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Second job needed to foot cannabis bill

By day, Amanda Merendino works in a pharmacy.

By night, she takes on a second job in a pub to pay for the medical cannabis that has turned her life around.

The 29-year-old, who has had epilepsy since she was 12, pays almost $600 for a month’s supply of Tilray medical cannabis — a cost she is struggling to afford.

Ms Merendino said the medicine had transformed her from a skeletal “zombie” on strong medication to control eight or nine seizures a day. Her weight had plummeted to 42kg, with many people assuming she had an eating disorder.

Figures show that by last month, the Therapeutic Goods Administration had approved 2339 special access scheme applications for unapproved medical cannabis products, including 568 approvals last month alone.