Should cannabis be made legal – an argument with two opposing sides. In Western Australia cannabis is illegal – full stop. Yet cannabis does have therapeutic properties for people suffering from epilepsy, cancer and other ailments. Western Australia has some of the toughest laws with relation to the use of cannabis and other illicit substances. The Misuse of Drugs Act 1981 (WA) is the governing legislation for drug offences committed in Western Australia.
Recently, there has been a push for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis. Western Australian company Phytotech Medical is working with farms in the US and Urugauay to cultivate indoor and outdoor marijuana crops for medicinal purposes. Phytotech founder and chief executive Ross Smith states, “Australia could potentially be a world centre for growing cannabis in much the same way we’re a world leader for growing medical opium”.
Throughout this debate, the use and effect of cannabis has been closely scrutinised. The main concerns are with the long term use of cannabis are: respiratory problems; foetal development issues during pregnancy and permanent mental symptoms such as anxiety, depression and paranoia. Conversely, the Australia Medical Association states, “there is a growing body of evidence that certain cannabinoids are effective in the treatment of chronic pain, particularly as an alternative or adjunct to the use of opiates, when the development of opiate tolerance and withdrawal can be avoided”.
In recent times the news has documented cases where parents, friends and families are being prosecuted because they are trying to source cannabis for their terminally ill loved ones. For example, Cooper Batten is a three year old from Melbourne who suffers severe epileptic seizures, which means he cannot walk or talk. His mother has been administering a tincture of cannabis oil, which she maintains is saving her son, even after doctors told her nothing could be done for Cooper. Cooper’s mother and father were arrested by Victorian police of possession of cannabis oil.
Daniel Haslam, the face of the movement to legalise medical cannabis was 24 when he died in February this year, due to an aggressive form of bowel cancer that he suffered for four years. He sought the use of cannabis to help him deal with the effects of the chemotherapy, namely, the violent bouts of nausea and vomiting. Haslam allowed the public to peer into his very private battle demonstrating how the use of the cannabis was the “difference between living and being alive”.
Should you, or anyone you know, need any help in relation to drug charges, or any other criminal matters, contact Lawson Legal for your free initial consultation with one of our experienced criminal lawyers.