Meet the ‘Criminal’ Doctor Providing Patients with Cannabis Oil
Dr. Andrew Katelaris of Australia is great example of a physician upholding the Hippocatic Oath, the universal ethical standard, regardless of outdated cannabis laws. The doctor has been brewing cannabis oil illegally for ten years. Katelaris was booted from the medical marijuana registry in 2005. The Pot Doctor is a new documentary about Katelaris’ zealous approach to medical marijuana research.
“It’s bizarre that in the 21st Century we have to hide the production of life-saving medicine,” Katelaris told News.com.au. Katelaris was arrested for indepedently conducting research into the drug for child epilepsy.
The threat of prosecution isn’t a worry for Dr. Katelaris, who is only concerned with the welfare of his patients. “I haven’t sought to avoid legal troubles,” Dr Katelaris said in The Pot Doctor. “Our primary motivation is to actually advance the cause of medical cannabis.”
Recently the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee passed the Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis Bill which is the first step towards legal cannabis in Australia. “Over the last few years even though I have operated quite openly I haven’t attracted any negative legal intervention which is appreciated but we’re prepared to fight on any front that’s presented and if its necessary that we go to court and dispute the prohibition against medical cannabis and that’s what we will do.”
Dr. Katelaris was given the decision to either drop his research to continue as a registered doctor. It never stopped him from continuing his research. “It wasn’t a very hard decision,” he explained. “Seeing the therapeutic affects of what we were doing and the clear superiority of cannabis therapeutics whether they are used a sole agent or a combination agent.”
“Once you have seen that you can’t turn your back on people and say ‘yeah there’s something that will help you a great deal but you can’t have it. That’s simply not acceptable for me.”
“People say of you have sacrificed a lot, your career, but this is my career, right? If I was one of the yes men in a white coat, that’s not a career. That’s the role of a yes man in a white coat. It simply didn’t suit my personality. But I have not sacrificed my career, this is my career.”
Cassie Batten and Rhett Wallace were also interviewed about their four-year-old son Cooper. They hope medical marijuana will help him to walk. “Walking doesn’t seem out of the question now,” dad Rhett says in the film. “Since we have discovered the amazing therapeutic effects of CBD in childhood epilepsy, it is becoming imperative that our work not be disturbed because there is nothing worse than actually helping a child to achieve wellness and then by lack of product not being able to continue with that wellness,” Katelaris said in the film. “So therefore we are forced into hidden places to avoid the ignorant and draconian policies that are currently limiting access to medical cannabis for sick and dying children.”
Katelaris however has received some sharp criticism. “I am concerned by his approach where it is a bit holier than though. He seems to feel that he knows more than the scientific community,” Dr. Stephen Parnis of the Australian Medical Association told News.com.au.
Katelaris continues to research cannabis oil despite the risks he’s taking.