Pubdate: Sun, 22 Nov 2015
Source: Canberra Times (Australia)
Copyright: 2015 Canberra Times
Author: Adam Gartrell
Page: 10


Five weeks ago, Bill Shorten visited Cherie and Trevor Dell in their
Sydney home to talk about how medicinal cannabis is helping their
daughter Abbey, aged 3.

The very next day, the police came knocking.

Abbey suffers from a genetic disorder which results in constant
violent seizures.

They tried every legal medicine and treatment under the sun but found
that nothing worked. Eventually, desperate to relieve Abbey's
suffering, they turned to underground suppliers that provide illegal
medicinal cannabis oil to families in need.

Before the cannabis treatments, Abbey suffered dozens of seizures
every day, with some of them lasting 45 minutes.

''Now we have possibly one per day and some days are seizure free,''
said Mrs Dell. ''It has definitely helped.''

The transformation was so remarkable they started thinking about how
they could use it to help their other five children, all of whom
suffer from disorders such as autism and ADHD.

After doing some research - and just before the Opposition Leader came
to visit - they started Abbey's older brother on the same oil.

Before the cannabis, the boy was destructive and violent, often
uncontrollable, they said - but then he calmed down, got his emotions
under control and started learning in school.

Mrs Dell believes someone at their son's school told the

They came on a Saturday, when she was out. Mr Dell let them in and
admitted: yes, two of our children are using cannabis oil.

The couple believe that if Mr Shorten hadn't just visited, things
could have gone very differently.

Mr Dell showed police the pictures of the politician in their living
room. ''They turned around promptly and said 'see you later, have a
good night','' Mrs Dell said.

She is confident it will be legalised in the coming years. But she
believes there should also be an immediate amnesty for families like
hers, so they do not have to live in fear of the police.

''There is still that risk of being charged and having a criminal
record,'' she said. ''There still is that chance of them saying, 'too
bad, we know that you're in the media but it's our job'. We need
something done now.''

The Coalition, Labor and the Greens all support the legalisation of
medicinal cannabis, but differ over how to go about it.
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