Legal access for patients suffering from ailments such as Epilepsy and Cancer could be available as soon as March. Laws are being changed and last week the Australian Government agreed unanimously to make amendments to the Narcotics Drugs Act 1967.
Health minister Susan Ley who has been at the forefront of pushing legislation made this statement.
“This government understands that there are some Australians suffering from severe conditions for which cannabis may have applications and we want to enable access to the most effective medical treatments available,”
“The Turnbull Government will introduce landmark legislation providing the ‘missing piece’ for Australian patients and their doctors to access a safe, legal and reliable supply of medicinal cannabis products for the management of painful and chronic conditions.”
The Australian Cannabis story is fascinating, the country is surrounded by the strictest drug laws in the world, places like Bali have often executed Australians for Drug offences and many people are currently imprisoned for cannabis offences in Australia under laws now set to change.
Since 1967, cannabis has been outlawed, viewed as a drug to get you high and classified as a schedule 1 drug with no accepted medical use. In the last 18 months, the level of support has sky-rocketed with a now astonishing 97% of Australians supporting the use of medical marijuana.
How did this happen?
How did Australia and the Australian people go from being one of the most anti-drug western countries, with the same media and corporate interests and the same society based stigma around cannabis, to be leading the way globally for cannabis legalisation?
One word, compassion.
With the medicinal properties of the Cannabis Sativa L plant being realised globally, many families are now turning to cannabis oil in desperate attempts to alleviate their loved one’s suffering. Families members suffering from cancer, children with aliments such as ‘Dravet’s Syndrome’ having upwards of 100 seizures a day all of whom can benefit from the medicinal use of this plant.
Stories of families such as the Haslams, who lost their son to cancer then began a nationwide campaign and petition to legalise. A family who pressurised not only the NSW local government into law-making amendments but also put pressure on global governments with an open letter published in the Guardian.
“Being sympathetic to a cause sounds lovely, but it’s not enough. When that cause is decriminalising medicinal cannabis, we’ve heard enough sympathy. It begins to sound like apathy. It is a delaying tactic. An excuse for further procrastination. Meanwhile, horrifically sick people – including those with terminal illness and life threatening conditions – continue to suffer unnecessarily when cannabis could afford them relief.”
The Wallace’s, whose son Cooper has severe brain damage, cerebral abscesses, hydrocephalus, epilepsy and cerebral palsy is now attending school for the first time and whose parents credit CBD rich cannabis oil for saving his life:
“It’s the reason why he’s still with us today, and without it he will eventually die,”
Who can forget the story of Adam Keossler, a father who was arrested for treating his terminally ill 3 year old daughter Rumer with cannabis oil, and the subsequent global petition to allow him to do that raising over 200,000 signatures.
‘Her cancer-ridden little body was alive again— Rumer had almost instant quality of life, she would say, ‘Daddy, tummy’s not sore,’ and she would be able to eat like a champion and begin to gain weight.’
There is no more powerful story to raise compassion than a family trying to save their child, and certainly it is impossible not to feel compassionate towards these families. In all cases these children are facing life threatening diseases and unmentionable suffering. Their parents are using a simple plant to ease that suffering. In most cases that medicine has been richer in CBD than THC so is not as psychoactive and not the same genetically as the commercially available high THC strains most of us know today. All have been brave coming forward risking prosecution. All have done that so that other parents in similar situations can be made aware of this plants medicinal benefits.
These small family struggles have become a national discussion and changed the face of marijuana in Australia for ever. We salute these Australians in their bravery, persistence and honesty in coming forward, and the Australian public who have shown such overwhelming compassion and support.
The rights of families to choose how to medicate their sick children and loved ones have been paramount in raising awareness to this plants potential.
Why would any parent put their child at risk?
More importantly why are patients all over the world being denied their basic right to medicine?
We hope that as more CBD rich cannabis medicine becomes accessible, more families will turn to this ancient medicinal plant. Success stories will go public and the stigma caused by 80 years of lies and misinformation will change public perception.
After all, prior to the last 80 years of misinformation and the ‘war on drugs’, this plant was used medicinally by civilised societies for millennia.