Medical cannabis: Where do you sit in this debate?
As the debate surrounding the medical usage of cannabis in Australia wages on, a case involving a father giving his dying daughter cannabis oil to alleviate her symptoms has captured the hearts and minds of many.
Over 50,000 people have now signed a petition to save a man called Adam Koessler, who they’re describing as a “fearless father”.
Koessler was arrested and charged this month, after giving his two-year-old daughter, Rumer Rose, cannabis oil as an alternative treatment for stage four neuroblastoma.
After taking the little girl from Cairns to Brisbane for an oncologist’s appointment. Koessler was arrested on January 2 at the Lady Cilento Children’s hospital and charged with giving dangerous drugs to a person under 16 and possession.
Koessler claims that after administering the oil with some coconut, little Rumer showed vast signs of improvement.
“Her cancer-ridden little body was alive again,” he told the Newcastle Herald. “I saw first hand that the cannabis oil was extremely beneficial and I hope I simply did what any father would do.”
Koesslar had posted bail to appear in court tomorrow — but part of his bail conditions prohibits the father from contact with his daughter, whose condition has severely worsened since being taken off the treatment.
Little Rumer is now in intensive care, the Newcastle Herald reports.
Cannabis activists have rallied behind the father, with an outpouring of support coming through in the name of petitions, Facebook pages and donations.
The Change.org petition asks for Queen Premier Campbell Newman and justice minster Jarrod Bleijie to intervene in Koessler’s case and “have his parental rights to see his child reinstated, the charges against him dismissed by a court and the right to decide the treatment options of his own child”.
“It is inhumane and unjust to keep a parent, who acted out of love for his child, wanting to prolong her life, away from her during such severe illness” and that “Medicinal cannabis oil, its supply and use, should be decriminalised in Australia without further delay,” the petition, which now has more than 59,000 signatures, argues.
Adam Koesslar’s arrest comes at a period in which the medical use, along with the legalisation of cannabis is hotly contested. In the US, many states have already started legalising the use of medical cannabis.
Australia looks to follow the US, with the Victoria government moving towards legalising its use by the end of the year and New South Wales running trials with cannabis to treat epileptic children and terminally ill patients.
What do you think of the use of medical cannabis? Should it be used to treat patients?