With the Enough is Enough rally set to go ahead at Parliament House tomorrow, Dopamine speaks with a spokesperson for the CannabisWarriors Coalition – spearheaded by the MCUA and HEMP party – who are putting on the event.
MORE: Protesters to march on Canberra over “pharmaceutical” cannabis scheme
You’re marching against the government’s lack of movement around cannabis legislation, and believe it is stalling in order to build a “pharmaceutical framework” that will benefit big business. What makes you believe this?
The Office of Drug Control (ODC)’s regulatory framework makes it impossible for any small producers to get a foot in the door. We have master growers out here who want the job, but the rules make it impossible for them to get a chance: growers need a minimum of $5 million behind them. Also, manufacturing licences will only be available to big pharma because cannabis is a Schedule 8 drug – only those registered to manufacture them will be given the go-ahead.
They have raided and charged at least six of our compassionate suppliers in the last 12 months. The ODC said they knew who these people were, and promised it would do “something” about this “problem” when the framework was in place. They have been true to their word – and people are getting sicker in the process.
Queensland has also increased its penalties for anyone growing, manufacturing, supplying or dispensing cannabis medicine from illicit cannabis, which is still an S9.
The discovery of this medicine should be a miracle, not a cash-grab – it’s insane to let people die while they wait to find out if it “works”. We know it works, other countries know it works, so what’s the hold-up? No-one has given us an answer yet.
You’ve booked both David Leyonhjelm and a TBA One Nation member – both very controversial political figures – to speak at the event. Are you worried about backlash for being associated with these parties?
We are definitely not associated with either party (or any party for that matter) – as you can imagine, as activists, we’re deeply mistrusting of any political party looking for votes on the latest hot topics. We appreciate that politicians are taking an interest in our events, but only because it helps get our message out to more people and puts pressure on them to do something about it. Every Australian politician was sent an invitation to this event, and they were the only two who responded, so they’re on the program. That’s it.
On a personal note (speaking on behalf of myself now), I absolutely do not support One Nation’s policies, and I believe that Pauline Hanson is getting on board with cannabis reform to suit her own personal agenda. I worry that a lot of compassionate people will be put off by the cannabis movement if she supports it because many of her other policies are so socially abhorrent.
Why don’t you want big pharma companies to control the cannabis market?
They are profit driven, not patient driven. Cannabis is an herbal medicine. It will never fit into the mould of standardised doses of one-size-fit-all.
Cannabis is a food. When eaten fresh and raw it can kick-start endocannabinoid function which brings about balance in the body – when the body is in balance, healing occurs. We want the choice to use cannabis and hemp seed foods as preventatives as much as a curative medicine.
The people who have a financial interest in prescription drugs are the people who control the supply, production, and use of those drugs. It’s a flawed model – if pharmaceutical drugs cured people, they would run out of customers and go out of business, right? Why on earth would they do that? We know that creating homeostasis in the body through a holistic approach to health (natural medicines, nutrition, and lifestyle adjustments) is the most effective cure for chronic disease, and we want that choice.
Are you advocating for another model around cannabis legislation in Australia? What would it look like?
We are looking at a few models that are proving to be incredibly effective and beneficial overseas, and are working with policy groups like Drug Policy Australia to develop a suitable variation for Australia. Specifically, we’re looking at the Colorado, California, and the Canadian models. Ideally it looks like this:
1. Legalised personal use home grow – so long as you’re not selling it, you can grow it at home just like tomatoes.
2. Legalised regulated personal use – treat cannabis like alcohol and sell it in licensed dispensaries just like a liquor store. All products must be labelled with cannabinoid profiles, and tested for contaminants/quality, just like any other health product in the market.
3. Legalised medical program – allow research and use of all cannabinoid medicines (whole-plant flower, whole-plant extracts, isolates, etc.) as a part of our healthcare program, without age restriction. This program is to be used in conjunction with the current unbiased research into cannabinoid medicines and is at the discretion of the doctors and their patients. Pharmaceutical companies can create their own medicines too if they want, but there must be a very clear distinction between synthetic cannabinoids and natural plant medicines.
What are the best- and worst-case scenarios for the movement to come out of this event?
Best case: We have a big turn-out of a wide variety of everyday people who support cannabis reform. We can project their voices and our concerns out to Australia through the media. Their voices are heard and those governing us agree to provide immediate amnesty to patients and compassionate suppliers, while committing to work with us to end the cannabis prohibition.
Worse case: No-one shows up, we are ignored, and the government continues to persecute its people through the unbearably unjust prohibition of a non-toxic plant.
Let’s hope for the first one, hey?