The family of a little boy with a rare form of epilepsy have welcomed the Home Secretary’s decision to allow Billy Caldwell to use cannabis oil and are now hopeful they will also be granted a licence.
The family of six-year-old Alfie Dingley have campaigned to legalise cannabis oil for medical use, which they say cuts the number and severity of seizures he suffers.
Mum Hannah says that while they were in the Netherlands, where Alfie was prescribed cannabis oil, he went 27 days with a seizure, where previously he was having up to 150 a month.
Hannah and Alfie’s dad Drew applied to the UK government to allow their son to use the oil in April, however, despite being promised by Theresa May that the application would be processed ‘speedily’, they say they have still not been given an outcome.
Following the news that Billy, 12, would be allowed to use cannabis oil, Hannah told ITV: “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.”
Back in April, the Aflie’s Hope campaigners got over 370,000 signatures on a petition, which also got the backing of Sir Patrick Stewart – who uses medical cannabis when in the US to treat his arthritis.
Speaking at the time, Sir Partick said: “How could one not support Alfie, hearing what his life has been and the benefits given to him by being able to use medicinal marijuana?
“There has never been a stronger case for the legalisation of medical marijuana.
“I have been registered for medical marijuana in California for over three years and have found it immensely beneficial for my arthritis.”
Alfie is currently offered steroid medications, but his family say these come with a number of harmful side-effects, including organ damage and ‘aggression‘.
Drew told the Independent: “What we’re asking for is a medical grade product, made under laboratory conditions, which is bottled and prescribed in the way any painkiller is.”
Hannah adds that the decision should be an easy one for the government to make as his condition is costing the NHS thousands – she says he was hospitalised almost 50 times in a single year and that by allowing him cannabis oil they could seriously reduce the amount spent on his care.