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April 12, 2021

Medical cannabis growers tell govt to ‘catch up’

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Advocates speak to a packed Nimbin town hall about medical cannabis.
Advocates speak to a packed Nimbin town hall about medical cannabis.

Darren Coyne

A ‘huge group’ of cannabis growers is vowing to push ahead with making medicinal cannabis products and opening dispensaries while urging governments to ‘catch up’.

The growers say the trials proposed by the NSW government are a waste of time as successful trials had already been conducted in countries such as the United States, Canada and Israel.

Echonetdaily spoke with a number of growers at a medicinal cannabis workshop held in Nimbin at the weekend, which packed out the town hall.

A medical cannabis workshop packed out the Nimbin Town Hall at the weekend.
A medical cannabis workshop packed out the Nimbin Town Hall at the weekend.

A Nimbin businessman, who goes by the moniker Goddess of the Holy Smoke, said the workshop was proof that there was a growing demand for medicinal cannabis products to treat various illnesses.

‘I can speak for a huge group of healers from across the country who have been using cannabis for healing for many years, making tinctures and medicines,’ he said.

‘It blows me out just how many of them there are and when you call a meeting it blows me out just how many turn up.

‘The government really has to catch up. They say: ‘We’re going to distribute licenses but we need to talk about it and we need to do studies which could take up to five years.

‘But we’ve been doing it for 50 years and it’s a very ancient thing that we’ve been doing. We know how it works. The government doesn’t, so the government is the problem, not the solution.

‘If they want to catch up, good luck to them. But we’re going ahead and we’re doing it anyway.

‘Look around. There’s hundreds of people making it and using it and they’re not going to stop.’

Another grower, who has spent time in maximum-security jails for distributing cannabis, said he felt vindicated by the shift in public opinion towards medicinal cannabis.

‘It’s only ever been medicinal,’ he said.

‘I’ve never in my entire life flogged pot. I’ve never gone up to someone and tried to sell them buds to smoke but I’ve responded to requests and on the basis of that it expanded to the point where it was huge.

‘I had to employ people to make runs up and down the coast and interstate responding to demand.

Asked how much was being supplied each day, the grower said: ‘If I drove to Brisbane with less than two kilos I’d be ashamed of myself because there would be someone missing out’.

‘It was mostly raw product but people were asking me about all sorts of things so I experimented with tinctures and oils,’ he said.

‘The bottom line is that people need it. There is an endless demand.’

‘You see them pulling up here in Nimbin and in the past it was young hippies after smoko but now you see old people on Zimmer frames, nervous and out of their comfort zones, looking for medicine.

The grower said there had been a radical shift in attitude.

‘I saw a bumper sticker in Byron Bay that said all truth passes through three stages.

‘First it is ridiculed, then it is violently opposed, and three, it is accepted as self-evident.

‘When you get to stage three everyone feels relief and vindicated but we’re not quite there yet.’

He dismissed suggestions that cannabis was dangerous.

‘I’ve been consuming it in gobsmacking amounts for over 40 years trying to overdose on it so you’d think it would start to show some symptoms by now but I’m fitter and healthier than most people my age.’

Meanwhile, the NSW Labor leader Greg Foley has called for a more ambitious approach than the government’s planned $9 million trial for medicinal cannabis.

Mr Foley said he wanted the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act changed ‘as a matter of urgency’ in the first sitting week of parliament after the March state election.

He said if a state trial on medicinal cannabis were to take place, ‘it should be far quicker than what’s envisaged in NSW’.

‘I think we can go forward without a trial, personally,’ Mr Foley added.

The trial, announced by the NSW government in December, will first have to overcome logistical hurdles in importing medical cannabis from Europe or the US.

If permission is denied, the government has indicated it could grow its own cannabis crop, although growers in Nimbin on Saturday were adamant that their expertise should be utilized.

Premier Mike Baird has previously stressed that the drug remains illegal.

Prime minister Tony Abbott has already thrown his support behind state-based trials of the drug, saying in December it was ‘more state law than federal laws that govern this’.

‘We have already got medicinal marijuana that has been approved for use under certain circumstances under the federal regulator,’ he said.

‘NSW wants to put a practical trial in place. I’ve supported this all along.’

Despite that support, many users of medicinal cannabis say they are struggling to find reliable suppliers.

A woman who described herself as a ‘Christian woman from a country area’ said the stigma associated with cannabis meant it was difficult for people who had no previous experience with the plant.

She said her sick son found relief from cannabis products but it was not something she felt comfortable telling her friends about .

‘We need to find a regular supplier but it’s hard to know who you can trust,’ she said.

Nimbin Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone, who helped organize the workshop on Saturday, described the turn-out as ‘fantastic’.

‘We are receiving thousands of calls at the Embassy from across Australia from people who are searching for this medicine,’ he said.

‘The government needs to call an amnesty so that growers can continue to deliver what these people need,’ he said.

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  1. The sooner the govts end the prohibition on a very useful plant, the sooner people will stop being hurt, and helped instead.

    Fully legal & normal above ground is a lot better than the ridiculous suffering imposed by a prohibition for opposition profits.

    There is no need to force sales into big pharma control. Big Pharma can never equal the natural outdoors grown plant with its intricate synergy, and this plant does not need to be made into a pill or spray at huge cost.

    Growing with your carrots & tomatoes for excellent food & health needs to be normal, without sales, just helpful use.

    Also, with taxed dispensary sales the govts themselves will have a lot more funds to work with for theirs & public benefits.

    Yes, Please Wake Up Govts!! The research has been done overseas and we have good plants in Australia for everyone’s benefits already. End your fearfully ignorant and/or bought off thinking NOW.

    Check out the natural Endocannabinoid systems all mammals have to see how and why this plant suits us so well.
    Also check out Cannabis cure for cancer and a lot more, including Alzheimers & other illnesses.
    This plant is excellent for the elderly. It is not toxic & has never killed anyone from direct use, such as so much else thats legal & very toxic, such as booze, tobacco, & Big Pharma products.
    It calms and connects people, not the opposite as with booze violence and other evil stuff such as meth.
    The current law does not reflect facts or truth..just profits to the opposition, including cartels. Thats plain crazy.

    It can be used without psychic effect if wanted too, or for it if wanted or needed. Many strains are now available making it a tool for specific needs.
    Of course, Big Pharma & other opposition sales do not want you to know any of this!

  2. I agree. For too long the clear benefits of cannabis for BOTH medicinal and recreational use have been overshadowed by remnant ‘reefer madness’ propaganda that created an image of cannabis (and people who use it) as an evil, menace to society. This is laughable, as the reality is quite the opposite!

    This is a natural plant that has scientifically proven benefits and is a safe recreational drug as well, significantly less damaging to your mind and body than legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco/nicotine.

    The good news is that the secret is out, and people are staring to learn about these benefits and change attitudes towards cannabis, especially for medicinal use. Many older, ‘conservative’ type people I know are now opening up and sometimes even supporting the idea of legalisation for medicinal use and/or recreational use.

    Australia.. get with the times and legalise it!

  3. Searching through the pockets of people walking down the street and getting people out of bed at six in the morning to toss their mattresses on the floor in search of flowers that people use to keep calm and to medicate a variety of illnesses can only traumatize the community and spread mental illness.
    Leaving a lucrative industry without police protection can only put that industry and its profits into the hands of the most ruthless people who will be willing to use force and violence and the corrupting influence of vast sums of black money to protect their business interests.
    Prohibition can only spread fear and secrecy and division in the community and force crime and violence and corruption and mental illness on the community.
    We must end prohibition so we can become a healthy community again.

  4. I have been researching everything about cannabis for more than 3 years. It started after an accident that left me in chronic pain and little else to do but find the harms proven to be caused by cannabis, as even my Doctor told me ‘I cannot help you with your mental health issues if you continue to use cannabis’. So I decided to educate myself and use it to stop my long term use.

    After these 3 years I am yet to find a single proven harm, have realized my doctor was right about ‘not being able to help’ simply because my recent diagnosis of Bi-Polar Disorder II was missed repeatedly for more than a decade, probably two decades and is very treatable by cannabis, being prescribed in other places legally. I knew it was helping me but I was being told it couldn’t until I found out for myself. I have a book bought long ago, published in 1999 that mentions cannabis and bi-polar being treated with it, so it is nothing new.

    The Medical Professionals in this country should have the suffering of thousands on their conscience, they deliberately and willfully ignored and still do, the medical science of cannabis. They saved no one in their pig headedness and ignorance. Now they want ‘in’, they demand how it is done, demand useless repetitive trials,who grows it, who can take it for what diseases/illnesses/chronic pain and I have something to say about that. ‘Go and get stuffed, I lived for a long time believing you over cannabis, yet I am now far more educated than all of you put together, you have no rights over cannabis in my life nor should you anyone, your ignorance and pig headedness has led to much suffering and gaol for the wrong people, your patients’.

    Cannabis was the only thing that kept my sanity together over the last 20 years and now I am free, education will do that and I will now do as I please. If I find myself in court, I will represent myself and present everything possible that I have read in 3 years and if I am convicted and gaoled after that then there is no such thing as justice.

    Am I angry? Of course I am, I got bi-polar and NO WEED!


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