Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has met with the families of severely epileptic children to reaffirm his support for their ongoing fight for access to medical cannabis.
As Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Law Reform, Jeff met with the delegation of sixteen families when they lobbied Parliament on 19th March. The families then marched up Whitehall to present a petition with over 570,000 signatures to 10 Downing Street.
Access to medical cannabis was legalised after some high-profile cases last summer, including that of 6-year-old Alfie Dingley. But despite the law change, it is believed that there has still not been a single new NHS prescription for the type of medical cannabis now used by Alfie. This has left families devastated and in despair.
Speaking about the campaign, Jeff said:
“The law was changed for good reason and members of the public are rightly outraged that the new policy has been introduced in a way that means these medicines are legal, but no-one can get them.
I will continue to offer my support to the campaign and will be pressing the Secretary of State Matt Hancock to intervene and break this deadlock. I was pleased to be one of over 100 co-signatories on the letter to Matt Hancock urging him to intervene.”
Peter Carroll, from the campaign group End Our Pain, said:
“The families really appreciated the support offered by Jeff. Last year’s law change only came about because MPs felt moved to support the high profile campaigning families last summer. We have ended up in the bizarre and seemingly cruel situation in which the red tape surrounding access to medical cannabis is so tight that if the children at the centre of last year’s campaigns were put through it even they wouldn’t get a prescription.
We accept that there should be a degree of caution in adopting new medicines, but the current situation is totally unacceptable”.