Cannabis Oil Combats Toddler’s Seizures In Canada

A Summerland family of a three year old girl who has been fed marijuana oil to combat her seizures for the past year says she has made drastic improvements.

Kyla Williams’ grandmother Elaine Nuessler says the oil greatly reduced the hundreds of seizures she suffered every day.

The child is now off all pharmaceutical drugs.

“She was pretty out of it a lot of the time on the pharmaceutical drugs. With the cannabis oil we have seen a huge amount of success as far as the amount of seizures go. She was 200-300 a day, she is now down to maybe 10.”

Nuessler launched Kyla’s Quest, a website providing education about medical cannabis for sick kids.

“To watch a human life form, it doesn’t matter, deteriorate, knowing there is a possibility, and even the slightest possibility knowing there is some relief that is huge.”

Nuessler is advocating for Health Canada to change its laws.

Right now licensed producers can only sell dried medical marijuana, forcing the family to obtain the oil illegally.

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Israel: Incoming Dep. Health Minister Litzman Announces Support For Medical Marijuana

In what many might view as a surprisingly uncharacteristic move, incoming Deputy Health Minister, MK Yaakov Litzman (UTJ) addressed the issue of medical marijuana in a positive light, moving towards including it in the list of state-subsidized medications. This comes as a result of an appeal by parents of children with epilepsy.

Medical marijuana is legal in Israel, though it is only legal in 23 states in America. It has many uses in medicine, including pain control, increasing appetite, glaucoma, and most importantly, against epilepsy. Not only is it prohibited for use in many places, but it is illegal to do pharmaceutical research on marijuana in laboratories. Israel is a leader in research into medical uses for marijuana and has one of the highest per capita rates of medical use, with over 21,000 Israelis being prescribed.

Cannabis oil is one of the few drugs that is effective in severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy (SMEI), also known as Dravet Syndrome. A strain of marijuana was developed that is particularly high in CBD’s and very low in THC. This means that the medicinal qualities are intensified but they are accompanied by little or no narcotic (stoned) effect. Children with Dravet’s syndrome can suffer an average of one Grand Mal seizure every half hour, making a normal life impossible, usually leaving them in a semi-vegatative state. Cannabis oil has brought that down to 2 or 3 per month in cases where conventional medicine has failed. The effects vary.

Litzman’s concern addresses just a few families but it is seen as a sign that he is paving the way for medical marijuana to be more widely accepted and used. This would indicate a significant change of opinion. During his previous term as Deputy Health Minister, MK Litzman stated in an interview with Haaretz that he was opposed to medical use of marijuana. Litzman has consulted with medical experts in formulating his opinion.

In a letter sent by Litzman to the head of the medical technologies and infrastructure in the Ministry of health, he referred to children with seizures and their need to use the product, “Why shouldn’t the funds cover the minimum cost for the product”. He said: “This is not clear to me, if the (Cannabis) oil is beneficial, and it is done under medical supervision, why are they failing to reach an agreement with regard to the funds?”

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Czech Republic: Million Marijuana March Draws 5,000 Supporters

Some 5,000 mainly young people took part in the Million Marijuana March 2015 in the center of Prague for the legalization of cannabis growing.

The police imposed several fines for marijuana possession and smoking on the spot, but no incidents accompanied the march, the police patrol commander told the Czech News Agency.

The march started on Karlovo náměstí (Charles Square) and continued across Wenceslas Square to ŠtvaniceIsland where it culminated with celebrations.

The main demand of the 18th Million Marihuana March is the legalization of the growing and possession of cannabis and its products for personal use and not only for medical treatment.

The participants, many of whom were wearing T-shirts with the symbol of a hemp leaf, started to meet long time ahead of the march. Some of them carried flags or banners with slogans in support of the legal use of marijuana.

The march was headed by a vehicle with a music band. It was decorated with symbolic hemp leaves and a sign reading “Hemp is the God’s gift, my granny said.”

People were dancing to music and chanting “legalization.”

Several dozen state and municipal police officers were monitoring the protest.

The event was staged by the civic association

Hemp belongs to all people and by its anti-hemp policy the Czech Republic only supports the black market, its chairman Robert Veverka said.

Marijuana is still illegal in the Czech Republic, but a new law has enabled the use of hemp/cannabis for medical purposes since April 2013. However, Czech firms are allowed to import hemp only, not to grow it.

Due to problems with supplies, only few people can buy hemp legally in pharmacies so far.

Hemp can help patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, dementia and cancer and attenuate chronic pain as well as AIDS-related troubles.

The Health Ministry plans an amendment to allow the hemp treatment of children.

Marijuana is the most widely spread illegal drug in the Czech Republic. According to polls, more than a half of Czechs aged from 15 to 34 years have ever used it.

Veverka said today’s march should also express disagreement with the police raids on the owners of grow and florist’s shops. The police accuse them of illicit spreading of drug addiction by selling hemp seeds and providing information on hemp growing.

The march was supported by the Pirate Party and the Greens.

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Full Article: Million Marihuana March draws 5,000 supporters – PRAGUE POST | The Voice of Prague
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Puerto Rico: Governor Just Legalized Medical Marijuana

In a surprise move, Puerto Rico’s Governor Alejandro García Padilla signed an executive order legalizing the use of medical marijuana in the U.S. territory. The order, which was heavily debated in Puerto Rico since 2013 but never put to a public vote, went into immediate effect. The Caribbean island joins 23 other U.S. states in decriminalizing medical marijuana, The Associated Press reports.

“We’re taking a significant step in the area of health that is fundamental to our development and quality of life,” García Padilla said in a statement. “I am sure that many patients will receive appropriate treatment that will offer them new hope.” The governor added that several studies conducted in the United States demonstrated that cannabis can assist in pain relief from serious diseases.

“These studies support the use of the plant to relieve pain caused by multiple sclerosis, AIDS virus, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s disease, migraine, Parkinson’s and other diseases that often do not respond to traditional treatments,” García Padilla added. “This administration is committed to ensuring the health of all citizens residing in our country. Hence the medicinal use we are adopting is an innovative measure to ensure the welfare and a better quality of life for these patients.”

Although Puerto Rico will relax its stance on medical marijuana, it plans on passing a state law that will establish “a distinction between medical and non-medical uses.” Even pro-marijuana activists in Puerto Rico were taken aback by the sudden nature of the executive order, as many questions remain over how the plan would be instituted.

For instance, no decision has been made whether Puerto Rico will grow its medical marijuana crop in the country or import the drug. García Padilla said the secretary of the health department would arrive with a more detailed plan of action for medical marijuana within three months.

Puerto Rico becomes the latest U.S. territory or state to either peel back the restrictions on medical marijuana or decriminalize weed entirely. New York is readying its own (albeit restrictive) medical marijuana plan, while voters in Florida resoundingly support a measure to legalize the drug for both medicinal and recreational purposes. The federal government also ended their prohibition of medical marijuana.

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Chile: Fresh Marijuana Harvested For Medical Use

A Chilean municipality harvested legal medical marijuana Tuesday as part of a government-approved pilot project aimed at helping ease pain in cancer patients.

The harvest comes after Chile’s first planting of pot for medical uses in October 2014. It is the work of a municipality in the capital of Santiago and the Daya Foundation, a nonprofit group that sponsors pain-relieving therapies.

“We’re laying the foundations for what will be the national production of medical cannabis,” Daya’s president, Ana Maria Gazmuri, said after cutting branches from cannabis plants.

Oil extracted from about half of some 850 plants imported from the Netherlands will be given to 200 patients in the coming months.

Planting, selling and transporting marijuana is usually illegal in Chile and carries prison terms of up to 15 years. But the law allows medical use of marijuana with the authorization of several ministries.

The Chilean experiment adds to an international trend of easing restrictions on marijuana for medical or personal use. More than 20 U.S. states allow some form of medical marijuana and Colorado and Washington have legalized personal use. In the Americas, Uruguay became the first nation to create a legal marijuana market in 2013.

“It’s a huge achievement,” said Cecilia Heyder, who suffers from systemic lupus and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. “I just wish all of Chile’s municipalities could achieve this as well.”

Chilean lawmakers in a health commission approved a plan to legalize the planting of marijuana. The measure would allow planting of up to six plants for recreation use, but it still needs to be approved by both houses of Congress.

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Holland’s New Marijuana Laws Are Changing Old Amsterdam

The last time Derrick Bergman came to Amsterdam to buy cannabis, he did so behind a locked door with a long, thick curtain obscuring his activity from the canal-lined residential street outside, in the quiet Lastage neighborhood. The secretary of the Netherlands’s Union for the Abolition of Cannabis Prohibition, Bergman comes here to weekly gatherings of a two month old and seriously clandestine “cannabis social club” called the Tree of Life, because it’s the only place in town he can find one of his favorite strains: Super Silver Haze.

Since 1976, authorities across the Netherlands have chosen to openly ignore that cannabis use is illegal here, and they prosecute no one in possession of less than five grams of marijuana for personal use. The policy, called gedoogbeleid, is known as the “Dutch model,” and it’s why hundreds of “coffee shops” sprung up across Amsterdam and the Netherlands, luring marijuana connoisseurs from across the globe to one of the few places they could roll and smoke a joint without fear. But that’s no longer the case.

Cannabis with more than 15 percent of the THC that makes it intoxicating is now under consideration to be reclassified as one of the “hard drugs” that come with stiff penalties. The government has also forced coffee shops where marijuana is sold to choose between alcohol and pot, prompting many to choose the former. Amsterdam once played host to nearly 300 coffee shops, of more than 1,000 scattered across the country. There are now fewer than 200 in the city and only 617 nationwide. While it’s always been illegal to grow marijuana in the Netherlands, authorities passively allow coffee shops to sell weed, often pretending not to know where the shops’ cannabis comes from.

But no longer. New laws target even the smallest of marijuana growers in Holland. In the past, people could grow up to five plants without fear of retribution. In 2011, the government issued new police guidelines and declared anyone who grew with electric lights, prepared soil, “selected” seeds or ventilation would be considered “professional.” It’s a significant change, as professional growers risk major penalties, including eviction and blacklisting from the government-provided housing in which more than half of the country’s citizens reside.

The result: Coffee shops are increasingly buying buds from criminal organizations willing to absorb the risk of prosecution by growing large amounts of cannabis in shipping containers buried underground, with little regard for quality or mold abatement. “It’s amazing how bad the quality has become,” says Bergman. “And the price is up. It’s what we’ve all predicted.”

That’s why Bergman traveled from his native Eindhoven to Amsterdam on a recent Monday, both to convene with other activists and to pick up five grams (the legal limit) of Super Silver Haze. Because the club is not-for-profit, its members can focus their efforts on finding and buying the best product and providing it to their members at much better prices than the coffee shops.

Modeled after a proliferation of similar establishments in Spain, the social clubs offer a new way to subvert the harsher laws. As in Holland, cannabis is illegal in Spain, but the government doesn’t prosecute anyone for personal consumption and there’s no implicit limit on the number of plants a person can grow, meaning the government doesn’t care if you grow one plant or 15. In fact, signs point to the government not caring at all. Barcelona is developing a reputation as “the new Amsterdam,” meaning the old Amsterdam is losing out on a significant source of revenue: drug tourists.

Inside an Amsterdam coffee shop called The Rookies, 22-year-old John Bell rolls a spliff of tobacco and a strain called Dutch Kashmir, which Bell can’t find in his native Liverpool. Bell has been to Amsterdam 11 times in the past three years, not because it’s hard to find weed in the U.K., but because the quality here is better. He wouldn’t visit the city at all if not for these coffee shops and Amsterdam’s quasi-legal cannabis, adding: “It’s too expensive to drink here, for a proper night out.”

Such drug tourists represent a major element of the city’s economy. The union of coffee shops in Maastricht commissioned research in 2008 that found foreign visitors to the city’s coffee shops spent money in other businesses there as well: €140 million (approximately $170 million) annually. It’s a significant number and one of the reasons government officials in Amsterdam have fought to keep the coffee shops from going out of business.

About a third of all visitors to Amsterdam step into one of its coffee shops at some point; nationally, the number is one in five. Banning such visitors would hit tourism revenues hard, chasing off travelers who tend to be well-behaved. “If you’re really a deadbeat hippie punk, a no-money kind of guy, how are you going to afford a ticket to Amsterdam?” Bergman says.

Cities such as Maastricht, on the other hand, have banned foreigners from coffee shops since 2005. The result, insists Bergman and other critics, is a proliferation of street dealers. People still come from neighboring countries to score marijuana, but now they stock up and head back home in a day, instead of spending any time in local hotels and restaurants.

How did Holland get here? Some trace the backlash to 9/11. The world’s global panic about terrorism in the wake of the attacks on New York City and Washington led to a surge in the power of conservative political parties in places as far away as the Netherlands. Ever since Holland’s People’s Party for Liberty and Democracy began to consolidate influence here, its leaders have pushed for zero tolerance drug laws. “Our last prime minister [Jan Peter Balkenende] believed in his heart that weed comes from Satan,” says Mila Jansen, a legendary figure in Amsterdam, who once invented a way to make hash in a washing machine.

Other factors influencing the government crackdown are pressure from outside nations, especially France, which has pushed the International Narcotics Control board to sanction Holland for violating international treaties on drug laws with its permissive pot policy. Ironic, argues Bergman, because the rate of marijuana use is twice as high in France as it is in the Netherlands, and Holland has one of the lowest number of drug-related deaths in Europe.

“Hard drugs are still illegal in Holland, but we also see that there are still many people who want to try drugs on occasion,” said the city’s mayor, Eberhard van der Laan, in a statement provided to Newsweek. “This is a reality we cannot ignore. And this is one of the key principles to our country’s drug policies: Drug use is first and foremost an issue of public health. By not focusing on the criminal aspects of drug use, as is the case in many other countries, we can be more effective when it comes to informing the public, testing drugs and prevention.”

Unfortunately, van der Laan’s federal counterparts don’t agree. They also don’t see that prohibition amounts to little more than, as they say here, “mopping with the tap on.”

Now, activists like Bergman are trying to convince Holland to consider the American model—the legalization and regulation of all components of marijuana cultivation and sale. Citing Oregon’s law, which allows residents to grow as many as four plants, Bergman says: “I’m sort of jealous.”

That’s because America seems to be learning from Holland’s mistakes. Holland’s passive-aggressive policy doesn’t stop illicit activity or drug tourism or make anyone safer, say activists: It actually has the reverse effect. Quasi-legalization leaves too many entry points for criminals to line their own pockets from the drug trade. State by state, the U.S. is legalizing pot with initiatives that clearly spell out who is allowed to manufacture, distribute and consume it. That’s the key to a successful policy, and it’s one Dutch activists are now working to implement in their own country, before things swing too far the other way.

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1300 Uruguayans Now Grow Marijuana Legally For Their Own Use

Some 1,300 citizens legally grow marijuana in Uruguay for their own use, officials at the National Drug Board (JND) told Efe on Friday.

The Cannabis Regulation and Control Institute, or IRCCA, began last Aug. 27 the registration of people growing cannabis for their own use after the Uruguayan Parliament legalized in December 2013 the production and sale of marijuana to fight drug trafficking.

The domestic growing of psychoactive cannabis refers to that which is grown by people for their personal use or to share with others at home, and which does not exceed six plants per person with a harvest that does not exceed 480 grams (17 ounces) annually.

Every Uruguayan citizen or permanent resident who wishes to grow marijuana at home can go to a post office branch and apply for a producer license.

Meanwhile, six “cannabis” clubs are currently having their permits processed at the IRCCA and each one will be allowed to have between 15 and 45 members.

In addition, next week the names will be announced of five companies that will be granted licenses to produce marijuana that will be legally marketed in the country, since still pending is the beginning of large-scale production, controlled by the government, for its sale in pharmacies.

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Full Article: 1,300 Uruguayans now grow marijuana legally for their own use :: La Prensa :: America in English
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Medical Marijuana Applicant Takes Health Canada To Court

Health Canada’s troubled medical-marijuana program is again under fire, with the launch of the first court challenge by a company denied a government licence to grow the product commercially. Lawyers for New Age Medical Solutions Inc., which has a grow facility in rural British Columbia, filed a motion in Federal Court last week against Health Minister Rona Ambrose, asking that a judge review the decision not to grant a licence.

The company, founded and run by marijuana activist Sam Mellace, applied almost a year ago to become a licensed producer, under new Health Canada rules that are creating a billion-dollar commercial industry. Health Canada rejected the application Aug. 10, saying the firm had not hired an acceptable quality-assurance specialist. Mellace retained the Toronto firm Chaitons LLP, which is seeking the court’s permission to extend a deadline for legal action. Papers were filed last week. Mellace could not be contacted and his lawyer declined comment.

An Ottawa lawyer who specializes in assisting companies with their grow applications to Health Canada said the case may trigger other legal challenges from companies denied licences. “I know, speaking to many applicants, that nobody really wanted to be the first one,” said Trina Fraser. “The barn door is open now.… There’s a feeling there’s strength in numbers.”

Health Canada swamped
As of last month, 226 applications had been refused, said Health Canada spokesman Sean Upton, who confirmed the department has been advised of the legal challenge. Health Canada has been swamped with more than 1,100 applications from firms wanting to cash in on an industry the government says could be worth $1.3 billion in a decade. Only 22 licences to produce have been issued, none in the last few months, while some 291 are still in process. (About half of all applications have been returned as incomplete.)

Fraser said the approval process has slowed to a crawl, prompting other complaints to Health Canada as investors get nervous about whether there will be any payback. “Everybody’s going bananas, out of their minds, frustrated with the process,” she said. “A lot of these applicants have already started or finished construction, they’ve got investors to answer to, and they’re burning through money like crazy.”

Canada’s commercial medical marijuana industry kicked into high gear in April this year. The department has dramatically changed the rules of supply, from a cottage industry in which approved patients grow their own or buy from small producers, to a free-enterprise system with no limits on the number the large-scale growers charging what the market will bear. The changeover has come with problems, including a so-far successful court challenge that allows some patients to continue to get their supply under the old rules, three product recalls and complaints about the initially high cost of medical marijuana in a free market.

Company may shut down
Mellace has a 6,000-square-foot facility near Mission, B.C., now empty and not in production. He said he has invested some $1 million in the project, half of it for research and development, and that he planned to employ between 60 and 150 people.

“The failure of the minister to issue the company a licence is highly prejudicial and will cause the company to have to shut its operations,” says the court filing in Toronto. Many of the 291 firms with pending applications for a lucrative production licence have their own grievances, as an opaque approval process leaves them guessing about when, if ever, they’ll get a licence. “They’re changing the rules as they go,” said Fraser, who has acted for or spoken to dozens of applicants. “There was certainly a first-mover advantage because the bar is much higher now.”

Health Canada, she said, has cranked up security requirements since the first wave, leaving firms now in a “never-never land, security-clearance abyss.” Many businesses still in the queue are hurting financially, their lawyers say. Simply assembling the paperwork for a credible application is about a $50,000 investment, followed by leasing costs for facilities and payroll, which can drive costs over a million dollars.

Fraser cites documents she obtained under the Access to Information Act as showing that what had been a two- to three-month application process in 2013 has become an 18- to 24-month ordeal, partly because new security requirements appear to have created a backlog at the RCMP, which does inspections under the new program.

Vancouver lawyer Kirk Tousaw, who has worked with many applicants, agrees that Health Canada’s processing has ground to a halt. “The application process has essentially come to a standstill and there are dozens, if not hundreds, of people that want to be growing and selling medical marijuana to sick Canadians that have had their applications disappear into the void.”

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First Marijuana Planted For Medical Use In Chile

A Chilean municipality planted the country’s first medical marijuana on Wednesday as part of a pilot program aimed to help ease the pain of cancer patients. The 850 seeds were imported from the Netherlands, and oil extracted from about half of the plants will be given to 200 patients selected by a municipality in the capital of Santiago and by the Daya Foundation, a nonprofit group that sponsors pain-relieving therapies.

“We’re living at a time, in Chile and the rest of the world, where it’s not reasonable to close yourself to new evidence. Marijuana can provide some dignity to those who suffer,” said La Florida district Mayor Rodolfo Carter, who was inspired to back medical marijuana while watching his late father battle cancer. “It doesn’t cure cancer but we can alleviate the pain.” The Chilean experiment adds to an international trend of easing restrictions on marijuana for medical or personal use.

More than 20 U.S. states allow some form of medical marijuana and Colorado and Washington have legalized personal use. In the Americas, Uruguay last year became the first nation to create a legal marijuana market. Jamaica’s justice minister has announced plans to legalize the drug for religious and medical purposes and decriminalize the possession of amounts up to 2 ounces (57 grams). And in Colombia, President Juan Manuel Santos recently endorsed newly introduced legislation to legalize marijuana for medicinal and therapeutic use.

A law passed in 2005 allowed medical use of marijuana in Chile, but only with approval by the country’s agricultural service. It approved only one earlier effort, in 2011, but quickly rescinded permission after opposition from health authorities. This time, the organizers won the backing of the state as well as a local university, which will use the project for research on the effectiveness of marijuana in fighting pain.

The 850-square-meter (9,150 square-foot) plot will be heavily guarded and monitored to ensure that none of the product — which includes the Durga Mata II, Wappa, Icecream and Pandora varieties — drifts into unauthorized uses. The permit is only for one year, but Daya’s president, actress Ana Maria Gazmurri said she hopes it will be renewed. Some Chileans already have been using marijuana for pain relief, flouting the law or finding legal cracks in the ban.

“I’m neither a trafficker nor a criminal. The fact that I’m ill shouldn’t mean I have to hide,” said Cecilia Heyder, 47, who suffers from systemic lupus and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. Her cancer has metastasized despite the removal of one of her breasts and chemotherapy. Her body rejects opiates including morphine and tramadol, she said, and she was recently granted a three-month permit to import Sativex, a drug derived from cannabis has helped her relieve the pain, breathe easier and improve her sleep. But she said she’s worried that she’ll run out of medication by the end of the year.

“I’m sorry to see that lawmakers don’t understand that the clock is running against me,” she said. “I have a stage-four cancer. I’m a terminal patient and I’m going to die.” Daya also has launched a blog where parents of children suffering from epilepsy share their concerns. Some even started growing small patches of pot to produce cannabis oil — though they won’t be allowed to participate in the current program, which is limited to adults. “If the plantations of these families are raided; if they take away their cannabis plants, they’ll be taking away the medicine for their children,” Gazmurri said.

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Australian Capital Territory Government To Join National Medical Cannabis Trial

The rapidly shifting politics of medical cannabis will change dramatically on Tuesday as the ACT government signs up to a national clinical trial of the controversial health treatment. The Canberra Times understands the New South Wales government will take carriage of a cross-jurisdictional trial after discussions between state and territory leaders during last Friday’s Council of Australian Governments meeting in Canberra. Joining a large population trial would represent a significant win for Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, who has previously lobbied the Abbott Government for a national trial and sought access to the planned NSW study from Premier Mike Baird. Last week the ACT’s participation in the NSW trial appeared unlikely, but growing community support for medical cannabis saw the matter discussed by state leaders at a separate health ministers at meeting in Melbourne last week.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has also offered public support for legal cannabis use as part of treatment for terminal and chronic illnesses and the politics of the issue have changed dramatically in recent months. A separate medical cannabis bill for the ACT, introduced by Greens minister Shane Rattenbury, is set to be considered by a Legislative Assembly committee with a report due by June 2015. Last week Mr Rattenbury accused political leaders of seeking clinical trials as a “delaying tactic” for the introduction of cannabis treatments, already widely used overseas. A nation-wide poll released in July found almost 66 per cent of Australians support the legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes.

Medical cannabis, including in an oil form, is used to alleviate chronic pain and treat symptoms such as nausea and seizures. Patients undergoing chemotherapy, suffering from cancer and with conditions including multiple sclerosis have reported gaining relief from cannabis. Ms Gallagher wrote to federal Health Minister Peter Dutton in August asking for the Commonwealth to lead a coordinated response to calls for the introduction of medical cannabis, proposing the National Health and Medical Research Council support an Australia-wide clinical trial and the Therapeutic Goods Administration consider how medical cannabis could be licensed for use.

Last month she wrote to Mr Baird asking to join a working group planning his state’s clinical trial, arguing that the ACT’s small population would make a territory trial too small to be effective. A vigorous online campaign has targeted Ms Gallagher since she revealed her decision to report the case of a 2½-year-old Sydney girl to authorities after letters to her office outlined the girl’s treatment with prohibited cannabis oil. Use of cannabis for medical treatment would require an application to the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

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