Federal law change doesn’t lift stigma for Tasmanians seeking medicinal cannabis - March 8, 2016

LAST month’s federal law change making it legal for Australian patients and doctors to access medicinal cannabis has changed nothing for Jeremy Bester and his family. Mr Bester’s mother Lyn Cleaver and her partner Malcolm Amundsen already provide him with spoonfuls of home-grown cannabinoid extracts, which they say are better than pharmaceuticals at reducing the frequency and intensity of his epileptic fits without side effects. The fits are a legacy of a viral illness Mr Bester contracted at age six. Ms Cleaver said Police Minister Rene Hidding had assured her police would not actively seek to prosecute people who grew and possessed cannabis for genuine medical reasons, but the stigma and perceived risk of breaking the law was deterring many other Tasmanians. She said the legislative amendment made by Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley with Labor and Greens support had been a step in the right direction, but it only sanctioned commercial cannabis production, and cannabis extraction research by pharmaceutical companies. “I can’t see anything happening in under five years,’’ Ms Cleaver said. FEDERAL LEGISLATION BID She said medicinal cannabis advocates were continuing to push the Tasmanian Government to establish a register, for the protection of Tasmanians who had genuine medicinal reasons for growing or possessing cannabis. “People are too frightened — it could be their job, the type of work they do,’’ she said. Labor’s shadow attorney general Lara Giddings last month said a Labor government would decriminalise cannabis use and possession for medicinal purposes. Health Minister Michael Ferguson said his government would amend state legislation, if necessary, to ensure that the federal law changes could be applied in the state. “We have also joined forces with NSW to explore opportunities for cultivation and harvesting. This also opens the door for Tasmanians to take part in their clinical trials,’’ Mr Ferguson said.

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From: Tasmania Police - 20th January, 2015 - Lyn Cleaver



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This group is for the discussion, research and support of the use of Medical Cannabis in Tasmania. Its for anyone here in Tasmania who is interested in or currently using Medical Marijuana to treat any Specific conditions. It also acts as the Tasmanian branch of The Medical Cannabis Association of Australia..

We humbly welcome anyone who wishes to share information about MC, support discussion of Law Reform with regards to MC and most importantly breed a networked attitude to using MC, growing MC, preparing medicines using MC discussing dosage advice, strain specifics, side effects,results, dealing with Doctors, legal issues, vaporizers and pretty much any other kind of issue related to using the worlds oldest natural medicine under the draconian conditions created by an unfair and unjust Prohibition that's targets one of natures most valuable medicinal plants and restricts basic human rights.

The MCUAT committee has fallen into place the various members are...

  • Nicole Cowels President, political liaison.
  • John Reeves Coordinator/Secretary/treasurer
  • Matt Owen Deputy Prez North Co-ordinator
  • Natalie Daley NW Coordinator ...Ulverstone
  • Hannah Rubenach East coast Coordinator
  • There will be a general committee meeting
  • Monthly...the last week of the month.. Probably Wednesday.. But call 0499616402
  • Or Email: MCUATAS

  • Tasmanian mother using medicinal cannabis to treat daughter's seizures doesn't want part in NSW trial - 8 Oct 2015

    A Tasmanian mother illegally using medicinal cannabis has ruled out participating in the New South Wales trial of the drug. The Tasmanian Government is finalising its involvement in the trial and has offered to supply participants from the state. However, that could prove difficult, with some parents who use the drug to treat their seriously ill children refusing to put them at risk.

    Hobart mother Nicole Cowles treats her nine-year-old daughter Alice's life-threatening seizures with cannabis oil, even though it is illegal. She will not allow her to be part of the trial. "The risk of being given a placebo, or sugar water more or less, is terrifying especially, when her seizures are so life-threatening and so well controlled now in comparison to how they ever have been," Ms Cowles said. Premier Will Hodgman had previously nominated Alice as a candidate for the New South Wales trial, but Ms Cowles said she had not been approached. "I think possibly they may be struggling to get the numbers for the trials. There is a place for trials but I wouldn't put my own daughter into the trial going ahead in New South Wales," she said. She is calling for Tasmania to take a more "patient-focussed" approach.

    Call to put money on the table

    The State Opposition has called on the Government to do more to help Tasmanians using the drug illegally for medical purposes, including for seizures and terminal illnesses. Labor's Lara Giddings also questioned what role Tasmania would be able to play. "The Tasmanian Government has put no money on the table. If they are genuine about getting Tasmanians to participate they would put money on the table," Ms Giddings said. "There are also concerns that the New South Wales trial is too narrow." Treasurer Peter Gutwein said Labor had failed to act on the issue during its 16 years in government. "We are taking a strategic, compassionate national approach to this issue," he said. Last month senior health bureaucrats met the NSW chief scientist and engineer Mary O'Kane, who is in charge of the NSW cannabis trial, to discuss Tasmania's involvement.

    Pressure grows for approval on cannabis treatments - July 15, 2014

    MOMENTUM is growing for a state-based trial of medicinal cannabis as more Tasmanians come forward with success ­stories involving cannabis-based treatments. Kingston mum Nicole Cowles says a cannabinoid tincture has all but eliminated the seizures that have plagued daughter Alice since infancy. Alice, 8, has the rare genetic condition CDKL5 and can suffer up to 30 seizures a day. “There’s nothing more heartbreaking or soul destroying than seeing your child suffering or possibly dying. She could die from any seizure she has,” Ms Cowles said. She said after a number of medicines were prescribed, some with significant side-­effects, she “searched the world” for an alternative. She sourced the cannabinoid tincture from NSW company Mullaways Medical Cannabis, which provides the liquid drops to her free-of-charge. She said within weeks of Alice taking the drops orally twice a day, life had changed dramatically. Alice can enjoy swimming, playing outside, going to school and activities other children take for granted. Ms Cowles supports a trial in the interests of developing a safe, regulated supply for ­people who could benefit from cannabis-based medicines. “There are at least 80 kids Australia-wide that are on the medicine for seizures,” she said.

    A petition has also been launched urging the State Government to reconsider its position against holding a trial. Health Minister Michael Ferguson has ruled out holding a trial because he has “real concerns about security, safety and the potential for social harm”. However, the Legislative Council has launched an ­inquiry into the issue and the State Opposition is backing the petition asking the Government to allow a trial. The petition has been ­started by North-West cancer patient Natalie Daley. Shadow Attorney-General Lara Giddings said people in Ms Daley or Ms Cowles’ situation should not have to break the law to obtain medicine for either themselves or their children. “Health Minister Michael Ferguson is standing in the way of public opinion on this issue,” Ms Giddings said. “Hopefully the Legislative Council inquiry will further ­inform the debate and influence the Liberal Government’s rigid opinion. “In the meantime, I’ll stand with those Tasmanians advocating for a change in policy. “Medicinal cannabis pre­sents significant health and economic benefits for ­Tasmania.”

    I gave my eight year old medical cannabis and I don't regret it - October 7, 2014

    My daughter Alice was the third girl in Australia to be diagnosed with CDKL5, a rare genetic condition, marked by the severity of its seizures, significant intellectual and physical disability, gut dysfunction and a myriad of other health issues. As a baby, Alice was having up to 30 life threatening seizures a day and her neurologist told me “It’s like your baby’s brain is exploding – take her home to die, she is too sick to live”. Over the last 9 years I have had no choice but to become a nurse, a doctor, a scientist, my own research assistant, a political lobbyist, and much more. Across the world it has been unanimously agreed that the life threatening seizures of children with CDKL5, like Alice, cannot be controlled by any current pharmacologically available anticonvulsant medication, diet, surgery or other intervention. Alice suffers from CDKL5, a rare genetic condition, marked by the severity of its seizures. Alice suffers from CDKL5, a rare genetic condition, marked by the severity of its seizures. So I have had to watch my daughter suffer; she stops breathing, she bites her hand, nearly severing fingers, or she bites her tongue, knocks out teeth, often covering us both in blood. When Alice becomes conscious she screams in fear and looks into my eyes with indescribable terror. There is nothing I can do but stay with her, talking to her, touching her and sitting where she can see me, then holding her until she settles into sleep. I always have Alice’s emergency medication, Midazolam, on hand if she does not start breathing or come out of a seizure, but as our medical team is well aware this medication is unlikely to be effective when it is most needed. Alice was previously on a pharmaceutically available anticonvulsant medication; Zonegran. This medication did not stop Alice’s seizures. The side effects listed on the CMI provided with this medication are extensive: Self harm and suicide, panic attacks, depression, dizziness, nausea, poor muscle co-ordination, stomach pains and many more. Research is proving Medical Cannabis' benefits in seizure control, cancer, diabetes, and many other serious health issues. Research is proving Medical Cannabis' benefits in seizure control, cancer, diabetes, and many other serious health issues. I am trialing with Alice, under medical supervision, a liquid form of Medical Cannabis as an anticonvulsant. Alice’s seizures are now controlled, with break through seizures only when she is unwell with a temperature. The side effects of Medical Cannabis are: Improved physical ability including walking, improved intellectual ability including talking, improved social interaction including expressing the love she feels for her family and for life; in fact, improvement in all areas of development, leading to an improved quality of life for both Alice, and in turn my family. Choosing any treatment for your child is not an easy decision – choosing Medical Cannabis was possibly the hardest decision I have ever made. But I don’t regret it. I very much doubt I would be as passionate about the legalisation, research and medical dispensing of Cannabis as a medication if I had not seen the benefits firsthand. Medical Cannabis needs to be legalised for research purposes in Australia so that its benefits to children can be fully understood, and so it can be medically monitored and dispensed relevant to individual patient’s health requirements. For some patients there are no available pharmacological medications that can manage, or provide the relief from the symptoms they experience due to their terminal, chronic or disabling condition. If parents, like myself, continue to be placed in a position where we have no choice but to self-medicate, using a Cannabis product which has not been clinically trialed and tested to ensure its quality and effectiveness, that is putting our children at risk. Currently, we can’t ensure they are provided with a medical grade product specific to their health requirements. Research data from around the world is proving Medical Cannabis’ benefits in seizure control, cancer, diabetes, and so many serious health issues affecting the spectrum of our community. As Tony Abbott suggested, there is no use wasting time and money on research that has already been done so, let’s research what is important. We know there are Cultivars (or Strains) of Cannabis with Cannabinoid Profiles that have more medicinal benefit than others; research into the most appropriate cultivars and cannabinoid strains specific to patients/conditions would be most beneficial. Our government has a Duty of Care to ensure appropriate health care for all Australians. The right to access lifesaving medication, the right to life, the right to health care based on individual patient needs, should not be a political decision based on individual bias… it should be a decision based on community need and opinion, and, considered, intelligent medical opinion based on research, evidence and medical discussion and debate. Alice has the right to life. Alice has the right to life saving medication. Alice has a mother who will stand up for her rights, and for the rights of all Australian’s who don’t have a voice … because that’s my duty as a mother, my duty to protect my child. Nicole appears on tonight’s episode of Insight at 8.30pm on SBS ONE which asks if medical marijuana is doing good or harm.

    'It will help me save my daughter's life': Mother's plea to legalise medicinal marijuana as Australian leaders say they are open to trials of the drug for pain relief - 24 July 2014

    Tasmanian mum Nicole Cowles is hopeful the rising groundswell of support for the legalisation of medicinal marijuana could stop her having to obtain illegally from interstate drug dealers to help the suffering of her daughter Alice Agnew, who is just eight. ‘I’m seeing Alice for who she really is – I only saw glimpses of her before,’ Ms Cowles said about the improvement of her daughter since she started taking the liquid form of cannabis four times a day in February to help control her seizures.

    The family is one of 200 across the country who are forced to import the cannabis from a supplier in Kempsey in NSW which is free of charge but the waiting list is sitting at 1,500 with people desperate to get their hands on the drug to relieve chronic pain and aid with seizures.

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    Medicinal cannabis ‘a miracle’ treatment for my daughter, mum tells Tas inquiry

    Global News Centre - September 20, 2014

    Tasmanian mother has told a parliamentary inquiry how medicinal cannabis has miraculously improved the health of her nine-year-old daughter who suffers from a rare genetic disorder. Nicole Cowles was the first person to address the Tasmanian Upper House inquiry into legalised medicinal cannabis, which began public hearings today. The inquiry, chaired by independent MP Ruth Forrest, was set up after Health Minister Michael Ferguson knocked back a proposal for a medicinal cannabis trial in Tasmania’s Huon Valley in July. Ms Cowles said she used the drug to control the severe seizures that had afflicted her daughter, Alice, from birth. She said Alice took medicinal cannabis orally in liquid form every four hours and it was difficult to overstate the benefit her daughter received from the drug. “Possibly the hardest thing in fighting for medical cannabis to be legalised is that I want to be able to tell people that this is a miracle. It’s amazing,” she said. “But you can’t use words like that when you’re trying to put forward an argument for something that has real medical benefits because it sounds like you’re selling snake oil, and that’s not what we’re doing. “But for intents and purposes it really is a miracle, the difference in Alice’s overall health and wellbeing.” Ms Cowles said she has been overwhelmed by the response since going public about using medical cannabis to treat her daughter. She said she has been contacted by scores of people in chronic pain or watching terminally ill loved ones suffer since telling her family’s story. “These are the real stories that come up over and over again,” she said. “So originally I spoke publicly because I thought it would help to protect Alice and I with what we were doing, but it’s become bigger than that.” Ms Cowles also told the inquiry that Alice’s respite carers were not able to administer the treatment because it was illegal. SOURCE: Cannabis Cures Cancer

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    Tasmanians using medicinal cannabis call for legal protection - 24 Dec 2014

    Tasmanians who use medicinal cannabis for a serious illness want the State Government to guarantee they will not be prosecuted for its use and cultivation. Launceston woman Lyn Cleaver has been growing a cannabis plant to make medication for her son Jeremy, 23, who suffers from severe epileptic seizures. When the Tasmanian Government ruled out decriminalising medicinal cannabis, outspoken medicinal users of the drug were assured they would not be prosecuted. Ms Cleaver kept her illegal crop secret until today when she called Tasmania Police and told them about the plant. She was aware of other medicinal users' plants being seized and wanted to be more confident the same would not happen to her. Every day I worry that the police are going to turn up at my doorstep and take it away from me Natalie Daley, cancer sufferer "Just in the last nine months or so, we're aware of people's plants being pulled, and no plants is no medicine," she said. "So we want assurances that our Government will step up and protect legitimate cannabis users like Jeremy, in Tasmania." Ms Cleaver said she had noticed marked improvements in her son's condition since he began using the drug. "His partial seizure count is lowered, not having as many seizures. He recovers better from the seizures that he does have," she said. The State Government had previously said police would not prosecute terminally ill users or those who spoke out about its benefits. Police have indicated they will not pursue terminally ill cannabis users but they want the discretion to assess each case. Ms Cleaver alerted police to test that assurance, and said she wanted legislated protection. "To have some insurance, legitimately, rather than a wishy-washy, 'No, we're not going to come and get you'," she said. Cancer sufferer says cannabis is a miracle herb Natalie Daley, who has taken cannabis oil capsules for a year as part of her treatment for adrenal cancer, also said she feared police would intervene. "I always worry, every day I worry that the police are going to turn up at my doorstep and take it away from me," she said. Sorry, this video has expired VIDEO: Tasmanians using medicinal cannabis want legal protection (7pm TV News TAS) The mother of three described cannabis as a miracle herb. Despite cutting back on her prescribed medication, her most recent scan was clear of tumours. "At the moment there's no cancer, so we're happy. We got our Christmas present," she said. While Ms Daley said cannabis oil had saved her life, her doctor credited her chemotherapy. Tasmania Police has been contacted for comment.

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