Northern Ireland news

Billy Caldwell's mum's company sells cannabis oil

Charlotte Caldwell (50) and her son Billy (12) who is being treated with cannabis oil.

The campaigning mother of severely epileptic Co Tyrone child Billy Caldwell is the director of a company that sells cannabis oil at up to £500 a bottle.

Charlotte Caldwell, who has been treating her 12-year-old son Billy, with cannabis oil since 2016, has been pressuring the government to change the laws on the use of medicinal cannabis.

Last week the little boy's case gained global attention after a supply of cannabis oil Mrs Caldwell had purchased for her child in Canada where it is legal, was confiscated at Heathrow Airport by the Home Office.

It was later returned to him after the Home Office granted a 20-day licence for the use of the banned substance after the child was hospitalised suffering from seizures.

It was reported yesterday in the Daily Telegraph that Mrs Caldwell is the director of a company called Billy's Bud, set up in June 2017. It sells a type of cannabis oil - CBD - which is legal in the UK.

The type of oil that Mrs Caldwell has been treating her son with contains (THCA), which is illegal in the UK due to its association with the psychoactive effects of cannabis.

Billy's Bud Facebook page says the oil it sells in legal and does not contain THC.

A spokesman for Ms Caldwell said profits from sales of the cannabis products - which include oils, capsules, powder, gummies, shots and honey sticks - "were used to fund Billy's 24-7 healthcare needs".

The spokesman added that anybody who is critical of Ms Caldwell "legitimately doing whatever she can to ensure Billy's wellbeing in later life" should take "a long, hard look at themselves".

Billy Caldwell had been suffering as many as 100 seizures a day before being prescribed the cannabis oil containing THCA by a doctor in Northern Ireland.

His mother said he had been free of seizures for about 300 days due to the treatment.

On Tuesday, the home secretary said the use of medicinal cannabis was to be reviewed, which could lead to more prescriptions of drugs made from the plant.

However, said licences would be granted on an individual basis after assessment by an expert panel and the government would not be making the products widely available or considering legalising cannabis for recreational use.

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