Push to allow medical cannabis for Lily

Lily Poulter (9) relies on a cocktail of pain killers which could all be replaced with medicinal cannabis at parliament house today. Pictured in her mum Nicole's arms. Picture: Steve Ferrier/The West Australian

A Perth mother yesterday confessed she had considered making cannabis oil to help relieve her daughter's pain symptoms but feared repercussions from child welfare authorities.

Evidence of the medicinal benefits of cannabis in the form of sprays, tablets or oils is growing worldwide, but the products are illegal in Australia.

Today, the Poulter family of five joined a push by WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan for medicinal cannabis to be prescribed in strictly controlled circumstances.


Mother Nicole Poulter said her daughter Lily, 9, had been prescribed a series of opiate drugs for more than two years including Lyrica, Oxynorm and Tramadol to treat the symptoms of two rare disorders.

One is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which causes Lily’s joints to regularly pop out of place, and the other is complex regional pain syndrome, which overstimulates nerves so the slightest touch is felt as pain.

Mrs Poulter said the side effects of opiates on a small body were harsh and the family’s research led them to believe medicinal cannabis would be preferable.

“It’s very heart-wrenching, as a parent, seeing your daughter go through so much pain,” she said.

“I’ve researched how to make the oil but due to the fact that it is against the law, I can’t do it. We love our kids, we don’t want (Department of Child Protection and Family Support) involved.”

Lily said: “If I had a genie I would only have one wish. To take the pain and the syndrome out of my life.”

Health Minister Kim Hames has written to federal counterpart Peter Dutton recommending a Commonwealth-led trial of medicinal cannabis. He has said any new drugs on the market need to be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, therefore a federal approach is needed.

Mr McGowan said one letter was not enough and Premier Colin Barnett should be raising the matter with Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

“When I came out with this policy back in July (the State Government) accused me of being soft on drugs,” he said.

“They seem to have changed their mind a little bit but it’s not good enough.”