The mum of an epileptic six-year-old has legally brought medicinal cannabis oil through the UK border for the first time after being given a special licence by the government.
“Today, for the first time ever in this country we have brought back THC oil through the airport legally, which is amazing,” Hannah Deacon said after being allowed through London City Airport with the oil from Amsterdam.
Her son Alfie Dingley, of Warwickshire, has a very rare form of epilepsy that causes up to 150 seizures a month.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid last month vowed to grant Deacon a licence after the case of Billy Caldwell sparked widespread debate around the issue of medicinal cannabis.
The 12-year-old’s mother, Charlotte Caldwell, was stopped from bringing cannabis oil into the UK to treat his epilepsy which resulted in him being hospitalised in a life-threatening condition.
The Home Office later released the medication to Caldwell in a move that is expected to pave the way for reforms on the medicinal use of the drug.
The government also established an expert clinicians’ panel to advise ministers on any individual applications to prescribe cannabis-based medications.
Deacon had urged Javid to intervene in her case after Caldwell was granted a limited licence for the drug to be administered to him in hospital.
Deacon, of Kenilworth, said at the airport: “It (the medication) is very, very important for him to have a normal happy life so it’s a momentous occasion for us, his whole family and for him most importantly.”
In an interview with the Press Association, Deacon said she had been “overwhelmed” and moved to tears when she heard the Home Secretary’s announcement.
She now hopes the process of attempting to get a cannabis licence becomes easier for families, saying their experience had been “more akin to a pharmaceutical trial application” than a family trying to get help for their son.
“There are lots and lots of families up and down this country who are suffering with children with severe epilepsy where medication and diet doesn’t work,” Deacon said.
“I’m not saying that it should be the first line of medication – there are other protocols to try.
“But if those protocols don’t work then medical cannabis surely, for the severely ill children, should be made available.
“It is just madness to think that people should be suffering like they are when there is something that could help them.”
Alfie’s family previously said his condition improved after using the oil in the Netherlands - where it is legal - and had handed a petition to Prime Minister Theresa May.