Charlotte Caldwell fights to bring cannabis medication rules in line with rest of UK

Charlotte Caldwell and her teenage son Billy
Charlotte Caldwell and her teenage son Billy

The mother of an epileptic teenager is calling for a new “Billy’s Law” in Northern Ireland.

Billy Caldwell’s mum Charlotte successfully led a campaign to get medicinal cannabis laws changed in the UK after her son’s medicines were confiscated at Heathrow Airport on June 11.

She said while families across England, Wales and Scotland can expect to be seamlessly prescribed medicinal cannabis by specialist doctors, as announced by Home Secretary Sajid Javid, those in Northern Ireland have to apply for several licences before they can receive the life-changing medication.

Ms Caldwell said: “Such decisions should be agreed by a Northern Irish Assembly, but as there is currently no government in Northern Ireland, the matter cannot be a devolved decision.

“But there is enormous support for what is being called ‘Billy’s Law’ – bringing Northern Ireland medicinal cannabis policy in line with the rest of the UK.

“Therefore we are assembling a cross-party group of politicians, from local councillors through to senior MPs, who, for once, are all agreeing that this should happen.”

The cross-party cross-rank group of Northern Ireland politicians will gather at Stormont on Friday in a bid to push through Billy’s Law.

A spokesman from the Department of Health said: “In the absence of an Executive, the department in consultation with legal advisors, continues to try and find a way forward on this very complex issue.”

Ms Caldwell, whose son Billy turned 13 on July 26, fought to have cannabis-based products made available on prescription to help control his frequent seizures.

That day, after considering expert advice, Mr Javid decided to reschedule the products, relaxing the rules about the circumstances in which they can be given to patients.