Teenager given permission to use medical cannabis by New Zealand government dies

The family sought a medicinal cannabidiol oil treatment for their son after conventional medicines had failed to help

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The Independent Online

A teenager who was given permission by the New Zealand government to use medical cannabis has died.

Alex Renton, 19, had been in hospital since April due to a prolonged seizure, the cause of which is still undetermined.

His family said on Facebook that he had died “peacefully” on Wednesday night, surrounded by loved ones and “listening to music”.

This evening our beautiful warrior Alex passed peacefully away. He was surrounded by his family, listening to his own...

Posted by Support for Alex's Journey on Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Staff at Wellington Hospital had been forced to put Renton into an induced coma, after which his family petitioned the Government to allow him to be treated with medicinal cannabidiol oil or Elixinol.

The family sought the alternative treatment after conventional medicines had failed to help Renton.  They staged a protest along with supporters outside the hospital in June calling for greater access to medical cannabis.

The Facebook group, “Support for Alex’s Journey”, gained national support and Associate Health Minister, Peter Dunne approved the cannabis-based treatment to be used last month, saying that his decision came down “the dire circumstances and extreme severity of Mr Renton's individual case.”

Renton received his first dose of the oil on 16 June which was sent from America.

Renton’s sister Jessie posted on her Facebook page: “Fly high my darling boy, I know you will be next to me every step of the way. I love you Alex and couldn't be prouder of everything you have achieved. You are free now my bro.”

Labour MP Damien O'Connor, a former associate health minister, who is creating a member's bill calling for better access to CBD (cannabinoid) for families who have already tried conventional treatments, said that he had passed on his condolences to the Renton family.

He said in a statement: “Alex's journey would only serve to keep the fight for better access to CBD for those who have tried other alternatives going. As a tribute to the battle Alex was fighting, we will continue to work on the Member's Bill.“ 

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