20/03/2018 10:17 GMT

Alfie Dingley, Six-Year-Old With Rare Epilepsy, And His Mum Present Cannabis Petition To U.K. Government

Medical cannabis oil has changed the boy's life – at one point, he was suffering 3,000 seizures per year.

A six-year-old boy suffering with a rare form of epilepsy and his mum are presenting a petition to the Government today [20 March] to be granted a licence to use medical cannabis.

Alfie Dingley’s epilepsy, PCDH19, triggers multiple serious seizures and at one point he had 3,000 seizures and 48 hospital visits in a year. He has previously travelled to Holland - where cannabis oil is available for medical purposes - and it improved things “dramatically”.

In February 2018, the government quashed Alfie’s hopes to get permission to use medical cannabis as the Home Office said the drug “cannot be practically prescribed, administered or supplied to the public”. Today, Alfie and his mum, Hannah Deacon, from Warwickshire, will present the petition, which has more than 370,000 signatures in Parliament. 

“This isn’t a time for bureaucracy - this is a time for compassion,” Deacon said, according to the BBC. “I don’t want to break the law by going to Holland and bringing his medical cannabis into the UK illegally. And why should I have to do that?”

In February, members of the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on drug policy reform called on the Home Office to issue a licence for Alfie to continue taking the medication, which he is currently not permitted to have in the UK. “It would be heartless and cruel not to allow Alfie to access the medication he needs to make his life as seizure-free as possible and to keep him out of hospital,” said Crispin Blunt, co-chair of the APPG. 

“Parliament really must look at reforming our laws to allow access to cannabis for medical purposes, which has huge public support. Right now, however, the Home Secretary can grant a special licence for Alfie to get the drug he needs.”

Since news of Alfie’s petition gained popularity, Deacon said many people have written to their local MPs urging them to meet the family. In Early March, former justice minister Sir Mike Penning said he had “huge sympathy” for Alfie.

The MP for Hemel Hempstead said in his view there was “substantial scientific evidence showing that cannabis is a harmful drug and, in its street form, is a gateway drug for many users”.

The Times also reported that Dr Lord Winston, a fertility pioneer, backed the family’s pleas for the licence to take the medicine in Britain. 

You can follow Alfie’s journey on his Facebook page ‘Alfie’s Hope’.

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