Home Office denies six-year-old’s cannabis hope
Alfie Dingley’s family want a licence to use the drug to combat crippling seizures.
The Government has ruled out allowing a six-year-old boy permission to use cannabis in an effort to combat a rare form of childhood epilepsy, despite mounting pressure from MPs for clemency.
The Home Office said the drug “cannot be practically prescribed, administered or supplied to the public”, meaning Alfie Dingley will not be granted a licence to take the drug.
It came as members of the all-party parliamentary group on drug policy reform called on the Home Office to assist with Alfie’s plight, in an effort to reduce his seizures and hospital visits brought on by his condition.
In a statement, a Home Office spokesman said: “We recognise that people with chronic pain and debilitating illnesses are looking to alleviate their symptoms.
“However, it is important that medicines are thoroughly tested to ensure they meet rigorous standards before being placed on the market, so that doctors and patients are assured of their efficacy, quality and safety.
“Cannabis is listed as a Schedule 1 drug, as in its raw form it is not recognised in the UK as having any medicinal benefit and is therefore subject to strict control restrictions.
“This means it cannot be practically prescribed, administered, or supplied to the public in the UK, and can only be used for research under a Home Office licence.
“The Home Office would not issue a licence to enable the personal consumption of a Schedule 1 drug.”
It (cannabis) cannot be practically prescribed, administered, or supplied to the public in the UK Home Office spokesman
Last September, Alfie went to the Netherlands to take a cannabis-based medication prescribed by a paediatric neurologist, and saw his seizures reduce in number, duration and severity.
But the family have since returned to the UK to continue fundraising for the campaign and to lobby for the licence to be granted.
Grandmother Maggie said: “Alfie has gone from a death sentence to the prospect of a more normal life with school, friends and fun, in his own familiar home.
“We want the people who have the power to give him this gift to put themselves in the position of Alfie’s family, to think creatively and with open minds and to find a way forward.
“Above all we want compassion to find a way round inflexible rules.”
Alfie’s seizures, which can number up to 20 or 30 a day, can gradually be controlled in UK hospitals, but over time it is likely he would be institutionalised with psychosis and die prematurely.