Politicans back calls for changing 'absurd' medicinal cannabis laws

Politicians have shown their support for changing "frankly absurd" laws surrounding medical marijuana
By Sam Blewett, Press Association

POLITICIANS have shown their support for changing "frankly absurd" laws surrounding medical marijuana after a severely epileptic boy's high-profile battle for treatment.

Charlotte Caldwell secured a victory for her 12-year-old son Billy when the Home Office returned some of the medication confiscated as she brought it into the UK from Canada.

However, the emergency licence granted by Home Secretary Sajid Javid only allowed for about 20 days of treatment.

Crispin Blunt, a Conservative MP who co-chairs an all-parliamentary group on drug policy reform, called on Sunday for a re-think on policy.

"We need to get serious now about getting the benefits of these medicines, and move to change the frankly absurd position we are in," he said, according to the BBC.

Dr Dan Poulter, a Conservative former health minister who has supported the Caldwells, said a change in legislation would be simple.

"In my view, a simple tweak to the law should enable the prescription of medicinal cannabis by doctors and I will now be working with my parliamentary colleagues to look at moving control away from the Home Office to the Department of Health," he said.

Dr Poulter, the MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, also said he was optimistic the Government will return the remaining six bottles confiscated at Heathrow Airport on June 11.

"Although Billy has so far only been given one bottle of his medication, I am hopeful that the Home Office will continue to show compassion towards Billy, and allow the return of the remainder of his anti-epilepsy medication," he said.

Former drugs minister Norman Baker has described the confiscation as "cruel and inhumane", and renewed calls for a law change.

"It became very clear to me in my time as drugs minister that cannabis has useful medical properties and, indeed, that it is the only substance that works for some people, a situation widely recognised in other countries," the Liberal Democrat said.

SNP MP Ronnie Cowan said the UK is "out of touch" in its stance to medical marijuana and pointed to countries such as Italy, Germany, the USA and Canada for modernising their laws.

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