Tweed families in spotlight as medical marijuana is legalised
THE touching story of a Tweed family featured in Federal Parliament this week as historic laws to legalise marijuana products for medicinal use were passed.
The Federal Parliament passed the Narcotic Drugs Amendment Bill yesterday, paving the way for patients and doctors to access a safe, legal and reliable supply of medicinal cannabis for painful and chronic conditions.
Richmond MP Justine Elliot spoke in support of the Bill during its passage on Tuesday, citing the story of a Tweed family who used the drug to treat their disabled son.
Reading from an article printed in the Tweed Daily News in September 2014, Mrs Elliot said families should not have been forced to choose between health and the law.
“No-one—no family—should have to choose between getting their loved one the medicine they need and breaking the law,” Mrs Elliot said.
“Patients who are suffering from a terminal illness or other serious medical conditions should be able to access safe, reliable and legal medicinal cannabis.
“In supporting this idea, we are driven by the science, by compassion and by the need to treat people with dignity. We firmly believe that the time has come for a national scheme.”
Under the new national scheme, a patient with a valid prescription can use medicinal cannabis products made from plants legally cultivated in Australia, where the supply is authorised.
Health Minister Sussan Ley said the bi-partisan agreement would see “seamless access to locally-produced medicinal cannabis products from farm to pharmacy”.
“This is the missing piece in a patient’s treatment journey,” Ms Ley said.
“A national regulator will allow the Government to closely track the development of cannabis products for medicinal use from cultivation to supply and curtail any attempts by criminals to get involved.”
A Uki mother-of-two, who used cannabis oil to treat her breast cancer, welcomed the new law but was disappointed it would be restricted to pain and chronic conditions.
“Especially in the light of the hundreds of studies coming from America recently finding that it does kills cancer cells,” she said.
The 50-year-old Uki breast cancer survivor, who did not want her name published, said she accessed cannabis oil through the North Coast black market, while overseen by an alternative Mullumbimby GP.
She claimed use of the medicinal cannabis over an 18-month period saw one lump extracted with black salve while a second lump was “absorbed”, with no cancer having returned since.
“Parents especially always have the same concern: ‘It’s illegal, what if I get caught?’,” she said.
“They have a personal dilemma of their child’s health being compared with being arrested, and of course their children’s health is more important.”
She said Uki and Nimbin were hot spots for cannabis oil production - where it was offered for free, for payment, or donation - with US laws offering a good model for producers to commercialise operations.
“In America you can go to a shop, and they will have in jars, dozens and dozens of marijuana and oils in different THC and cannabinoid combinations made by the growers,” the woman said.
The new laws did not relate to the decriminalisation of cannabis for general cultivation or recreational use.