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Family urges SA Government to legalise medicinal cannabis

Photo: Georgia-Grace (left) and Tabetha Fulton have a progressive chronic lung disease. A South Australian family says the Government's inaction on medicinal marijuana has forced them to choose between their home and their health. Sisters Tabetha and Georgia-Grace Fulton both suffer from a progressive chronic lung disease that causes massive inflammation around their lungs. Treatment has included steroids since birth, which their mother Bobby Fulton said had devastating effects. "The anti-inflammatories that Tabetha's been on since birth have done horrendous things to her growth and development, as a parent it's really, really hard to watch," she said. When 13-year-old Tabetha's toxicity levels grew dangerously high, the Fultons searched for more natural remedies. "We had to get her off steroids, they were killing her faster than the lung disease itself," Ms Fulton said. Eventually they tried medicinal cannabis oil, and the improvement was immediate. "I can play sport, I can surf, I can go back to school which is amazing as school is one of my absolutely favourite things, just being out of the house is amazing," Tabetha said. Medicinal cannabis is not legal in South Australia, so the Fultons travelled to Canada in the middle of last year and stayed there for 10 months. Legalising medicinal cannabis would be 'life-changing' They have now returned to South Australia, where they and their four other children live in Victor Harbor. They are calling on the State Government to legalise medicinal cannabis. "You shouldn't have to choose between your family and your health, and as parents we shouldn't have had to sell everything we worked for for 20 years to do it for her," Ms Fulton said. "For Tabetha and Georgia-Grace to access it safely in our own state would be absolutely life-changing." Tabetha is now back on steroids. "It would be absolutely amazing to be able to access it in my own home and not have to go to the other side of the world to live," she said. "I've got my family, I've got everything I need, but I'm not healthy, I can't do anything."

Photo: Tabetha Fulton's condition improved with medicinal cannabis, but she is now back on steroids. South East farmers prepared to grow cannabis Millicent farmer Garry Davies said farmers in the state's South East were prepared to grow the cannabis. "We've had a meeting with the local council and they're very supportive, they've identified some sites that would be available to us," Mr Davies said. "Probably a lot of misconceptions out there, people talk about marijuana and they sort of picture people just sitting around smoking bongs and shaking a tambourine and saying "yeah man". It's not like that at all." In April, Victoria became the first state to legalise medicinal cannabis. Greens MLC Tammy Franks said South Australia was lagging behind other states and territories. "South Australia stands along sitting on their hands letting sick and suffering South Australians suffer while medical cannabis is being progressed in all of the those other states and territories," she said. "We're not talking about a free-for-all, we want medical cannabis and 91 per cent of Australians support accessing medical cannabis."

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