A FAMILY at the forefront of the fight for legalisation of medicinal marijuana is encouraged by the Victorian government's commitment to their cause, but say it won't fix the problems barring their access to health services.
A bill to legalise medical marijuana could be put to Victoria's parliament before the end of next year, with the Labor government determined to reform the state's drug laws.
New South Wales premier Mike Baird has committed $9 million for clinical trials into how cannabis could provide relief for chronically ill patients.
Mia Mia mother Cheri O'Connell said it was good the states were moving towards legalisation but it was not enough.
Ms O'Connell said her daughter Tara, 9, cut her foot last week and the family had to weigh up whether to risk a trip to hospital or deal with the injury at home.
The uncertainty about going to hospital, Ms O'Connell said, was because they knew hospitals would not allow them to administer the low-dose cannabis to control Tara's life-threatening seizures.
With Tara needing medication every three hours, Ms O'Connell it essentially barred her from accessing health services for her daughter.
The family faces a similar problem with the dentist, where a lengthy procedure would require a dose of medicinal cannabis to keep Tara seizure-free, yet her medication is not allowed on the premises.
Ms O'Connell said these issues could only be solved federally where low-dose medicinal cannabis is categorised as a prohibited substance by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
"It's illicit, it's in the same category as heroin," she said.
"We're caught up in red tape until that’s changed."
Ms O'Connell said her ultimate aim in the battle to get low-dose marijuana legalised was in prevention.
"If you get it early who knows what the prognosis could be. That’s where the research needs to be.
"Can we prevent x, y or z from ever happening."
Despite being 21 months seizure free, Ms O'Connell said her daughter would never be "your average Joe".
But she said, with easier access to medicinal cannabis in the future, there was hope for children in the beginning stages of their illness to get better before they decline.