LONDON (AP) — Former British Foreign Secretary William Hague called Tuesday for the government to take steps toward legalizing marijuana.
The former Conservative Party leader, now a member of the House of Lords, wrote in Tuesday’s edition of The Daily Telegraph that the effort to control cannabis has been lost and that it is “deluded” to pretend otherwise.
“Everyone sitting in a Whitehall conference room needs to recognize that, out there, cannabis is ubiquitous, and issuing orders to the police to defeat its use is about as up-to-date and relevant as asking the Army to recover the Empire. This battle is effectively over,” he said.
Hague changed his public stance on cannabis policy days after the government relented and allowed a 12-year-old epileptic boy to receive cannabis oil treatment that his mother said was needed to prevent life-threatening seizures.
The medicinal use of marijuana is barred in Britain but an exception was made for the boy after he was hospitalized with seizures.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said he was convinced after talking to clinicians that the boy, Billy Caldwell, faced a medical crisis.
The boy’s mother, Charlotte Caldwell, has called for urgent liberalization of laws governing medicinal marijuana use in Britain. She says cannabis oil is the only treatment that has warded off her son’s seizures.
Britain does not recognize cannabis oil as a treatment for epilepsy in children but the National Health Service says it is studying possible uses of marijuana products for treatment of childhood epilepsy and several other diseases.