News that an Australian man faces jail for growing cannabis for his sick daughters is renewing the push to expand access to medical marijuana. Stephen Taylor, of New South Whales, had initially sought the assistance of doctors qualified to prescribe medical cannabis. But after he was unable to find one, Taylor began cultivating cannabis in his home. Now, he’s looking at a criminal conviction and jail time, just for providing medicine to his daughters.
Poor Access To Medical Cannabis Forces Patients To Break The Law
Although Australia legalized medical cannabis use in 2016, a dearth of physicians licensed to prescribe cannabis has forced many people to seek medicine on the illicit market.
So far, just 519 patients have obtained approval for medical cannabis treatments. Yet many medical professionals say upwards of 100,000 Australians are eligible for medical marijuana.
The large disparity between those eligible and those receiving treatment is due to a couple of factors. For one, bureaucratic red tape makes the process of registering as a physician or caregiver somewhat of a challenge. As a result, patients are having trouble finding doctors who can prescribe cannabis in their area.
Secondly, medical cannabis has yet to penetrate the mainstream consensus among physicians. Many doctors in Australia doubt the efficacy of cannabis and have been reluctant to embrace its medical use.
The fact that clinical trials are ongoing in every state may also contribute to the shortfall of physicians applying for a license.
It’s within this context that an Australian man faces jail for growing cannabis for his sick daughters. Stephen Taylor felt he was forced to cultivate his own cannabis. Taylor’s two daughters, Ariel and Morgan Taylor, both suffer from the debilitating autoimmune disease, Crohn’s disease.
Australian Man Faces Jail For Growing Cannabis For His Sick Daughters
Crohn’s disease is a serious and lifelong autoimmune disorder. It affects a person’s gastrointestinal tract, causing painful inflammation.
Symptoms vary, but commonly included drastic weight loss and appetite loss. Inflammation in the gut can also prevent the body’s ability to correctly absorb nutrients, causing further weight loss and even stunting growth in young people.
Stephen Taylor’s daughters both suffer from these symptoms. He says his daughters are still frequently hospitalized due to weight loss. Crohn’s disease significantly decreases Ariel and Morgan’s quality of life.
“A couple of times I have carried Morgan into the hospital weighing around 70 pounds,” Stephen Taylor told ABC.
“Actually carrying her in my arms crying. No parent should have to do this. At any stage,” he added.
Unable to find effective treatments, Stephen Taylor began cultivating cannabis in his backyard. He used the leaves of the cannabis plant to make a medicinal juice for his daughters.
In just a couple of weeks, Taylor said he saw a visible improvement in his daughters’ condition. He even believes his oldest daughter Morgan, who is 21, went into remission.
“Morgan was starting to gain weight, she was starting to eat healthy food and we said ‘fantastic,’” Taylor told ABC News.
In the same interview, Morgan attested to the healing power of the juiced cannabis her father had made. She said the juice made an immediate, positive impact on her quality of life.
Within a month, Morgan was no longer confined to her bed. She was even able to eat well and exercise.
“I gained weight, I got up to 110 pounds, I was able to work,” Morgan told ABC.
Medical Cannabis And Crohn’s Disease
About a month into his DIY cannabis treatments, however, police raided Stephen Taylor’s home and charged him with possession and cultivation of cannabis. If Taylor is found guilty of the charges, he could face a hefty fine and a number of years behind bars.
But while Taylor is facing jail time for treating his daughters’ Crohn’s disease with homegrown cannabis, hopefully the media attention will help his daughters find a licensed caregiver able to prescribe medical marijuana.
Yet an Australian man faces jail for growing cannabis for his sick daughters. This is something that shouldn’t happen in a country with legal medical marijuana a rapidly developing cannabis economy.
Multiple studies have documented a link between the powerful anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis and healing.
These effects could “provide new therapeutics for the treatment of a number of gastrointestinal diseases, including nausea and vomiting, gastric ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s disease,” researchers concluded.
Cannabis is also an effective appetite inducer and pain reliever, which makes it even more viable as a treatment for Crohn’s disease-related symptoms like weight loss and painful swelling.