Toowoomba mother joins fight to legalise medical cannabis

Rhonda Miles with her son Lachlan.
Rhonda Miles with her son Lachlan. Rachael Murray

A TOOWOOMBA mother desperate to save her son's life has joined the fight to reform medical cannabis law in Queensland.

Rhonda Miles's son Lachlan, 15, started having life-threatening seizures three and a half years ago and remains undiagnosed with a complex brain condition.

He has been in hospital 63 times since he became sick, has a serious seizure of more than 40 minutes roughly once a fortnight and needs 24/7 care.

"If this continues Lachlan will die or be brain damaged week after week to the point where we cannot care for him at home and he will end up in a mental ward as there is nowhere in the system to care for a long term medical patient like him," Mrs Miles said.

Lachlan Miles is wheeled out on a stretcher by paramedics after one of his many seizures.
Lachlan Miles is wheeled out on a stretcher by paramedics after one of his many seizures. Contributed

Mrs Miles believes change is on the way regarding the medical cannabis issue after Police Commissioner Ian Stewart and Police Minister Joanne Miller this week announced their support for reform.

"We hope to make a difference not only for our son but for other sick and dying Queenslanders.  We applaud the announcement of Police Commissioner Stewart and the Police Minister Joanne Miller and want to support Labor in a positive way in the reform process.

"We do not want this to be an issue that becomes a political football and we would call on the leader of the LNP to support Labor should they move towards reform of this important public health issue."

She thought Australia was backward in its laws regarding medical cannabis as a result of the stigma attached to recreational drug use.

"No doubt there is support. We get whispered to in hospital corridors and have had one person offer to grow the plant for Lachlan, but at the moment medical professionals can't even talk about it, because of the legalities.

"We want a public debate and it looks like it's going to happen."

She and other advocates have formed the Medical Cannabis Advisory Group and are petitioning the Queensland Parliament to offer interim protections for medical cases and then to follow the series of steps necessary to legalise medical cannabis products.

They hope to bring the issue out of the shadows and start a public debate based on medical research and the legalisation of the product in other countries.  

"When people talk about the side effects of medical cannabis oil in a case like Lachlans, I laugh," she said.

"What people don't realise is that every siezure medication alters the brains state and many have extremely severe side effects including psychosis."  

"If Lachlan lived in Canada, Finland, Israel or 23 US states and many other countries we could go to a doctor and legally have access to medical cannabis treatments for Lachlan.  

A Brisbane member of the advocacy group, Michelle Whitelaw, also appeared in Brisbane media this week and publicly declared she had been illegally treating her son Jai's severe epilepsy with medical cannabis oil.

"I support Michelle Whitelaw's right to act in the best interests of her child, even if she is breaking the law," Mrs Miles said.

Rhonda Miles with her son Lachlan in December 2011, his first time on life support.
Rhonda Miles with her son Lachlan in December 2011, his first time on life support. Contributed

"The law can be wrong."

Mrs Miles said they had never treated Lachlan with medical cannabis and weren't sure it would work.

"We know it won't necessarily be a miracle cure, although for some people like the Whitelaws it has been, but we have run out of options."

Go to the Lachlan Miles Support Facebook Page to find out more about Lachlan and the petition.

The Chonicle's front page story on Rhonda Miles's push to legalise the use of medical marijuana.
The Chonicle's front page story on Rhonda Miles's push to legalise the use of medical marijuana. Contributed

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