I have the greatest sympathy for Alfie Dingley and for his parents, who clearly want nothing more than to alleviate their son’s suffering.
It is important that the UK Government makes any changes to its policy in a considered manner, with due respect given to the latest scientific evidence, and appropriate consultation from the right authorities. I would not want to see a change in the law, however well-intentioned, have unforeseen consequences that outweigh the good that it does.
The UK Government has said that it will consider issuing a licence to enable trials of any new medicine that contains cannabis or another similarly restricted drug, provided that it complies with the appropriate ethical approvals. Moreover, the UK Government is monitoring the different approaches that other countries take to medicinal cannabis, and is awaiting the World Health Organisation’s forthcoming review into the use of medicinal cannabis.
In Scotland, healthcare is a devolved issue, and so for any cannabis-derived product that has been given a licence by the Home Office to become available through the NHS, it must also be approved by the Scottish Medicines Consortium.