Saturday 16 March 2019 02:19:19 PM

Shannon Welcomes Cannabis Oil Access For Ards Girl
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A young family in Newtownards are after a long campaign, delighted to have access to medicinal cannabis oil for their daughter.

Strangford MP Jim Shannon backing the use of medicinal cannabis oil.

Strangford MP Jim Shannon MP has welcomed the Home Secretary’s reclassification of Cannabis Oil for medicinal use which will be presented in a Bill to the House of Commons in October this year.

“This is the logical conclusion of the on-going campaign and I was heartened to be informed by Sophia Gibson’s parents Danielle and Darren that they will be the first licence holder of medicinal cannabis oil.  The family have to receive some training on the use and dispensation of the cannabis oil, but the for this family in Northern Ireland to have that designation of being the first to be granted a licence is truly wonderful news.

“The Gibson’s have from the beginning followed the process stage by stage and have now by doing just that got to the end of their campaign successfully.  It is marvellous news, and just last week I met Danielle, Darren and Sophia and what a joy to see Sophia with energy and doing so well. It is at moments like this we see that all the hard work for Sophia, Danielle and Darren’s perseverance has paid off.

“This is great news for the health of this young girl from Newtownards that captured the heart of Ards, Strangford and indeed the UK.”


Cannabis oil has proven to help relieve symptoms in some medical conditions.

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, cannabis is considered to be a Schedule 1 drug and as such is deemed not to have any therapeutic significance to patients and therefore a doctor cannot prescribe this under the current legislation regime.  But recent research has proven there are important benefits from using cannabis oil in some medical cases. Currently, it is illegal to have cannabis – to have it in your possession, bring it into the country, or create products from it or supply the cannabis or products in the UK.

There has been a growing campaign to have cannabis oil legalised in the UK for medical use and the cases of two young boys recently with very significant types of epilepsy has stimulated a discussion in the House of Commons over the legalities, ethics and social implications of medical cannabis. Boys Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell both with serious health conditions have seen a reduction in their symptoms in taking cannabis oil whilst abroad.

In June 2018 Billy’s mother Charlotte Caldwell could not take cannabis oil into the UK from Canada and her supply was removed at Heathrow Airport. Billy was subsequently admitted to admission to hospital within days of his arrival in the UK suffering without the benefits of the cannabis oil to relieve his symptoms. Home Secretary, Sajid Javid then after consideration also issued an emergency licence for Alfie Dingley. The Home Secretary then went on to express his dissatisfaction with the legislation around medicinal cannabis and a review will now take place. Meanwhile, if cases present themselves for the use of medical cannabis, the Home Secretary has a panel of experts on hand to help him consider the merits of the case for a licence for use. The review is ongoing.