Former MP backs medicinal marijuana use

FORMER Member for Hinkler Paul Neville has given evidence before a Senate committee backing the legalisation of medicinal cannabis.

The Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee was taking evidence on the Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis Bill 2014.

Mr Neville's granddaughter, Ava, has a condition called tuberous sclerosis, which means she has benign tumours throughout her body.

Paul Neville with his grand-daughter Ava.
Paul Neville with his grand-daughter Ava. Contributed

Mr Neville said on Wednesday his daughter-in-law Joelle had managed to get hold of a small bottle of cannabis oil.

At the time Ava was having five to 10 seizures a day.

With a dose of two drops of oil in the morning and two in the evening, she was now down to one seizure in eight weeks and was off her other medications.

"She has a better lifestyle, and cognitively she is more responsive," he said.

Mr Neville said he was proposing an immediate change in the law.

"We can't wait three to five years for a trial," he said.

"We know there is at least one strain of the product that is safe and very effective."

He said products that were known to work should have temporary exemptions.

"This could help people with terminal illnesses, incessant pain, those subject to fitting, seizures or epileptic type events," he said.

Mr Neville said he made the very clear distinction that he in no way favoured the recreational use of cannabis.

But he did not see why there could not be licensed growers in Australia producing a high quality product.

He drew parallels with the situation in Tasmania, where licensed growers produce poppies for certain drugs.

Mr Neville said the results of the cannabis oil in his own family had been remarkable.

He said the oil should only be used legally with the approval of two doctors.