PM under pressure to review laws on recreational cannabis use

Charlotte and Billy Caldwell

Charlotte and Billy Caldwell

MPs showed strong support for changes to the law, asking why doctors were able to prescribe heroin-based medicines but not those based on cannabis.

Challenging the government to emulate the ruling Liberal Party government in Canada which is on the "verge of agreeing something much more radical: a legal, regulated market for cannabis for recreational use", Hague appealed to the Tory's claim of being the party of pragmatism.

Billy was discharged from hospital early on Monday afternoon, but now Ms Caldwell, 50, from Co Tyrone, wants an urgent review of the law on the substance, which is banned in the United Kingdom despite being available in many other countries.

The Home Secretary Sajid Javid today announced that he had authorised a licence to be issued for Alfie to used cannabis-based treatments.

Javid intervened at the weekend to provide a 20-day licence to allow 12-year-old Billy Caldwell to be treated with cannabis oil.

In a statement to the House of Commons, he announced a review of the medicinal use of cannabis which could lead to patients in the United Kingdom being prescribed drugs derived from the banned plant.

He said current laws were "not acceptable to me", as he announced details of the panel being set up to advise ministers on the changes.

"This case. has shone a light on the use of cannabis medicine in this country and highlighted the need for the government to explore the issue further, and our handling of these issues further", said Nick Hurd, a junior minister in charge of policing.

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Speaking outside hospital, she said: "The fact that Billy has been discharged is testimony to the effectiveness of the treatment and underlines how vital it is that every child and every single family affected in our country should have immediate access to the very same medication".

"This battle is effectively over", he added. The first, led by chief medical officer Sally Davies, will make recommendations on which cannabis-based medicines might offer patients real medical and therapeutic benefits.

Officials at Heathrow Airport had previously confiscated Billy's cannabis oil after Ms Caldwell attempted to bring into the United Kingdom from Canada.

On Monday, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the government was not "getting the law on this kind of thing right", suggesting that a Home Office review would take place "as quickly as possible".

"There's a very good reason why we've got a set of rules around cannabis and other drugs, because of the impact that they have on people's lives, and we must never forget that".

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs will consider in the second part of the review whether changes should be made to the classification of these products on an assessment of "the balance of harms and public health needs".

Cannabis is a Class B drug, but - perhaps most importantly - it is a Schedule 1 drug, meaning that it is now considered to have no therapeutic value whatsoever. The Government is clear - we must prevent drug use in our communities and help those dependent on drugs to recover, while ensuring our drugs laws are enforced.

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