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Medicinal cannabis patients need a break

It is baffling as to why people who need medical help are denied it. Especially when that medical help is medicinal cannabis. On Saturday, The Examiner health reporter Tamara McDonald brought us a story about the Cleaver family, of East Tamar. Lyn Cleaver detailed her struggle and anxiety over growing her own medicinal cannabis crop at home, the product of which she uses to treat her son, Jeremy, who has severe epilepsy. "It used to make me incredibly nervous, now the only thing that triggers a real fear is hearing a police siren or seeing a police car,” Ms Cleaver told The Examiner. “We know people in Tassie who have been raided, and they're medicinal users." Medicinal cannabis does contain THC, the compound that gives cannabis its psychoactive qualities. For years advocates, scientists, medical professionals and patients have spouted the benefits of medicinal cannabis.

They have urged the government to change its ruling and legislation around the product. Finally, it appears that something is happening. In 2016, the federal government passed enacted legislation to dispense licenses to to grown the crops. The first of those licenses was granted this week. Almost 12 months ago, Victoria became the first Australian state to legalise medicinal cannabis. In Tasmania, the government is set to release its framework around the supply and use of the product this year. Health Minister Michael Ferguson told The Examiner that the state government would roll out the Controlled Access Scheme “as soon as practicable this year”. But for people like Ms Cleaver, “as soon as practicable” is not soon enough. She has watched her sons violent epileptic seizures subside since he began taking medicinal cannabis in 2014. "It's quality of life that cannabis has given him, he still has seizures but he's far healthier and has a far better quality of life," Ms Cleaver said. But she is still acting illegally. When you hear or read stories like that of the Cleaver’s, it is hard to fathom what the hold up is. When people are suffering so greatly, why can we not give them the help that they need?

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