Dad jailed for giving cannabis oil to terminally ill daughter

Jan 21, 2015 at 9:00 p.m. ET

Is it OK to give your kid cannabis oil? What if she were terminally ill? An Australian dad was thrown in the slammer for desperately trying to help his sick daughter feel better.

There are so many news stories that tell horrid tales of child abuse and neglect, such as the woman who set her baby on fire, or the dad who threw his 5-year-old girl off a bridge. So it's very hard to imagine that a parent is being punished for doing all he can to help his baby feel better when her future is grim.

At only 2 years old, Australian tot Rumer Rose was recently diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma — a type of cancer. The prognosis isn't great, but her father, Adam, was determined to help support her in any way that he could. He started supplementing her chemotherapy treatments with cannabis oil, and has reported excellent results — he says that it helps her feel better.


The problem is that medical marijuana is illegal in Australia, and Adam was arrested for supplying it to his daughter. However, medical-grade marijuana isn't given so a patient can experience a recreational high. Instead, it has been shown to reduce pain and alleviate the debilitating side effects, such as nausea and vomiting, of chemotherapy. However, its use remains controversial, particularly in the pediatric age group.

The initial conditions of Adam's bail spelled out that he wouldn't be allowed to see his daughter, but that was fortunately amended and he was able to spend some time with her recently. That being said, he will still face a court hearing and criminal prosecution.

Is giving medical-grade cannabis oil to a terminally ill child worthy of jail time? No. I understand that it's illegal in their country, but it shouldn't be. This medication is far less toxic to the body than the chemotherapy she has received, and if it's helping with her comfort and well being, then Adam should be allowed compassionate use for now until the time that it's legalized.

In December, the family of a young boy in another Australian state also faced the prospect of spending time in jail for giving him the same treatment, but police in their area have decided to not go forward with the charges. While this gives Adam hope, it also understandably causes plenty of frustration — why are lawmakers there understanding, while those in his own state are not?

I'm hopeful that this little girl can be with her father and the legal drama doesn't affect her any worse than it already has, and I also hope that the charges are dropped and she can continue receiving the medication.

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