The Guardian newspaper has dedicated a good amount of space to the Caldwell story and reports….
Caldwell was not cautioned for trying to “openly smuggle” the substance into the UK from Canada, but was instead invited to the Home Office to meet the minister of state, Nick Hurd, who told her it would not be returned.
The move provoked widespread criticism, and a new all-party parliamentary group including the Tory MP Dan Poulter and the former justice minister Mike Penning has restated a recent pledge to make policy recommendations to help remedy the situation as soon as possible.
They are among an increasingly vocal group of MPs from across the political spectrum who support the legalisation of medicinal cannabis.
Crispin Blunt, a former prisons minister and co-chair of the all-parliamentary group on drug policy reform, said: “Billy Caldwell is one child out of many hundreds, as well as many thousands of adults, who would benefit from cannabis derived medicines in the UK.
“We already happily accept the medicinal value of other plants such as poppies which can be used to create effective opioid painkillers and morphine as well as heroin. 75% of the British public support medical cannabis and the UK is ironically the world’s largest producer and exporter of legal cannabis.
“It is inconceivable that the Home Office continues to deny the medicines that Alfie and countless other patients so desperately need yet can access in many other countries including Canada, the United States and several EU states.
“A simple statutory instrument in Parliament will allow families out of the current absurd position of having to either expatriate themselves, or obtain cannabis illegally and face a prison sentence for caring for their own.”
Poulter, who works part time as an NHS mental health doctor, said there was increasingly strong medical evidence that medicinal cannabis improved the lives of people with several conditions, including multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and patients undergoing chemotherapy who were suffering from nausea.
“When there is growing evidence of the benefits of prescribing medicinal cannabis then it seems extraordinary that we can’t do so,” he said. “The legitimate medical needs of patients are being seen through the prism of drugs legislation from 1971. That can’t be right, sensible or humane.