Coast MP backs push for probe into medical cannabis use
THE time is ripe for a thorough investigation into the use of cannabis oil in the treatment of medical conditions, says Member for Buderim Steve Dickson.
An online petition sponsored by the LNP representative has called for an amnesty on prosecution for cannabis therapy patients, their carers and cannabis therapists.
It has received strong support with more than 5000 people signing the petition since it went live on the Queensland Parliament website last Friday.
The petition calls on Parliament to allow people with medical conditions or symptoms who may benefit to have access to Australian-made whole-plant cannabis therapies.
It also notes potential benefits to farmers and the Queensland economy.
Buderim woman and principal petitioner Bec Bridson approached Mr Dickson for his support after extensively researching evidence of health benefits experienced by cannabis therapy patients.
Mr Dickson said he was aware the use of cannabis oil for medicinal purposes was controversial.
"Some people are opposed to the idea, while others say the potential medical benefits are such that it needs to be explored," Mr Dickson said.
"All viewpoints are valid."
He said political representatives had a responsibility to allow the investigation of the use of cannabis oil for medical conditions.
"One case that was shared with me was that of a young boy, Jai Whitelaw, who suffered up to 500 seizures per day whilst taking numerous pharmaceutical medications and after using medicinal cannabis oil, he has had four seizures in just over 330 days.
"I understand the urgency of parents of sick children who are seeking better and more-effective treatments and believe the time is ripe to investigate seriously."
He noted that Tasmania had a well-established industry growing opium poppies for medical drug purposes.
"Anything that can bring relief to those suffering from medical conditions should be considered," he said.
Mrs Bridson said she was motivated to investigate the benefits of cannabis after receiving a phone call in July last year from a friend who had been diagnosed with breast cancer for the fourth time.
"She said 'I can't do chemo (therapy) again Bec. I can't lose what I've got'," Mrs Bridson said.
She read about research into cannabis therapy on a range of conditions, including cancer as well as epilepsy, post traumatic stress disorder and Alzheimer's disease.
"It is now an obsession," she said. "I know it works, I've seen it."
She said politicians had a duty of care to ensure people had access to suitable health treatments.
"I know Steve (Dickson) is very active on the Coast.
"I went to him and said 'I need your help'."
Mrs Bridson wanted the amnesty to be extended to those treating any condition which could be benefited by the use of cannabis.
"No patient should be left behind and no condition should be left behind."
She was encouraged by the strong online reaction to the petition.
"That tells me the people are ready to make the decisions for the politicians."
To view the petition, go to www.parliament.qld.gov.au and search medicinal cannabis amnesty.