While Illinois passes legislation approving the use of medical marijuana to treat children with epilepsy, Australia remains firmly entrenched in its anti-drug-whatever-the-cost-to-humankind stance.
In an outrageous waste of time and resources, police last week raided a family home to seize marijuana oil that mother Cassie Batten was using to treat her son’s severe epilepsy, prompting several federal MPs to urge lenience against her.
And while the oil, which must be imported from overseas at a large cost, has resulted in vast improvements in many previously hopeless cases, police are still considering charging Cassie and her partner under sections 73 and 74 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act, a law clearly designed to punish drug-lords and organised crime rings.
Does a law against forcing addictive drugs on another really apply to a mother treating her son with medical marijuana – the only medication that really works and with results certified by medical teams?
Would we face an array of tiny toddlers toking if we allowed compassion and reason to trump ignorance and prejudice?
No, because when it comes to medical marijuana the THC component, responsible for producing a high, has been reduced in the marijuana oil to a negligible amount and the only side-effects of use are increased appetite and fatigue, a small price to pay to stop seizures that once happened 200 times a day.
So, the global war on drugs, instigated by the United States against academic advice in the 1950s, strikes again. However, isn’t a war something you can actually win? Who is winning here? Sweden’s doing it. Italy’s doing it. Even parts of the US have legalised medical marijuana. If we can’t get on the bandwagon, we can at least cut those some slack who are willing pay the price themselves for the unarguable benefit of their loved ones.
Need I say it, but don’t the police have anything better to do than take mums and dads with chronically-ill children into custody?