Minister ‘told mother to flout marijuana law’ for epileptic son

October 27, 2019 by erfa5t8

A government minister appeared to suggest that the mom of a child with extreme epilepsy need to illegally bring medical marijuana into the nation, it has emerged.

The possibly life-saving medicine is effective for a variety of treatment-resistant conditions and will have been < a href= "https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/oct/11/uk-to-allow-doctors-to-prescribe-cannabis-based-medicine-epilepsy-sajid-javid "title= "" class =” u-underline “> legal for a year on Friday. However, in spite of health secretary Matt Hancock’s guarantees that it would be available on the NHS within numerous months, there has actually not been a prescription for full-extract marijuana oil on the NHS reported since its legalisation. Doctors have efficiently been blocked from prescribing it due to an absence of clinical evidence.

Now, it can be divulged that then junior health minister Seema Kennedy appeared to recommend to a mom that she might flout the law by purchasing medical cannabis overseas and bringing it into the UK without a licence, which would be illegal.

Joanne Griffiths, whose child Ben’s seizures fell from 100 a day to 10 after he began taking medical cannabis at a cost of about ₤ 6,000 a month under private prescription, says that, at an occasion with Kennedy in June, she voiced her concerns over potentially criminalising herself. But she states Kennedy appeared to dismiss her stress and anxieties, and seemed to recommend she needs to go ahead.

He would return to hundreds of seizures a day, suffering dreadful injuries and most likely die

Joanne Griffiths, mother

Asked whether Kennedy, now the immigration minister, waited her remarks, a federal government spokesperson stated: “The minister is clear that at no point did she promote for her constituent to break the law and totally backs the federal government policy. It is illegal to import cannabis-based items for medical use to the UK without a Home Office importation licence.”

Nevertheless, according to a recording passed to the Observer, Kennedy informed Griffiths that bringing the products into the nation was one of her alternatives. “So the choices, I think, open are import licence, what else [sic] options? Go and travel or get someone to travel and bring it in,” said Kennedy.

In April, medical marijuana seized at an airport from Emma Appleby– whose nine-year-old daughter Teagan has Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which can cause approximately 300 seizures a day– was returned by the department of health after about a week. When Griffiths raised her issues, Kennedy is heard saying: “Well, you state that, and obviously, I expect strictly speaking, but I believe with– I can’t keep in mind Teagan’s mum’s name– they were launched rather rapidly, weren’t they?”

Griffiths, who is one of a number of parents lobbying the government for broader access to medical cannabis, stated that she had told Kennedy she would tape their discussions. But the MP was uninformed she was being taped. Griffiths, whose application for an import licence was later on turned down, travelled and returned with the medicine without informing border guards. She said she did this because she feared her son– who has such serious epilepsy that he typically uses a helmet– would die if he could not have the medicine.

” He would return to hundreds of seizures a day, suffering dreadful injuries and most likely pass away,” Griffiths informed the Observer. “That’s the truth of it. That amount of seizures does irreparable damage to his brain.”

Joanne Griffiths and son Ben, wearing a protective helmet.


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Frustrated at the political and legal deadlock, families have accused companies and middle-men of profiteering from expensive prices for privately prescribed full-extract marijuana oil. A variety of households have actually threatened to go on hunger strike, and to camp outside 10 Downing Street, if open door is not expanded by 1 November.

” We’re not prepared to wait anymore,” stated Griffiths. “We need urgent intervention now, however the authorities are failing us on every single level. I’ll hunger strike for as long as it takes, up until our children get the medicine they need.”

SNP MP Ronnie Cowan, the vice-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on medical cannabis under prescription, said that Kennedy’s remarks showed that she understood how moms and dads were being forced into illegal situations, and advised her to assist make medical cannabis totally free on the NHS as soon as possible.

” For many individuals this refers life or death,” he told the Observer. “They need to not be fobbed off with faint guarantees or motivated to break the law.”

On Wednesday, Boris Johnson was asked by Cowan when children experiencing epilepsy would have the ability to gain access to medical marijuana legally and at no charge.

In his action, the prime minister did not refer to prescriptions of cannabis-based medications such as Sativex and Epidiolex, which have actually been supplied to clients but are said not to be as effective as full-extract oil, which has a greater THC material– the psychedelic part of cannabis.

He informed your house of Commons he understood that people in requirement of medical marijuana were going through “desperate difficulties”.

” The chief medical officer and NHS England have actually made it clear that cannabis-based products can be prescribed for medical usage. It should be up to doctors to choose when it remains in the very best interests of their patients to do so,” he said, before appearing to offer a conference to provide further reassurances.

However, Griffiths offered his remarks brief shrift and said the prime minister had yet to respond to campaigners’ letters.

” They’re standing up in parliament and stating clinicians can recommend, but the NHS trusts are not enabling it. This is why we’re being required to do a cravings strike to bring this to Boris Johnson’s attention for him to urgently step in.”

On Friday, Kennedy, MP for South Ribble, announced she would stand down at the next basic election. The mother of 3 said she would be concentrating on other priorities in her life.

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