U.K. border security officials at Heathrow Airport have seized CBD oil intended for a 12-year-old epilepsy patient. Charlotte Caldwell, the mother of Billy Caldwell, told reporters that the British government had “most likely signed my son’s death warrant.”
Young Billy has a severe form of epilepsy that causes up to 100 seizures per day. He and his mother had traveled to Canada to obtain a six-month supply of cannabis oil to treat Billy’s condition. When they returned home, border officials at Britain’s busiest airport seized Billy’s medication.
Mum Vows to Fight On
Charlotte Caldwell said afterward that she was undeterred by the government’s action.
“I will just go back to Canada and get more and I will bring it back again because my son has a right to have his anti-epileptic medication in his country, in his own home,” she said.
“Let me tell you something now: we will not stop, we are not going to stop, we are not going to give up, we have love, hope, faith for our kids and we are going to continue,” she added.
Billy began treating his condition with cannabis oil in the U.S. in 2016. And last year, he became the first person in the U.K. to receive a prescription for medical cannabis from the National Health Service. But Britain’s Home Office ended those prescriptions last month. With only one dose of his medication remaining, the pair flew to The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto for help.
Charlotte lays the blame for her son’s predicament squarely at the feet of Home Office Minister Nick Hurd.
“It’s Billy’s anti-epileptic medication that Nick Hurd has taken away, it’s not some sort of joint full of recreational cannabis,” she said.
She also noted that the officers that seized Billy’s medicine were compassionate to the boy’s plight.
“They are parents themselves and they were very conflicted about removing the medication from me. In fact, one of them had tears in their eyes when he was doing it. They did not want to do it,” she said.
Petition Seeks Debate in Parliament
Billy is not the only child to struggle with the U.K. government for the right to use medicinal cannabis. In March, six-year-old Alfie Dingley received special permission to use cannabis oil to treat his epilepsy. And Scottish mother Karen Gray’s efforts to secure cannabis oil for her son Murray also made the news.
Gareth Lendrum, who doesn’t consume cannabis himself, believes it’s time to stop treating patients one by one. He began growing medical marijuana to help treat his partner’s cerebral palsy two years ago. But when he was busted by police, the couple and their two children ended up homeless, Lendrum told High Times.
So, Lendrum started a petition calling on the U.K. government to let the people vote on a medical cannabis referendum. Other legalization petitions have failed in the past, but Lendrum’s takes a novel approach. Instead of calling on Parliament to legalize medical cannabis outright, he’s asking MPs to let the people decide.
After the petition received 10,000 signatures, the Home Office issued a curt response. “This Government has no plans to legalize cannabis.” The statement cited evidence that said cannabis is a “significant public health issue and can unquestionably cause harm to individuals and society.”
But that response didn’t satisfy Parliament’s Petitions Committee. The chair has called on the Home Office to revise its response, according to Lendrum. And if the petition receives 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in Parliament. That could lead to the referendum Lendrum seeks.