A former DUP health minister has welcomed the news that a young epilepsy sufferer can be treated with a cannabis oil, and said the decision will in no way lead to a relaxation of laws around the drug’s recreational use.
Jim Wells said the Home Secretary’s announcement on Thursday – that 13-year-old Billy Caldwell from Co Tyrone can be treated with the previously banned products – was “the right decision”.
Billy’s mother Charlotte had fought a campaign to raise awareness about the severity of her son’s condition and how the use of cannabis oil, under temporary licence, had helped control is frequent seizures.
Responding to the ground-breaking policy decision taken by the Home Secretary, Ms Caldwell said: “For the first time in months I’m almost lost for words, other than ‘thank you, Sajid Javid.’”
Yesterday, Mr Wells said the necessary safeguards were in place to ensure the new guidelines on cannabis oil use would not be open to abuse.
“It is being done on a case by case basis,” he said.
“What is happening here is that a tiny number of people, under the strictest possible controls with a very strong portfolio of medical evidence – I don’t think we then leap from that to supporting the campaign for the legalisation of cannabis.”
Mr Wells added: “It would be a fairly wide step to then move from that to go to the Dutch situation where you have unlimited supply available to the public. The two must be totally separated.”