Cannabis campaigners call for patients' amnesty | poll

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A Riverina woman who turned to cannabis to deal with crippling pain has joined a chorus of campaigners calling for an amnesty on patients using medical cannabis.

Griffith veterinary nurse Kelly Cameron said patients “absolutely” needed an amnesty from prosecution.

“Without it they’re completely in pain,” she said. “You wind up having to be a criminal to be a productive member of society.”

Ms Cameron said a friend of hers was about to go to prison in Western Australia simply for trying cannabis oil for pain relief. The oil has no psychoactive properties, meaning patients can’t use it to get ‘high’.

“People want to take care of their health but at the moment they have to live illegally,” she said. 

“It affects work, day-to-day life, they just can’t function.”

Cannabis campaigner Lucy Haslam began calling for access to medical cannabis after her son, Daniel, started using the illegal drug as part of his cancer treatment.

The young man was so affected by chemotherapy he would vomit uncontrollably and cannabis was the only thing that could stop it. Eventually, he used cannabis for pain relief before he died from cancer at the age of 25.

“I think there needs to be recognition that many people get a great benefit from medical cannabis,” Mrs Haslam said. 

“Sadly, the wheels of bureaucracy turn very slowly and we need an amnesty for people who use this incredible drug.

“Cannabis is so benign, I’m sure in years to come it will come to be considered a wonder drug.”

While the NSW Government had established the Terminal Illness Cannabis Scheme, Mrs Haslam said it had a lot of flaws.

“It’s a poorly thought out scheme,” she said. “The name was a big problem for Daniel, who wants to be part of that club? 

“He never wanted to accept his illness was terminal.”

Ms Cameron said if NSW Premier Mike Baird could abolish greyhound racing, seemingly overnight, then he could certainly help patients living in fear.

“He would be doing NSW a favour if for his next trick he could do something positive and create a ‘whole plant’ natural cannabis industry,” she said.

“Give this industry back to the farmers who created it and open up new employment opportunities to those who have been negatively affected by unfair and unjust cannabis testing regimes.”