Mother makes plea for low dose cannabis

FAMILY: David, Tara, Cheri and Sean at their Mia Mia home. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY
FAMILY: David, Tara, Cheri and Sean at their Mia Mia home. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

MIA MIA resident Cheri O'Connell has welcomed comments made by former Australian Federal Police chief that law enforcement agencies should exercise discretion with families using low dose cannabis to treat their seriously ill children.

Former AFP chief Mick Palmer's comments come as a Melbourne couple faces possible charges for using cannabis oil to treat their child's severe seizures. 

Ms O'Connell is concerned for the couple, Cassie Batten and Rhett Wallace, who first accessed medicinal cannabis after they saw the healing effect it had on her daughter, Tara. 

Now that the couple's Mernda home has been raided by police, she is concerned for their three-year-old son, Cooper.

"By the end of the week he’ll be in hospital, if not in intensive care," Ms O'Connell said. She said the decision to take the couple into custody and raid their home happened because police were concerned about the drug becoming more common.

"To me this is a, 'oh no, we’ve got 150 families using it now, we better do something now before this gets big'," Ms O'Connell said.

"This all comes down to fact that Victoria Police have never tested it," she said.

Ms Batten and Mr Wallace's situation is at odds with the freedom the O'Connell family have had to administer the same drug to Tara. 

Ms O'Connell said Tara not only received the drug from her parents at home but was also given it by trained professionals at hospitals, day care, school and respite centres. 

"It's on all her medical records to show that she’s on it and that her IQ has increased. We’ve got one doctor's letter that says it's nothing short of miraculous." 

Tara, 9, was suffering up to 65 seizures a day before she began taking medicinal cannabis but is now seizure-free.

Ms O'Connell said she and other families were trying to speak personally with health minister David Davis about the need for legislation for medicinal cannabis but had been unsuccessful in their attempts to meet with him. 


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