TO campaign for change on drug legislation you need two things: nuanced debate and research.
Cheri O'Connell knows that all too well.
In her Mia Mia home sits a pile of official government correspondence. There are letters from former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Victorian Health Minister David Davis, local members, state ministers, federal ministers. None of them have gotten her any closer to her goal of making it legal for people to grow cannabis, she said.
Her motivation couldn't be further removed from the debate going on in Colorado, where recreational marijuana was recently legalised.
Ms O'Connell wants to be able to see her daughter Tara grow up.
Tara had been given a grim diagnosis that her Dravet syndrome - a rare form of epilepsy - would claim her life and that she may not live long past her seventh birthday.
Since Tara started using liquid cannabis doses in January last year she has shown such a marked improvement from her epilepsy that a neurology doctor noted it was "nothing short of miraculous".
Ms O'Connell said she can't imagine why anyone would criticise or oppose something that has demonstrated such a profound benefit for her daughter and her son, Sean, who also uses it to treat his epilepsy.
She said it was a choice between risking breaking the law and risking potential side effects, or death.
"In the end that's not much of a choice," she said.
"It's frustrating that it's got to this debate."
But it's a debate that she's happy to campaign for and one that should be had. More research is needed but if a law change can help prolong and improve people's lives then it needs to be considered.
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