There has been a call to allow a licence for administering medical cannabis to Alfie Dingley, but the Government must thoroughly examine the evidence in this area—both the stated benefits and the supposed risks of medical cannabis. Our policies must always be based on evidence and not frightened of scary headlines or chasing favourable ones. Only in that way can the House come to an informed decision on the wider issues.
Alfie Dingley is a six-year-old boy whose life is blighted by epileptic fits, and it is understandable that his family want him to have whatever medication they feel will help him. They look to us as politicians to facilitate that, but we are constrained by laws. Members supportive of drug policy reform would like the Home Secretary to issue a licence so that Alfie can continue taking the medication, but the Home Office has responded that the drug
“cannot be practically prescribed, administered or supplied to the public”.
Cannabis use is illegal in this country—we do not dispute that. However, we need assurances from the Minister that all the evidence relating to Alfie’s case has been looked at and that all avenues of treatment are being considered. We need confidence that the Minister and his colleagues are doing everything in their power to ensure that Alfie has the best possible quality of life.
This case is the latest in a long line of prominent examples that have led to more calls for legislation to permit the medical use of cannabis. Is it now time for a review of the law, to look at how we can better support those living in chronic pain, those with long-term degenerative conditions and those in the final stages of life?