this change at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Mr Javid stressed the law does not pave the way for recreational use.