MEDICINAL cannabis campaigner Vera Twomey will speak to British politicians today about her two-year battle secure a licence to import drugs for her daughter Ava to Ireland after being invited to the Houses of Parliament.
Vera will speak at a special meeting organised by American doctor Dr Frank D’Ambrosio, one of the leading voices for medicinal cannabis policy reform in the US. The meeting will be attended by British MPs in favour of legislation change in the UK regarding medicinal cannabis and will be chaired by MP Tonia Antoniazzi and Lord Nick Monson.
Vera’s daughter, eight-year-old Ava from Aghabullogue, suffers from a rare form of epilepsy named Dravet Syndrome. The family secured a licence to import the Bedrocan product which contains THC and CBD medicinal cannabis oil just before Christmas after a long campaign effort. The licence was only granted after Dutch doctors had presented evidence that Ava was benefiting from the drug and her seizures had ceased. The family had moved to the Netherlands, where the treatment is legal, in order to prove their case.
Calls for reform on medicinal cannabis in the UK legislation have ramped up in recent weeks after publicity for numerous cases where families have been left without access to drugs that contain medicinal cannabis.
The case of six-year-old Alfie Dingley — who has been denied access to cannabis-based drugs and suffers from multiple seizures a day due to a genetic mutation — was discussed in the House of Commons this week with former Home Office Minister MP Mike Penning telling the House that a delegation would be organised travel abroad and obtain drugs for Alfie if his family were not granted a licence by Wednesday.
The family would only be the second in Britain to be granted such a licence – the first being the family of 12-year-old Billy Caldwell whose drugs had been confiscated by Border Force officials due to UK drugs laws.
Ms Twomey said it will be an honour to speak about her experiences and add to the debate in the UK.
“It’s a shocking situation that they are inviting the likes of me over to England to speak in the House of Commons, whereas you have to walk to Dublin to speak to TDs in Ireland about it,” she told the Evening Echo.
“I am just amazed to be included and I’m kind of broken-hearted that the parliamentary people in England have more respect for the situation than the politicians in Ireland ever had. The Irish politicians in Government aren’t inviting people to come to Dublin to talk about their children and what they need for their illnesses. Yet, they’ll invite a woman from another country over to England to speak about her experience and Ava’s success with medicinal cannabis,” she added.