A petition was handed in to Government on 20th March calling for six-year-old Alfie Dingley to be granted a special licence to use medical cannabis. I sympathise profoundly with the situation he and his family are facing, and with others who are in search of the most effective treatment or pain relief for medical conditions.
Alfie’s life is blighted by up to 30 violent epileptic seizures a day. He and his family travelled to the Netherlands where Alfie took a cannabis-based medication, which his family claim significantly reduced the number of seizures he experienced. It is understandable that his family want him to have whatever medication they feel will help him. I believe Ministers must ensure that all evidence relating to Alfie’s case has been examined and that all avenues of treatment are being considered to ensure that Alfie has the best possible quality of life.
This case is the latest in a long line of examples that have led to more calls for legislation to permit the medical use of cannabis, and while I do not agree with legalising cannabis for general use, I believe the Government should look carefully at the case for the use of cannabis or cannabis products as a medicine.
Currently, cannabis and cannabinoids are classified as a Class B controlled drug (depending on individual circumstances, Class B drugs carry up to 5 years in prison and an unlimited fine for possession, and up to 14 years and an unlimited fine for supply and production), and the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 list cannabis as “a drug with no recognised medicinal uses outside research”. I believe that where there is evidence, the Government should consider the case for trials and the potential rescheduling of cannabis. This could enable its availability for use in healthcare in the UK.
The Government has said it is exploring every option within the current regulatory framework, including options of issuing a license to the family of Alfie Dingley. I will follow the Government’s progress closely.