A Rotorua mum seeking medicinal cannabis for her sick and disabled daughter is urging people to sign a petition asking the Government to decriminalise the plant.

Karen Jeffries is "desperate" to find another way to treat her daughter Zoe, after a recent electroencephalography (EEG) showed no improvements in her condition over the past five years, despite taking numerous pharmaceutical drugs.

A petition to decriminalise medical cannabis was posted online last week by the group Mothers for Medicinal Cannabis and has since received more than 1000 signatures.

Ms Jeffries, who is part of the group, said they were pleased with how many signatures they had received.


"To get more than 1000 signatures after only a week - and that is just through Facebook and other social media - is quite overwhelming.

"We are aiming for 10,000 signatures and will then take the petition to the Minister of Health in the hope it will spark a change of heart or at least get more people talking about it."

Ms Jeffries said the results from 6-year-old Zoe's EEG were still showing an "abundant amount" of seizures.

"After five years you would hope to see an improvement in her condition, especially since she is on so much medication, but we knew that wasn't the case just by seeing her. It's so sad to see as her mum but I know it will be good for our case."

When Zoe was born, her brain was deprived of oxygen and she was diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental disorder.

When she was put in the Special Care Baby Unit she started seizing and doctors diagnosed her with refractory seizure disorder.

"We know there are a lot of people in our boat who are further along than we are and are unnecessarily suffering. The petition is about creating more awareness and sharing stories."

Ms Jeffries said knowing there were children improving from the use of medicinal cannabis was the driving force behind her "uphill battle".


"We've had a really bad year this year and we don't know how long we have with Zoe so we want to try make her life as good as possible before it's too late.

"But even if we did get medicinal cannabis decriminalised, it wouldn't be subsidised. There is one child in New Zealand on it and her parents are paying $1400 a month for the oil," she said.

"There is no way we could afford to pay that a month so this is just the next step in a very long journey."

Ms Jeffries said she was pushing for awareness not just for Zoe, but for all suffering children.

"It is a human rights issue now. We should be allowed to try a medicine, which is a plant, that has been proven worldwide to be beneficial. If we did not speak up on this issue who would? How much longer should people have to suffer and die in pain?"