The confiscation of Billy Caldwell’s cannabis oil at Heathrow Airport in June sparked a chain of events that compelled the Home Office to decide to reschedule medicinal marijuana in the United Kingdom. The campaign, led by Billy’s mother Charlotte, was successful not only in changing policy to save her son’s life but the lives of other children with similar conditions.
But while families in England, Scotland, and Wales will be able to obtain medicinal cannabis with a prescription, Northern Ireland requires them to apply for a series of licenses before they can receive even the first dose of oil. Charlotte is familiar with the process and wants it to change.
A piece of legislation known as Billy’s Law would allow physicians to prescribe cannabis oil in exceptional cases in Northern Ireland. But Northern Ireland hasn’t had a devolved government since the Republican party walked out of the assembly with the Unionists en masse in 2017, crippling it.
“So in the spirit of never being idle when presented with an obstacle, we’re arranging to meet with as many Northern Ireland MLAs (Member of the Legislative Assembly) as we can and requesting Karen Bradley, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, joins us,” said Charlotte. “In that meeting, those politicians will be collectively requesting the UK Government implements in Northern Ireland identical procedures as will benefit families across the rest of the UK.”
Only days before the meeting, an announcement was posted to the Keep Billy Alive Facebook Page confirming that the politicians they contacted would be meeting with them on Friday.
“We are happy to announce that we have received confirmation from all our Political Parties in Northern Ireland that they will be attending our meeting in Stormont this coming Friday 10th August,” read the Wednesday announcement. “Standing beside us in full support of Billy’s Law, Medicinal Cannabis available on Prescription via our Doctors.”
A petition has also recently been set up on change.org to urge Northern Ireland politicians to take the necessary steps to implement Billy’s Law and allow the public to have access to medicinal cannabis.