CHRONIC PAIN: Tammara Hawkins has been investigating the benefits of medicinal marijuana and has a specialist appointment lined up but was caught by police with drugs in her system.
CHRONIC PAIN: Tammara Hawkins has been investigating the benefits of medicinal marijuana and has a specialist appointment lined up but was caught by police with drugs in her system.

$35k surgery bill or smoke weed: Woman’s impossible choice

DEBILITATING back pain stops Tammara Hawkins, 28, from being able to stand for long or sit through a movie with her partner's children.

For her, smoking marijuana is the only remedy that has had any effect on the pain and she insists it's a non-negotiable part of each day.

Driving on Gatton-Esk Rd, at Adare, Hawkins was pulled over by police about 10.25am on November 24.

The Buaraba woman underwent a roadside drug test, which showed traces of marijuana and meth in her system.

Appearing in Gatton Magistrates Court on a charge of drug driving, Hawkins pleaded guilty, telling magistrate Kay Ryan she had smoked marijuana but denied ever having touched meth.

"I was at a friend's house and in pain - they asked me if I wanted a joint and I had a couple of puffs," she said.

"I don't touch ice or anything."

Ms Ryan told Hawkins dealers were cutting meth into pot

"That's why it shows up in the test - it's pretty scary stuff."

Hawkins told Ms Ryan she had suffered a back injury at work two years ago and had been trying to treat her pain with prescription medication to no avail.

"I do smoke marijuana daily, your honour, for back pain because (the medication) I'm on … can ruin the liver," Hawkins said.

"I can have surgery but it's $35,000 - and being 28, I can't afford it."

She told Ms Ryan she was in the process of organising medicinal marijuana.

"They've given me a letter to see a Medical Centre down on the Gold Coast," she said.

"I wouldn't be here wasting everyone's time if I had that license."

Ms Ryan was impressed Hawkins had made attempts to trial medicinal marijuana.

"It's really good you've been referred to get onto that medicinal stuff, hopefully," Ms Ryan said.

Hawkins was fined $350 and disqualified from driving for three months.



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