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Mother and campaigner calls for cannabis to be legalised

Callie Blackwell with her book detailing the journey of her son Deryn's battle with cancer and recovery. Picture: Ian Burt

Callie Blackwell with her book detailing the journey of her son Deryn's battle with cancer and recovery. Picture: Ian Burt

A mother who gave her dying son cannabis oil has said MPs coming out in support of legalising cannabis has been ‘a long time coming’.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, former Conservative leader William Hague and health secretary Jeremy Hunt have been vocal about a need to look at the legal restrictions on using medical cannabis.

It comes after the mother of Billy Caldwell, from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, was given back cannabis oil confiscated from her at Heathrow Airport.

The 12-year-old has severe epilepsy and has used cannabis oil since 2016 to control his seizures.

Callie Blackwell, who lived in Watton and now lives in Stowmarket, has said her son Deryn, 18, is proof of the effectiveness of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

In March 2013 actress Linda Robson visited Deryn in hospital to lift the Blackwell family's spirits. Deryn wasnt allowed out of his room after his bone marrow transplant, but he still managed to communicate with Linda and his mother Callie. Picture: Blackwell family In March 2013 actress Linda Robson visited Deryn in hospital to lift the Blackwell family's spirits. Deryn wasnt allowed out of his room after his bone marrow transplant, but he still managed to communicate with Linda and his mother Callie. Picture: Blackwell family

Diagnosed with leukaemia at 10-years-old, 18 months later he was diagnosed with Langerhans cell sarcoma.

He underwent three failed bone marrow transplants and was told by doctors that a fourth attempt would be his last chance.

But Deryn got an infection and with no immune system he was given days to live. It was then Mrs Blackwell decided to secretly administer the cannabis oil.

“It saved his life on two occasions I have no doubt about that,” said the 38-year-old. “I knew what medical treatment the hospital were giving him while he was in the hospice and it was zero, other than palliative.

Callie Blackwell has released a book detailing the journey of her son Deryn's battle with cancer and recovery. Also pictured are younger brother Dylan and husband Simon. Picture: Ian Burt Callie Blackwell has released a book detailing the journey of her son Deryn's battle with cancer and recovery. Also pictured are younger brother Dylan and husband Simon. Picture: Ian Burt

“I toyed with the cannabis for a six-week period and I gave it and I didn’t and watched his body react in an incredibly positive way when he was administered cannabis. So I know for a fact that it has a tremendous affect on our bodies.”

The campaigner has said she is pushing for medical cannabis to be legalised for all medical issues and then regulated for everybody to use.

MORE - Watton mother Callie Blackwell will campaign at Parliament to legalise cannabis after she gave it to her ill son

She said: “It has been a long time coming. What will come of MPs discussing it, I don’t know as far as the bigger picture goes. I am pleased it is a step in the right direction.

“Regulation is the only way to keep all consumption safe. I am a pusher for decimalisation of cannabis across the board.”

She added: “I won’t stop until my son is no longer a criminal. I don’t want to be a criminal and I don’t want my son to be a criminal for being alive.”

MP Norman Lamb recently said in the House of Commons: “Isn’t it actually utterly shameful that in this country we continue to criminalise people who use cannabis in various forms for medicinal purposes, including the relief of pain.”

People asking for advice on using cannabis oil

Mrs Blackwell said she receives messages daily from families asking for help and advice in regards to their ill loved ones.

In her book, The Boy in 7 Billion, Mrs Blackwell documents Deryn’s journey and in it revealed her decision to secretly give Deryn cannabis to help ease his pain and stop him being addicted to the drugs he was being administered.

She said: “Every day I get emails from people finding themselves in the same situation that I was in, or a similar situation, and asking me for my help and asking me to get them cannabis oil. I don’t actually physically hand over any but I know people who do so I put them in touch. And that is what I have done for four years, totally illegally.

“Every time someone contacts me and asks me about cannabis oil and gets into a conversation, both of us are facing 14 years in prison for conspiring to supply.”

She added: ““These people that I have helped over these past four years, I have seen it working miracles for them.

“I don’t want to be helping these people. I want doctors to be able to prescribe it. But equally I want it regulated in a way where you can go into a tobacconist and buy it if you do so wish.”

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