health

When the only thing that will help your child, could land you in prison.

This is Dan.

This week, a heavily pregnant mother was taken into police custody and questioned.

Why? Because the Melbourne woman had admitted to using cannabis oil to treat her three-year-old son’s epilepsy, The Age reports.

Cassie Batten, who is eight months pregnant, explained on Channel Seven’s Sunday Night that her son Cooper had been suffering seizures almost every minute — but that his condition had improved markedly since using the oil.

While it is understood Ms Batten and her partner Mr Wallace were not charged after the police questioning on Thursday, the incident again raised the controversial question of whether cannabis products should be legalised for medical use.

Tamworth mother Lucy Haslam, who told Fairfax Media the treatment of Ms Batten was “sickening”, has previously written on Mamamia about this issue…

I’m watching my brave 24-year-old son Dan die from terminal cancer that’s putting him and his young wife through hell. All I want to do is stop the pain he’s feeling – what any parent would fight to do.  And I’ve found a way to do it.

But despite support from doctors, scientists, the cancer council, and every political party, my government is still treating me as a criminal – and the consequences for trying to care for my son are terrifying.

You see, we manage my son’s health with medicinal cannabis, and I’m terrified I’m going to end up in prison.

Like many others with terminal illness, the drug is helping manage my son’s nausea, his vomiting, and the cruel tricks that cancer plays on his appetite. It’s vastly different to recreational drug use, Dan doesn’t want to do it, he has to; it’s giving him an ability maintain quality of life with the time that he has left.

Dan and his mum on Sunday Night last night

It shouldn’t be like this. He’s just celebrated his first wedding anniversary with his darling wife, and he’s desperate to enjoy as many more as he possibly can. I want that for him too.

That’s why I can’t understand why the government would reject a unanimous recommendation from a parliamentary committee; that people in the situation my son is in be able to use cannabis without facing criminal prosecution.

I’m a nurse, and my husband used to be a police officer – heck he actually ran the local drug squad.  My family has always been anti-recreational drug use. We told our kids to stay away from drugs; and we meant it.  But when you’re told your son is in the situation ours is, and nothing else works, you have no choice but to try everything.

ADVERTISEMENT

Decriminalisation of cannabis for use by a specific and small group of terminally ill and suffering people should not be confused with the promotion of recreational use. I’m still opposed to that.  But the laws as they stand at the present time have turned my family into criminals as we try to manage debilitating cancer symptoms and to try and get rid of this hideous disease.

The facts are simple: He is dying. This helps him. And yet we’re still criminalised.

The worst bit is that around the world, other countries are already allowing this, and here in New South Wales, a parliamentary committee recommended that, for people with a terminal illness, and authority from health officials, it be decriminalised.

Haslam family, Lou, Lucy, Dan and Alyce.

But the government are so out of touch, they don’t even realise what they’re doing.  Two weeks ago, the Health Minister spoke to my son and told him that “smoking cannabis would give him lung cancer” – he responded very frankly to her: he already has it.

So I’ve started a petition asking the government to adopt the parliamentary committee’s recommendations. We need urgent help. The stakes are so high and I can’t go on facing the dilemma of helping my son manage his illness or face a prison sentence.

The mother in me is certainly not ready to give up on my inspirational young man.

This is my plea to my government: please listen to the experts, the thousands of people who’ve signed our change.org petition and the politicians from every side of politics who are arguing for this and stop forcing our family to choose between the time we have left with our son, and time in prison.

Cancer is stressful enough, it would be great to be supported by those who truly can make a difference.

Daniel’s story was told on Channel 7’s Sunday Night over the weekend, watch the video below:

If you would like to support Daniel and his family click here to sign the petition.

What do you think? Should cannabis be decriminalised for people who are terminally ill? 

00:00 / ???