Family inspired quest for medical marijuana policy change

Mia Mia parents Cheri and David O'Connell are brave and inspiring people who convinced the Labor Party to push for the legalisation of medical marijuana, says Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews.

Mr Andrews said he had met the O'Connell family on two occasions and was so moved by their ordeal that he decided to push for the legalisation of cannabis oil for medicinal use.

Tara O'Connell, 9, has a severe form of epilepsy that causes her to have as many as 200 seizures a day, but she has been seizure-free since she started taking cannabis oil in 2012.

The Labor Party announced at the weekend it would take the policy to the November election and is seeking advice from the Victorian Law Reform Commission. 

Mr Andrews said he aimed to present legislation to Parliament this time next year and for medical cannabis to be legal in Victoria by the end of 2015.

He said the O'Connells had taken an enormous risk to go public with their story, but had done so to change the system and help other families with sick relatives.

"They're doing this not just for their own child but for so many others," Mr Andrews said. "They are to be commended for their bravery and the love and compassion they've shown to their child.

"When you listen to her mum and her story, no parent should be put in the terrible situation of choosing between listening to the law and protecting their child."

The man who supplies Tara with the oil, Tony Bower, is being charged with drug cultivation and will face a NSW court on Thursday. The O'Connell family has travelled to NSW to support Mr Bower.


FEBRUARY 16, 2011: Mia Mia's online angel

JANUARY 24, 2011: Mia Mia family stranded


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