Sir Patrick Stewart Calls For The Legalisation Of Medicinal Cannabis In The UK
Sir Patrick Stewart went to 10 Downing Street to hand in a petition calling on the government to legalise cannabis for medicinal use, alongside the family of a six-year-old boy with epilepsy who have campaigned for its legalisation.
Little Alfie Dingley has a form of epilepsy that causes him to have up to 150 seizures every month - however, after legally receiving medical cannabis oil while in the Netherlands he went for 27 days without a seizure.
His family are now urging the UK government to allow the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
The family has managed to pick up 370,000 signatures on a petition which they handed over today, the Independent reports.
Amongst those signing the petition was Star Trek actor Stewart, who said: "How could one not support Alfie, hearing what his life has been and the benefits given to him by being able to use medicinal marijuana?"
Seventy-seven-year-old Stewart says he uses medical cannabis when he is in California, which he prefers to the 'painful steroid' injections he has to have when in the UK.
He continued: "There has never been a stronger case for the legalisation of medical marijuana.
"I have been registered for medical marijuana in California for over three years and have found it immensely beneficial for my arthritis."
Alfie, who has a rare form of epilepsy called PCDH19, and has been hospitalised almost 50 times in a year as a result.
His family noticed that while in the Netherlands, where he was prescribed cannabis oil, the length and severity of his seizures were dramatically reduced. His family applied for a special license for him to use it in the UK, but were rejected.
While in the UK Alfie is offered steroid medications, but his family say these come with a number of harmful side-effects, including organ damage.
His dad Drew told the Independent: "Alfie's condition is worsening, which is obviously a worry.
"The steroids have side effects, they make people more aggressive and we've seen a change in his behaviour. We just want our little boy back, our happy little six-year-old playing with his sister.
"What we're asking for is a medical grade product, made under laboratory conditions, which is bottled and prescribed in the way any painkiller is."
His mum Hannah, added that the decision should be a 'no brainer' as their little boy's condition currently costs the NHS thousands, which could be significantly reduced if he was allowed to use the oil.
A spokesperson for Theresa May said the government was committed to exploring 'a range of options to find a solution for Alfie'.
Source: The Independent
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