The UK Home Secretary has announced that the Government will be launching an official review of medicinal cannabis.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid spoke at the House of Commons to say he will consider the evidence for making the drug legal for those with prescription – but reiterated that it would still be illegal for recreational use.
He also took the opportunity to announce that little Alfie Dingley will be granted a licence, after his parents have campaigned for him to be allowed to use cannabis-based drugs as a medication.
Alfie has a rare form of epilepsy which sees him having up to 150 seizures a month. However, his family say that while in the Netherlands, where Alfie was prescribed cannabis oil, he went 27 days with a seizure.
Javid’s announcement comes hours after Home Office minister Nick Hurd said an ‘expert panel’ – made up of clinicians – will look at the scientific benefits of cannabis medicine as well as any individual applications.
Cannabis-oil has been thrust into the spotlight lately, after the case of Billy Caldwell hit headlines earlier this month.
Twelve-year-old Billy has severe epilepsy, which his mum Charlotte was treating with cannabis-oil, which she had been obtaining through her GP. However, earlier this year she was told her GP would no longer be able to prescribe it.
Prompting Charlotte to fly out to Canada to pick up some supplies, she was stopped while flying into Heathrow and the oil was confiscated.
The young boy was rushed into hospital days later.
Speaking at the time Charlotte said: “There’s a lot of bureaucracy around this and we are working towards obviously Billy getting his medicine and it’s just one step at a time, but we are confident the Home Office is working with us and we are going to get this done.”
And sure enough, Javid granted a licence, saying he used his ‘exceptional power’ as Home Secretary to secure it.
After learning that Billy had been issued with a licence the family of six-year-old Alfie spoke out to say they had been waiting since April to hear if their son would be allowed one.
Aflie’s mum Hannah said: “It would be unconscionably cruel if the Home Office delay any further in issuing our medical team the
licence they need to administer medical cannabis to our son Alfie.
“The Home Office asked us not to seek publicity while our application was being put together and considered. We have complied with that request. But we’re now approaching three months. The time for process and bureaucracy has passed.”