Controversy sparked last week when United Kingdom customs agents confiscated a stock of cannabis oils from Charlette Caldwell, mother of 12-year-old epilepsy patient Billy Caldwell. Thankfully, the medications were returned over the weekend, but not until after Billy was hospitalized due to a severe seizure — his first in 300 days, according to his mother.
Ms. Caldwell was returning from Canada, where she had purchased the cannabis-based epilepsy medication, when the life-saving oils were confiscated by border agents at Heathrow airport. Ms. Caldwell, believing she was allowed to return with the cannabis oils, had declared the medication on her customs form. The medicines were taken and only returned after Billy had been hospitalized; the family is now licensed to hold and administer the Schedule 1 medication, but only for a 20-day period and only while remaining in the hospital.
“I truly believe that somewhere in the Home Office there’s someone with a heart, and I truly believe that Billy was pulling on their heartstrings.” — Charlotte Caldwell, in a statement, via the BBC
Billy started using cannabis-based epilepsy medicines in 2016 while on a trip to Colorado. In 2017, he became the first UK citizen to be prescribed cannabis oil in the country. Last month, however, Billy’s doctors were told by the Home Office they could no longer prescribe the cannabis-based epilepsy medication, which prompted Ms. Caldwell’s visit to Canada.
“No other family should have to go through this sort of ordeal, travelling half way ’round the world to get medication which should be freely available. My experience leaves me in no doubt that the Home Office can no longer play a role in the administration of medication for sick children in our country. Children are dying in our country and it needs to stop now.” — Charlotte Caldwell, in the BBC report