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Anorak News | Cannabis: a cruel law pauses for Billy Caldwell

Cannabis: a cruel law pauses for Billy Caldwell

by | 5th, July 2018

The cretinous rule that led to 12-year-old Billy Caldwell’s medicine being confiscated at Heathrow airport has not been undone. It’s been paused. The matter of how Billy’s mother, Charlotte Caldwell, can best care for her ill and suffering son reached the desk of the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, who in his wisdom granted a licence for cannabis oil to be administered to the boy at home. Javid’s never met the lad but as a former banker he is ideally placed to know what’s best for Billy.

A doctor in Northern Ireland thought he knew what was best for Billy. In 2017 that GP saw the improvement in Billy after Charlotte had taken him to America to see paediatric neurologists. They had prescribed cannabis oils. And these drugged helped. The GP continued the treatment, prescribing medicinal cannabis oil on the NHS. It continued to work. Billy went 300 says without an epileptic seizure. Then the Home Office spotted the horror and ordered the GP not to renew the prescription. The GP was breaking the law. Give Billy the medicine and be disbarred. But now the Home Secretary says the law can be bent and Billy can get a medicine that helps him.

Javid has been advised, of course. He’s listened to experts, considered the options and the evidence, and, as an adult, made up his own mind about medical cannabis. The problem is that he and other politicians get to make up your mind as well, or at least turn you into a social pariah if you consider the laws they pass and leave unchallenged wrong, and decide that medical cannabis is helpful.

The Government has issued a statement to celebrate its humanity. “The Department of Health yesterday received an emergency licence application from Belfast Trust clinicians regarding medicinal cannabis use for Billy Caldwell. An emergency licence has today been issued by the department, replicating the licence issued last month by the Home Office for treatment at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London. We have also been in discussions with the Home Office to finalise arrangements for the immediate transportation of Billy’s medicine from London to the Belfast Trust.”

Funny, no, how the sight of an ill child having his medicine confiscated by the uniforms can change minds. As TV crews broadcast images of Billy hugging his careworn mother, the Home Office was telling us there is “no recognised medicinal benefit” to cannabis. Anyone using cannabis to dull the pain and the symptoms of MS, cancer, epilepsy and more was a fool and a criminal. Now, a few weeks later, the politicos think there might be something useful in cannabis. No new findings have been made in that time but there has been lots of bad Press for the Government.

So will all parents have to fight the law as hard as Billy Caldwell’s mum to improve the lives for their flesh and blood? The Government is investigating laws around medical cannabis. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is musing on the “balance of harms and public health needs”. But this is about who knows what’s best for the sufferer: their loving mum or the authoritarian State?

Who would you trust?



Posted: 5th, July 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians Comment | TrackBack | Permalink