California legalises recreational marijuana
Marijuana for a calming effect is seen on sale at the Higher Path medical marijuana dispensary in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles a couple of days before the ban on the sale of marijuana for recreational use was lifted Robyn Beck/AFP

The Home Office has denied a request for a medical cannabis licence for a six-year-old boy with a rare form of epilepsy.

Alfie Dingley, from Kenilworth in Warwickshire, suffers from mutual seizures due to his childhood epilepsy (PCDH19). His rare condition, which could be improved with the use of cannabis, causes him to have up to 30 fits a day and once caused 3,000 seizures and 48 hospital visits in one year.

The six-year-old saw a dramatic decline in his seizures after taking a cannabis-based medication prescribed by a paediatric neurologist last September in the Netherlands, The Independent reported.

If he were to take the Dutch cannabis medication, it has been estimated Alfie would only have about 20 seizures a year.

The Home Office, however, denied the family's request, saying that the drug, which is illegal in the UK, "cannot be practically prescribed, administered or supplied to the public".

The Home Office acknowledged that individuals suffering chronic pain and illnesses are "looking to alleviate their symptoms". However, it maintained that any medicine must be "thoroughly tested to ensure they meet rigorous standards before being placed on the market".

It said that it cannot be practically prescribed, administered or supplied to the public and that "The Home Office would not issue a licence to enable the personal consumption of a Schedule 1 drug".

Hannah Deacon, Alfie's mother, revealed that the little boy managed to go 24 days without an attack while abroad and that the boy's cannabis dose was "very small," just three drops of oil.

"We never imagined how well it would work. He's just a six-year-old boy, he deserves a happy life. We've found something that makes him happy and now we've got to take that away."

Members of the all-party parliamentary group on drug policy reform have called on the Government to help in the boy's struggle.

Alfie's parents announced on their campaign website Alfie's Hope that they are fundraising for their son to go abroad to take the treatment.

The family said it was also campaigning for him to be able to use medical cannabis in the UK along with other children with epilepsy.

"We want our baby back, we want to give Alfie the chance of a happy life which he massively deserves," they said. "He's been through more than most go through in a lifetime. He deserves to have a wonderful life full of joy, not the pain he currently faces."