Sir Patrick Stewart urges legalisation of medicinal cannabis

Sir Patrick Stewart has called for medicinal cannabis to be legalised as he gave his support to a young boy hoping to receive the treatment for epilepsy.

Alfie Dingley, aged six, suffers from a rare condition and needs cannabis oil to help reduce his seizures.

Alfie Dingley, his sister Annie, parents Drew Dingley and Hannah Deacon and actor Sir Patrick Stewart at 10 Downing Street (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Alfie Dingley, his sister Annie, parents Drew Dingley and Hannah Deacon and actor Sir Patrick Stewart at 10 Downing Street (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

His parents, Drew Dingley and Hannah Deacon, want the Government to let him use the medication, a banned substance in the UK.

They met with Prime Minister Theresa May and other ministers on Tuesday and handed a 380,000-strong petition to Downing Street.

Sir Patrick, who uses medicinal cannabis to treat his arthritis while living in California, joined Alfie and his family and gave his support to the campaign.

He 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.

"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.

"I had to have eight steroid injections in my fingers and knuckles, which was about as painful as anything one could imagine, because medicinal cannabis is not available here."

Ms Deacon said the meeting was a success and ministers have approved in principle Alfie being issued with a special licence for the medicine.

"We had a positive meeting, they accept the compassionate issuing of a licence for Alfie," she added.

"Now we need our medical professionals to write the prescription and they will expedite the licence for him."

Alfie, from Kenilworth in Warwickshire, can have up to 150 potentially life threatening seizures a month.

He has been taken to hospital three times since returning from the Netherlands four weeks ago, where his symptoms improved after he was treated with cannabis oil.

A number of other high-profile figures have backed the campaign, including Joanna Lumley and Sir Richard Branson.

WATCH: Joanna Lumley supporting Alfie Dingley. Take action and write to your MP, urging them to meet Alfie and his family in Parliament on 20th March. CLICK HERE: https://t.co/95CkY6X7wzpic.twitter.com/o0Nz01OqHE

-- End Our Pain (@End_Our_Pain) March 13, 2018

Mr Dingley described the support as "amazing" and added: "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."

He added: "This is our six-year-old son, we're not going to put something into him that's in any way illegal.

"What we're asking for is a medical grade product, made under laboratory conditions, which is bottled and prescribed in the way any pain killer is."

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