Steven Taylor, a father of two girls, from Australia, is facing jail time for medicating his daughters with cannabis. Both his daughters, Morgan and Ariel suffer from the chronic auto-immune disease, Crohn’s.
Like many other parents with children suffering from chronic conditions, Taylor has been on an emotional rollercoaster.
“A couple of times there I carried Morgan into hospital weighing around 32 kilograms – actually carrying her in my arms and crying,” he said.
Morgan (21), and her sister, Ariel, (25), have both been hospitalized for Crohn’s Disease on a number of occasions. Crohn’s is a chronic condition that affects the bowel. It causes severe inflammation in the digestive tract which can lead to a number of symptoms, extreme weight loss, and malnutrition being among the more severe.
In an effort to ease his daughters’ suffering, Taylor tried various different medications. The traditional drugs prescribed by doctors proved unsuccessful and had severe side effects.
“I got really bad arthritis… my knees were swollen and I couldn’t walk some days,” Morgan said.
After a string of unsuccessful medications, Taylor decided to try something different. He starting medicating his daughters with cannabis juice and the results were almost instantaneous.
“It was really within a month, and I was exercising and I gained weight, I got up to 50 kilos,” Morgan said. ‘
Ian McGregor, a Professor of Psychopharmacology at the Lambert Initiative For Cannabinoid Therapeutics at Sydney University, has commented on the news, affirming that juicing cannabis is very different to smoking it for a cerebral high.
“In many ways, juicing is a positive thing to do because you don’t get nearly as much of the intoxicating element, which is THC and you get another component of cannabinoid, which is THCA which has very strong anti-inflammatory properties in the gut.”
Medical marijuana has been legal in Australia for approximately 18 months, however, access to the life-changing medicine remains limited. It is estimated only 500 patients are currently being served by the country’s medical marijuana program. This has led many Australians, like Taylor, to seek out medical cannabis illegally.
Now, Taylor’s home has been raided and he is facing jail time for medicating his daughters.
Taylor’s isn’t a unique case, either. Adam Koessler from Queensland, Australia was arrested for saving his child’s life with cannabis oil. The 1967 Narcotics Drug Act was amended in February 2016 to allow for the cultivation of cannabis for medical use. Technically, patients should be able to access medical marijuana, however as the amendment is still so new, accessibility has been a major issue. Suppliers of medical marijuana in Australia must also be approved under the Therapeutic Goods Act and laws have yet to be implemented to regulate the licensing, production and distribution of cannabis. Whilst, in the United States, individual states have legalized first, Australia has taken the opposite approach.
Here, in the U.S., where a number of states have implemented medical marijuana programs, thousands of families continue to suffer because they do not have access to medical marijuana. Alexis Bortell and her family had to move from their home state of Texas to Colorado in order to access medical marijuana to ease Alexis’ seizures.
It’s a common theme in the debate over marijuana legalization, both within and outside the United States. Legalizing marijuana for medical use isn’t enough – there needs to be a comprehensive program that allows patients in need of medicine access to it.
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