Medicinal Cannabis – some useful links

For me, this weekend has been both inspiring and hugely frustrating. Many people have been brave enough to share their personal stories with me and some with the wider audience during the panel sessions.

I say again…..personal narratives are powerful instruments of change.

As introduced during the various sessions, my advocacy for better patient access pathways to Medicinal Cannabis is well regarded and wide-ranging throughout South Australia and beyond.

I receive contacts, not dissimilar to those received this weekend, regularly. It is a telling sign of the society we live in when there are so many people who may benefit from Medicinal Cannabis therapy and yet affordable and simple access is all but unreachable.

For the record – I am not able to provide ‘advice’, nor am I qualified to. That said, I can share information I have gathered/learned so that you may make your own choices.

Some background

For those of you who don’t know what started my advocacy, here is the back story. There is always a back story.

When my father was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer about 12 years ago – it was not operable and metastasised to his bones – he died in September 2009. It was during that time I started my quest for better treatment options for him during the palliative time.

Cannabis was an option but accessing it was futile and it was a criminal act to access it. Not much has changed – though legal now – the patient access pathways are cumbersome and expensive and medical professionals are mostly uneducated and unwilling to consider cannabis as an option.

Not putting too finer a point on it, the lead up to his death was painful and we lost him long before he died thanks to the opiates he was prescribed for pain relief – he was mostly so sedated he couldn’t communicate and all activities of daily living were done for him by my sister, my mother and I.

An undignified death for a dignified man. My fight for better access to Cannabis is both personal and ongoing.

Fast forward to 2019

Whist there is a Federal legal framework (from 2016) for access to Medical Cannabis the States/Territories have the responsibility for regulation.
As I mentioned above, safe, affordable patient access pathways remain the challenge.

Here are some useful links

If you go decide to venture down the legal path it may be useful to review this link: http://www.integrativehealthsolutions.com.au/2017/10/03/patient-pathway-to-access-medicinal-cannabis/

This is the most recent guidance from the TGA https://www.tga.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis-guidance-documents/

Here is some info regarding access in our State (SA). The challenge will be to find a doctor willing to prescribe.

https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/health+topics/health+conditions+prevention+and+treatment/medicines/medicinal+cannabis/medicinal+cannabis+patient+access+in+south+australia

There are many resources available and this is one I often refer people to https://grannystormcrowslist.wordpress.com/the-list/

Simply search for the diagnosed the condition/s and a range of link will come up – ranging from studies to scholarly articles.

United in Compassion – this extract is from the UIC Website. Please take a dip into the site in an effort to understand Dan’s story and the incredible work this organisation is undertaking. I have nothing but pure respect and admiration for Lucy Haslam and her team.
https://unitedincompassion.com.au/

Our philosophy is the dignified alleviation of suffering with compassion & empathy according to ‘Dan’s Test’

Our primary mission is advocating for patient access to Full Spectrum herbal Medicinal Cannabis extracts and dried herb Cannabis; in a manner which is safe, effective, affordable, equitable and favorable for patients, for the dignified relief of suffering.

Dan’s test – sets high quality product expectations, that are legally and easily accessible to patients when they need it, with no one left behind :

  • Equitable and favorable for patients
  • Naturally outdoor/greenhouse grown herbal Medicinal Cannabis
  • Organic principles.
  • Incorporates a wide range of herbal Medicinal Cannabis varieties, to treat a wide range of health conditions.
  • Full Spectrum plant extraction processes.
  • Dried Herb (Cannabis floral clusters); for use in electric personal vaporisation devices. 
  • Ensures high standards of production & manufacturing, by employing the principles of Quality Assurance

Dan Haslam was instrumental in bringing the issue of the therapeutic use of herbal Medicinal Cannabis to the forefront and into the national Australian consciousness. Dan benefited dramatically from his use of local Australian grown herbal medicinal varieties of Cannabis, during his battle with cancer.

Dan passed away on the 24th of February 2015, but his legacy lives on. “Every step we take on Medical Cannabis, will be built on the footsteps Dan Haslam left behind” Mike Baird – Premier of New South Wales

UIC supported the making of the documentary High As Mike.

If you wish to host a screening of this most compelling documentary visit FanForce to learn how:
https://fan-force.com/films/high-as-mike/

For those of you who saw the doco in Adelaide you would have come to understand that many people can benefit from Cannabis therapy.

From this weekend alone, it was clear to me that many people are either accessing the alternative market (with risk) or going without, too frightened to run the risk of becoming tangled in the criminal justice system. Sadly, too many are dying waiting.

It is understood about 1 million Australians have turned to the alternative market in Australia, a market which is estimated to be worth $4.5Billion in Australia each year. It does make you think!

I hope one day, in the not too distant future, the landscape is very different.

Be an advocate – tell your story – Don’t raise your voice, simply improve your argument.

Strength to each and every one of you.

Yours sincerely

Dianah 💚💚💚

Embracing Change & Opportunity

For my children and my grandchildren – yet to be born.

If, one day, my children have offspring, I fear I’ll have some explaining to do…. or I can dig deep and continue to embrace change and be part of that change and tell a different story.

If I do nothing, they’ll pour over my photographs of days gone by, of healthy cropping land, stunning natural landscapes and pristine beaches with eyes wide open and curious minds and wonder why things are now the way they are.

They’ll want me to tell them stories about how their planet was. Not whimsical fables but rather truthful tales of what used to be.  They’ll ask about creatures now extinct yet only a handful of years ago graced this planet.

They’ll ask questions about what it was like to feel sand between my toes at sunset in my sanctuary; breathing cool air after a Summer thunderstorm and; how the rain sounded on a tin roof during a cold snap in the depths of Winter…. and they’ll ask me why, in just two generations, their future was placed in peril at a polling booth.  They will simply ask why.

As, they help me to tend to my garden which will grow herbs for health and sustenance, they will ask why I’m forced to break a law so I can be pain free in my advancing years.  I will hold back tears as their soft, gentle hands guide mine, now aching and arthritic, over carefully prepared loam as we plant seeds.  The water we pour sparingly over the soil and seeds, almost more precious than life itself, collected in a tank from my roof (when it does rain – events are rare) because the cost of water is so high.

They’ll ask me to explain what it is a politician is elected to do and why the nation’s politicians, still a majority of whom are male and of a certain ilk, make decisions and laws which seem to harm not help.

They’ll ask me why our Nation’s first people are dying of disease and ailments which should have been eradicated and why those who can’t find work are submitted to drug testing, turning to licit and illicit drugs to ease their pains, the symptom of a wider malaise.

They will ask me what it means to seek asylum and I’ll have to find words to explain that now there are people from around the world who are not just escaping conflict and persecution but are hungrier than ever before.  Food security has become more than a significant geopolitical issue in recent years, wars are being waged over food and water not fuel of another kind.  And I weep.

They will ask me why I openly protest, out loud, even when there’s no one else around, about the ‘news’ I read on my device, written hastily by journalists beholden to a news cycle driven and drip fed by political overlords.  I will struggle to explain.

I am in my advancing years but I’m still required to work.  Fortunately, for me, I have skills that are more than manual capacity.  I’ll never be entitled to a government pension or other income support and my superannuation is having to be supplemented by whatever earnings I can make.

I don’t want to shower my grandchildren in material gifts, I wouldn’t even if I had the means, but I want to shower them in love and in wisdom and to give them strength and hope that it’s not too late. And I weep.…..

So rather than paint picture of what a dark future may behold, I’ll dry the tears of today and I will dig deep to embrace change and all that it stands for. 

In years to come instead of telling tales of woe, I’ll share stories of battles won and compromises reached.  Of conciliation and reconciliation, of hopes realised and dreams shared. 

The photographs will depict changing landscapes with environmental flows returned to once parched riverbeds and wetlands. 

Cropping rotations will include non-traditional crops for our arid climbs and backyard gardens will include a herb once demonised – no question. 

Communities will be healthy, the gap will have closed on indigenous health, asylum seekers will be embraced into regional and urban communities and their skills and cultures valued.  Racism will still bubble to the surface in some, but largely, acceptance, tolerance and respect will prevail.

Rule of law will truly underpin our society.

We would have slowly, and not without pain, transitioned to a low carbon economy and renewable energy will be driving industry and households.  Energy will be affordable and manufacturing for a brave new world will bloom.

Our aging population and those with disability will be cared for better than ever before.  Resources will be plentiful because we have created a thriving industry born out of a plant.  We will see the rise of the Cannabis Century and with it an array of new visionary jobs and opportunities.  Without our environment there is no economy.

Importantly, my children’s children will not fear the future as we once did.  They may be battle weary, but their successes will be celebrated.

Politicians will govern for people, all people.  Multi-partisan approaches to complex issues will be bargained for and brokered.  Blood and tears will be shed but not on battlefields and not in the way of the past. Conflicts will be circumvented because woman in leadership will use the gift of negotiating and simply talking to resolve issues rather than bearing arms.  Those elected to political office will have run and sought office because they believe in democracy and in the role – there will be no other agendas but than to serve selflessly.

They will know that as a parliamentarian they are both servants of the people and carers of the nation…..and I’ll smile….in some way I have been able to effect change…and be part of that change.

I don’t pray – never have, never will – but I do live in hope.

Licorice the Cat – A true story

Introduction: This short story written by Sherrie Simms-Farmer, daughter of Spencer Gulf Fishing Icon Ben Simms, recently took out the Kernewek Lowender – Copper Triangle Writers’ Group Literary Prize 2019 – in the Short Story Category.

It is a privilege to share this piece as a guest’s contribution on my site. Sherrie, humbled at the recognition, read this story through misty eyes to those gathered at the event in Moonta Bay as part of the renowned Cornish Festival.

I love the picture this story paints of the life of Licorice. We can all learn a lot from animals.

Licorice, so named because of his luxurious black coat, was born in a small litter on the veranda of the old family home at Trelawney Street, Simms Cove (near Moonta) in 1960. The day was perfect with big fluffy white clouds scudding dreamily across the sky. Ben was walking to his grandmother’s house across the salt pan from his home about half a kilometre toward the beach.

He knew the track well. Now a narrow dusty path cut into the boxthorn, salt bush and acacia. A wonderful haven for the bird life and nectar-loving native insects. Something was flowering in every season of the year. He moved down the belly of the salt pan and up the other side to the very top of the cliff. An imposing 25-mitres the cliffs seemed mountainous to Ben when he was a boy. Today, as a man, he gazed far, far out to sea. His weather worn eyes studied the horizon carefully, reading it to forecast the climate for the next few days. Looking down to the base of the cliff was the whitest sandy beach one could possibly imagine. Paradise right there on the edge of the scrub country. The Spencer Gulf was in Ben’s blood and he would not contemplate living anywhere else. When he was not out fishing Ben trudged this worn path every day and sometimes two or three times. He loved nothing more than to be reminded of the ghost of great uncle Rick and recollect a grand story of his fishing prowess. No need to make them up there are amazing reports of record-breaking journeys in the 54-foot cutter the Minnie Simms. Perhaps the one where he and his lovely wife Clara were becalmed between Thistle and Taylor Islands where their son was conceived.

Alas not today, he arrived to find silence through the house. He suspected that grandma Alice would be taking her afternoon nap. Yeah, and Uncle Bill was probably at the beach or in the shed mending net. ‘Nah he’d be at the beach for sure on a day like this’ Ben thought. Starting off toward the beach Ben headed to the back door.  Taking in the scene he was startled to find Uncle Bill sitting on the grass just outside the back veranda. A ray of dappled sunlight shone through the plants to fall on his dark hair. Surrounded by kittens Bill was sitting on the grass with one kitten hanging from his coat sleeve, another sitting in his lap, and yet another climbing up his other arm toward his shoulder. They were meowing and scratching him which he seemed to enjoy. Eventually Ben noticed another one as his eyes fell upon an all-black kitten sitting at his feet looking up at him. Ben was mesmerised by the fire in the yellow eyes of the kitten and he instinctively bent to scoop him up and placed him in the top pocket of his shirt. “What are you doing Uncle Bill?” Ben asked. “Playing with the kittens before they find a new home”, Bill replied. “Are they being given away?” Ben enquired as he felt the needle like claws dig into his chest. “Yes, I’m going to miss them, and Ross said if they’re not gone by tomorrow some will have to be drowned.” Ben felt a knot tighten in the pit of his stomach. The little kitten mewed, and they looked at each other a moment. Without another word Ben said his good byes and headed back across the paddock with Licorice still in his top pocket. This was the beginning of 17 years before the mast on the fishing vessel the Mary-Ann Simms.

Two years earlier Ben had commissioned the building of a 57-foot schooner rigged wooden fishing boat. It was his pride and joy and Licorice, still in Ben’s top pocket, was taken aboard in the dingy later that very day. After the daily inspection of the engine room and most importantly the bilge water level they stood in the galley where Licorice was given some milk. Ben sat on the bunk awhile and Licorice leaned against him and began to clean his paws and whiskers. He soon fell into a sound sleep so appealing that Ben laid down to join him. The gentle rocking movement of the boat saw them both fall asleep. Ben woke with a mild start after rolling over somewhat concerned that he had squashed poor Licorice. He sat up steadying himself on the bunk while he cleared his head. Licorice was not there.  Ben searched and searched but couldn’t find him and, in the end, decided he’d be back the following day anyway and would look again then.

Early the next morning Ben sculled the dingy out to the boat that laid at anchor some hundred mitres north of the Moonta Bay Jetty. He moved with vigour carrying, among other supplies, a couple of tins of cat food. Ben found Licorice contentedly sleeping on the bunk and was not disturbed in the least by Ben’s arrival. Down the ladder to the engine room he checked and emptied the bilge water and started the engine. The slow revving diesel motor purred into life and soon slipped into the rhythmical sound now so familiar to him. He would stay onboard for an hour and give the engine a good run. Licorice was fed and watered. Ben even bought some of his mother’s scalded cream! He placed an old jumper on the bunk and Licorice curled around and around and slipped back into a sound sleep assisted by the graceful rocking of the boat and the sound of the waves lapping against the hull. For Ben it was the sound of the straining ropes and wind whistling through the riggings that he loved most. This freshening change would blow out tonight and they would fish tomorrow leaving early in the morning.

Favouring Garfish Licorice enjoyed a diet rich in fresh seafood. But when the boat was laying against the jetty in safe harbour, he could be seen trotting down the jetty toward the town of Port Broughton and returning with rabbit, mouse or bird to supplement his fare. Many adventure stories were chronicled highlighting Licorice’s star character. In an article by Stan Wickham, a journalist of the day with Advertiser Newspapers Ltd., Stan confirms the almost acrobatic ability of Licorice to “scamper up and down ship ladders with the aplomb of a mountain goat”. He continues to share the story of Licorice standing up to the Aussie rules star Neil Kerley on a day the football players went on a Schnapper fishing jaunt on the Mary-Ann. Licorice won the tangle biting Neil Kerley’s powerful legs so that “Kerl’s had to back off” according to Stan’s first-hand report.

Ben put the Mary-Ann on the slip for painting and maintenance every year and sometimes twice a year. On this memorable day in Port Adelaide when the time came to go off the slip Licorice was nowhere to be found. Ben steamed the boat across the Port River and along side the wharf. Despite driving back around to the slipway a little later that day – still no Licorice. By this time Ben was thirsting for some of the local ale and went to the British Hotel. While they were there some of the crew travelled the short distance to the slip looking for Licorice but again came back empty handed. With a heavy heart Ben went back to the boat to prepare to sail the next morning. On arrival at the boat Ben met the Wharfinger who said, “If you’re looking for Licorice Ben, he’s in your wheelhouse, and on the bunk drying himself. I watched him swim across the river and climb aboard your boat half an hour ago!”. They were together again.

Ben will never forget the day he had to leave Port Lincoln without Licorice aboard. He’d waited longer than he should have as it was and eventually had to leave him behind. Ben was due to return home at the end of the tuna season and spirits were low. Everyone in Port Lincoln knew that Licorice had missed the boat and they were all looking out for him. Ben called in by radio from time to time but alas Licorice was not sighted. Before he arrived home, Ben heard the heart-warming message that Licorice had been found. His cousin, Thistle Simms, found Licorice pacing up and down the town jetty looking for the boat. Not risking Licorice disappearing again Thistle promptly put him in a cardboard box and took him aboard the Claire Crouch where another cousin, Garth Simms, was the skipper. The acid tanker was due to move up the gulf to Port Pirie that very day. Ben dropped anchor north of Cowell at Shoalwater Point and waited for the Claire Crouch to sail up the gulf. In radio contact with Garth Ben knew when to expect the boat. At 9pm when Ben could see the lights of the Claire Crouch ahead, he jumped in the net dingy to intercept her.

When Garth ‘hove to’ Ben went along side. He could hear Licorice going mad in the cardboard box and Ben suspected he had recognised the sound of the net boats motor. Once aboard the dingy Licorice escaped the box and crawled under Ben’s oil skin coat.

To live to such a ripe old age could not have been imagined if you knew of him and his courageous adventures. Just sleeping in the folds of the sail was a dangerous past time. One day while doing just that the sail filled with a strong puff of wind and Licorice flew across the deck to land without incident on all fours.  And then there was the day that Ken Tidswell, the skipper of the fishing vessel the Estelle Star, brought his sulphur-crested Cockatoo aboard the Mary-Ann. They spent all afternoon with the crew enjoying a BBQ on the back deck and drinking beer together like good friends do.

After a long, full and adventurous life, wrapped in canvas and chains, Licorice was given a fitting sea burial. The fishing ground, proudly called Licorice, is to this day known for huge shoals of schnapper.

Mum’s the Word

I wrote this piece in 2014 – 5 years on, little has changed and yet much has….this is why I am respectfully abstaining from Mother’s Day

Is it wrong that I don’t want to celebrate Mother’s Day?

I am a mother, so why wouldn’t I want to be pampered, indulged, appreciated and respected?  After all, isn’t that what is supposed to occur on the second Sunday in May each year? 

Truth is I do crave those things, not just on one day of the year but at least every other day. 

I want those tangible things to be conveyed in such a way that they just happen, like breathing is natural and happens instinctively. I am not talking about diamonds and champagne, nor reverence beyond measure, just a healthy ration of recognition for being a mum, the most challenging role one could take on.   

I am not implying my children don’t love or respect me, they do.  It is much deeper than that. I love my family and I nurture and nourish those around me. I gave life to those two remarkable and amazing human beings.  I have also lost two babies before they drew breath and I do wonder, from time to time, what might have been.  

My face is etched with lines from living, loving and being hopeful. I have lost a parent and I can comprehend loss at that most primal level.  I know, feel and understand the bond between a child and a parent and that of a parent and a child. 

So I don’t need the mainstream media to tell me how I should feel, look, behave and conduct myself as a mother on this so called ‘Mother’s Day’….or on any day.   I am the best barometer of that; and also my harshest critic.   

I am not perfect. 

Who is? 

I get it wrong.  

Who doesn’t?  

I get it wrong a lot…and that’s OK!

So this year (again) I am going to abstain from Mother’s Day out of the respect for many.  Why out of respect and for whom you may ask?  Simply to honour and afford some protection to those who will feel pain on this very commercially focussed day.  

Here are my thoughts on who may feel vulnerable, for these women and men who have loved and lost I have the greatest respect, they are:  

Those whose mother’s heart no longer beats; 

Those women who hold their newborn babe in their arms and have no feelings, no connection, nothing but emptiness and numbness;  

Those women who are sad to the depths of their soul after giving birth and don’t understand why, because they are constantly reminded by friends, family and the media that becoming a mother should be the most joyous time in their lives; 

Those who do have a mother but do not have a cherished relationship with her; 

Those who mourn the loss of a child and whose pain is beyond compare; 

Those who will never be a mother because Mother Nature dealt them a cruel hand and left them childless; 

Those women, by choice, who have not procreated, yet struggle finding acceptance for their very personal decision.

Instead of a symbolic breakfast/lunch or dinner, I am going to request a novel gift.  I am going ask to spend some time, alone, reflecting on my life so far.  I am going to write a list of what is good in my life and I am going to give thanks for those blessings. 

I am not going to complain about missed opportunities because I am the only one to blame for not seizing those moments in time. 

I am not going to write a ‘bucket’ list of my own but rather I am going to commit to doing more for my children and for their future.  I don’t know what that will look like but I know that I will recognise the actions required.  I will act on my instincts because that type of spontaneity is intrinsic in mothers. 

I am not going to stop worrying about whether my great grandchildren will have clean air, clean water and nutritious food.  To do that would not express a mother’s love or her concern. 

I will always have high expectations of my children.  I quietly observe their relationships with others and reflect on their ability to show respect and to be respected. I believe that through nurture and by their very own nature, they too will work hard, be focused, motivated and passionate. 

It pleases me that they value their friendships and their loyalties to others, as I do.  I am proud of their deep sense of empathy and compassion for their fellows and that they care for those around them.  

I hope they never stop believing that it is better to talk to resolve issues rather than to bear arms.  I will continue to be in awe of science and look to the night sky with amazement and I will encourage my children to do the same. 

To act with grace, believe in justice and in being socially responsible will take them far in this life.  I am confident their love and respect for the landscape around them will never be taken for granted. 

My children will continue ask questions in pursuit of knowledge and they are learning to be good listeners.  How do I know these things to be true?  Because I am a mother; I am their mother watching them evolve into amazing people. 

I see, feel and live this every day.  I can see through their eyes.  I see their thirst for knowledge and adventure, their community spirit and their empathy for others. 

There will be times when their self-esteem will be crushed, their hearts broken and their morals called into question. But they have learnt to be resilient, they have self-awareness and have emotional intelligence and with that comes the amazing potential be part of a better world.

Importantly though, they have a mother’s love.

So this Mother’s Day, I am asking for the gift of time and solitude so I can stop, think and reflect.

That will be their gift to me and one day they will come to realise my gift to them.

If you or someone you know might be experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy or the perinatal period seek help and contact a health professional.

More resources can be found athttp://www.beyondblue.org.au/ or by calling 1300 22 46 36

http://www.beyondblue.org.au/resources/for-me/pregnancy-and-early-parenthood

Blog image: Painting by Hughes Merle “Mother & Child” (Copyright expired – in the public domain) 

Narungga Votes

First Published March 2018

In conversation with FX Medicine‘s Andrew Whitfield-Cook at the United in Compassion Medicinal Cannabis Symposium last week, I spoke of an exercise I undertook during the last SA State Election and how I put questions to candidates and then published responses…I’ve republished my blog…..here’s a look back.

At this year’s Federal Election I would encourage you to do the same and participate in democracy and make your vote count…do you have questions of your candidates? Now’s the perfect time to ask…..feel free to use some of my questions or create your own… Make your vote count.

Introduction: It is no secret I have a keen interest in politics; locally, nationally and internationally.  For the most part my background is unremarkable, but I will say that from an early age I have been inquisitive and hugely interested in people, democracy and in my (our) environment and the environment.

Where I have found my understanding of issues to be limited or knowledge-gaps needing to be filled, I have sought answers.  Importantly, where a once tightly held view has been influenced by my new learnings, I have freely acknowledged and disclosed my change in view (Medical Cannabis being a case in point).

This piece is not written with the intent to influence your view but rather provide you with some insights to which you may or may not have regard to when you cast your precious vote on March 17.  Your vote.  Your view.

Campaigning commences: As the race for Narungga unfolded and the five candidates’ identities became known, I decided to contact them individually and pose the same set of questions.  The purpose of this exercise was to understand more about what motivated them to stand as candidates and to see if one had a point of difference which would cause me to place a number 1 alongside their name on election day.

More about the seat of Narungga (including key boundary changes compared to 2014) here: https://www.ecsa.sa.gov.au/electoral-districts/electoral-district-profiles?view=article&id=847:narungga

The list of the candidates, as they will appear on the ballot is at this link: https://www.ecsa.sa.gov.au/2018-state-election-narungga-electoral-district-candidates

The questions: I posed a suite of questions which I felt would dig a little deeper and garner more telling answers.  More telling than the approved words, which often are common threads in media pieces, as candidates go about spruiking Party positions.

Here are my questions. 

What motivates you?

What skillset would you bring to the office of Member for Narungga?

What do you see as the challenges for Narungga?

What are the opportunities?

What are your views on affordable and less cumbersome patient access pathways to Medical Cannabis?

What are your views on an industrial Hemp industry on the YP & how would you support local farmers?

What is it about your Leader that inspires you?

Justice reinvestment – The principles of a justice reinvestment approach include localism, community control and better cooperation between local services. These also align with what we know about human rights-based practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service delivery.  How would you better support Narungga’s First Peoples – particularly youth?

How would (insert Party) better support primary producers – markets/value adding etc?

Are you for or against Australia becoming a Republic?

Why should I vote for you?

I reached out to the candidates via various mediums including Social Media, (Facebook and Twitter) SMS, voice calls and email.

Of the five candidates, three engaged with me personally. 

You can read the unedited responses I was provided in writing at this link:

Table-of-Q–A_Narungga-candidates.pdf

My interactions with the Candidates

Liberal candidate. Fraser Ellis responded to my meeting request in a very timely fashion.  I met with him in person and we conversed over coffee as I put questions to him and he later followed up via email with additional detail.   Fraser has made several contacts with me after that first meeting and has clearly demonstrated a willingness to better understand some issues.

Greens candidate. Jason Swales responded to my email and whilst there was a delay to the timeframe given we were able to negotiate an extended deadline and his reply was provided.  His reply was written in consultation with his Party Office. Jason also took time out to call me personally and invited me to meet him on his patch at the bottom of the Yorke Peninsula, an invitation I am yet to take up but am grateful of the offer.

SA Best candidate, Sam Davies communicated with me via email, SMS and voice calls.  I also attended, at Sam’s invitation, a SA Best Party event in Kadina where leader Nick Xenophon introduced Sam and formally launched his campaign.  SA Best Upper House candidates Sam Johnson and Andrea Madely were also in attendance. 

I did get an opportunity to ask a question at the forum, which I expressly directed to the candidate.  Sam started to respond however Mr Xenophon interjected and provided a broad response which, for me, diluted the opportunity for me to directly engage with the candidate.   It was also telling in that there were significant knowledge gaps for both Mr Xenophon and Sam in the areas of Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp.

Labor candidate, Doug Milera.  I initially reached out to Doug via his Facebook page (messenger) and received a SMS response and apologies for the delay in getting back to me.  I was invited to email him my questions, which I duly did, and he also offered an opportunity to meet him. 

Further attempts at communication seeking a meeting and/or response to my questions remain unanswered and I have had my access blocked via Messenger on the Doug Milera – Labor for Narungga Facebook page.

Australian Conservatives candidate Rebecca Hewett.  I made several attempts to obtain a contact number for Rebecca to arrange a time to meet her.  I was asked, via a third party to email my questions to the Australian Conservatives (SA Parliament) Media advisor which I duly did.   As a courtesy I also copied in Hon Robert Brokenshire MLC into the email. 

Mr Brokenshire made time to personally call me.  However, he did question my motives in wanting to meet with Rebecca and said that I could meet with her, but he would be present.  I explained my reasons for reaching out to the Narungga Candidates.  He offered some dates (6/7th March) and said he would come back to me with a time.  A follow up call has not been forthcoming and as at the time of publishing this piece I have not received a response to my questions either.  I understand that Rebecca was given my number and said she’d call me, I’d still be happy to take her call.

My conclusions: This exercise has been hugely informative for me.  It is interesting that my thoughts not only focussed on policies and party positions but also took into consideration personalities. 

For a local member to be effective, first and foremost they need to be accessible and respectful.  Whether in Government or in Opposition a local Member is there to serve his/her constituency. 

On any given day a constituent may make representation to his/her Member on a diverse range of matters.  Some matters may be very complex and sensitive, so for me, should I need to access my local Member I would have an expectation that I am treated respectfully, that I am listened to intently and that my issue or concern is taken seriously.

Based on this exercise there are two candidates with whom I would feel confident in making representation to.  Both Fraser and Jason (undoubtedly their communications styles are very different) gave me a sense that if I presented with an issue that my voice would be heard and that there would be a willingness to broker a solution for me and importantly, with me.

My vote

My views align with policies of the Centre-Left of the political spectrum blended with a shade of Green.

In terms of policies – at this election, the SA Greens and Dignity Party are clear winners.  From matters ranging from human rights, creating awareness and enshrining greater equity into law, better patient access pathways to medical cannabis, justice reinvestment and caring for our environment, (which without we would have no economy); they show leadership.

When voting in the electorate of Narungga I will be casting my number 1 preference with Jason Swales based on his Party’s policies and on Jason’s personal disposition. 

Even thought I do not agree with some of the Liberal Party’s positions, for instance their willingness to legislate to raise the maximum penalties for Cannabis possession from $500 to $2,000 (this is not, as they claim, aligned with community expectations) Fraser Ellis will receive my second preference because of his willingness to be an accessible member.

Although Doug Milera blocked me on Facebook, his Party’s policies mean I will be placing him third.

With a lack of policies in general and limited understanding of some of the issues I am known to advocate strongly for, I will be placing Sam Davies fourth; and the Australian Conservatives candidate Rebecca Hewett will be fifth on my ballot paper.

In the Legislative Council I plan to vote 1-12 below the line.

I will be starting with the Dignity Party.  Kelly Vincent’s outstanding 8-year term deserves another, as does Tammy Franks of the Greens.  Following voting for Kelly and Tammy and others on their ticket, I will continue to number my ballot paper below the line, selecting candidates from the Animal Justice Party and the Liberal Democrats (based on drug law reform policy) until 12 places are marked. 

Voting – some interesting facts: In Australia women who were British subjects, 21 years and older, only gained the right to vote and the right to stand for parliament in 1902. South Australia was a bit more progressive and allowed women to vote and stand for parliament in 1895.

Sadly, it wasn’t until 1962 that the right to vote in federal elections was granted to Australian Aboriginal women who, together with Australian Aboriginal men, had been specifically excluded from the franchise in Australia by the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902.

If you are unsure about how you can cast a valid vote, follow this link to learn more:

https://www.ecsa.sa.gov.au/voting/voting-at-the-state-election/how-to-complete-your-ballot-papers

My prediction for Narungga.  The Liberal Party will retain this seat.

However, I believe the margin (currently 14.1% in favour of the Liberal Party – Two Party Preferred – which does not take into account the SA Best factor) will receive a hammering.  

The margin may well be decreased to 5-6% largely due to what is expected to be strong polling by the SA Best Candidate. 

Making Narungga closer to marginal, if not marginal, would be a good outcome whichever way you look at it.

Closing remarks: I say emphatically to everyone, especially young people (those voting for the first time) you have the right and freedom to participate in this democracy, so do so.

Be informed.  Be motivated to make your vote count.

Your vote is a powerful and precious thing.

Foot note: I was employed by the Crown for four-and-a-half years (2009 – 2013) as Principal Assistant to Independent Member for Frome Geoff Brock MP.  In 2013 I ran as an Independent Senate Candidate. 

I have been an ally (for want of a better word) of several political figures, including Tammy Franks MLC, Kelly Vincent MLC and Kyam Maher MLC in my advocacy for Medical Cannabis and Drug Law Reform. Each Member from diverse and different Parties but each with progressive, people-focussed views.

I did consider running as an Independent Candidate for the Seat of Narungga at this election however a few factors meant that the timing simply wasn’t right for me.

Banish the Bully

This piece was first published on 12 July 2014 – I was recently motivated to re-post it here.

Bullies don’t just reduce their prey to emotional rubble; their conduct leaves a trail of untold destruction; of broken spirits and of broken dreams for those close to the victim too. 

If you are a witness to bullying do you reach out to protect and defend the victim or do you look the other way?  Onlookers can be either part of the bullying problem or an important part of the solution to stop bullying. 

During the past many months, indeed years, I have tried to come to terms with the affects that bullies have had on those close to me and those who have made representation and sought help via my former workplace. 

It is true that kids can be cruel and one could argue that bullying is part of growing up.  I don’t agree, and that train of thought doesn’t make it at all acceptable.  

When taunts are delivered in such a way that the young victim questions their self-worth and their confidence is crushed to a level resembling the pulverisation of rock to fine grains of sand, it is not OK to look the other way. 

In school yards and in workplaces everywhere students and employees have the right to be protected and to feel safe as they go about learning and earning.  When those who have the capacity and the obligation to intervene and stop the bullying behaviour and either chose not to, or their actions are ineffective, that is when lives and livelihoods are placed in jeopardy. 

In schools there are policies and procedures, forms and frameworks.  However they are only as good as those left to administer them.  Fortunately for me, those who are in that position of power and trust are putting measures in place to deal with the issue brought to their attention with respect and authority. 

As at January 1 2014, the Fair Work Commission has the jurisdiction to deal with bullying complaints raised by workers and powers to make an order for the bullying to stop.  If a worker reasonably believes that he or she has been bullied at work they can apply to the Fair Work Commission for an order to stop the bullying. 

Whilst the workplace bullying provisions under the Fair Work Act 2009 will not create powers to make orders on reinstatement or compensation, there will nevertheless be increased pressure and onus on businesses to be proactive about preventing workplace bullying and promptly dealing with any related complaints, in order to avoid an intervention by the Commission.  

Knowing this, I am left to wonder why employers are not more proactive in investigating and supporting those who report instances of bullying and harassment in the workplace.   

In a case close to home, I am led to wonder how things might have been had the matter been treated differently.  I am not suggesting that there was a lack of action but rather that in some cases different forms of investigation must take place.  Not everyone is able to easily articulate their concerns either verbally or in writing.  Some employers seek to have a form completed before action is commenced.  This immediately puts those who are not able to fluently write their story; or are reluctant to for fear of further harassment, at an immediate disadvantage. 

When an adult is reduced to an anxious mess, seeks intervention and can no longer function on many levels, it is then that the true impact of the repeated and habitual abuse, intimidation, aggression and domination takes hold.  

It is often left up to the individual, with the help of their support networks if they have any, to build a road to recovery and to commence healing.  Sadly, not everyone completes the journey. 

With our aging population I fear there will be more cases and instances of elder abuse and bullying in care facilities and behind the closed doors of homes in our neighbourhoods.  

For those who have the means and there are resources in our communities to care for our aging loved ones, we hand over the care and control of their welfare and wellbeing.  In doing so, we place absolute trust in the institutions to provide a safe haven.  Care environments, especially those catering for people with special needs are challenging places to work in.  I personally could not do the work the thousands of carers and nursing staff do on a daily basis. 

So given the challenging environment it would be ignorant to believe that bullying and harassment does not occur. Not all alleged cases of bullying are obvious though.  Some bullying is done in a way which is so meticulous and callous that it mostly goes unnoticed.  I recall stories of family members telling me about instances whereby their loved ones were left to sit in soiled bed linen as a form of punishment or where food and drink was placed just out of reach to torment.  This form of bullying is at its most cruel and is socially and morally unacceptable. 

Then there are the conversations which are had which are more representative of a parent admonishing a child rather than two adults engaging in dialogue which is respectful and cordial.  This too is form of bullying whereby the bully, in a position of power, engages in verbal, social or psychological behaviour that is harmful.  How does it go unnoticed and unreported? 

This blog would not be complete without my thoughts on cyber bullying.  Information and communication technologies, when used in the way intended, are powerful mediums for sharing opinions, news, thoughts; and for those who are isolated through distance or disability, are marvellous ways to connect socially. 

Every minute of every day codes of conduct (written and otherwise) are broken. Cyber bullies trawl the depths of social media sites to deliberately post provocative messages with the intent of causing maximum harm.  You can either choose to react and fuel the argument or you can chose to ignore it and stop the troll in their tracks. 

My final word is to those in positions of power and influence (eg politicians, sports men and women and celebrities). 

You have the ability and are in the unique position to be role models and to lead by example.  I would ask that use harness this amazing position and to act each day with decorum, dignity and above all with respect.  Your actions will speak louder than words and you may just inspire someone to take a different path.  

Bullies do not win.  Nobody wins.  

Bullies destroy lives and extinguish once vibrant souls. If you are a bully, you probably have not read these words but if per chance you have; and I have pricked your conscience please get help. 

If you are the victim of bullying or know somebody who is, my message is simple, report the abuse, take control and change the course on a heading for a more resilient you!  

Here are some useful links: 

The Australian Human Rights Commission (1300 656 419) has a complaint handling service that may investigate complaints of discrimination, harassment and bullying http://www.humanrights.gov.au/complaints_information/index.html 

http://www.humanrights.gov.au/workplace-bullying-violence-harassment-and-bullying-fact-sheet

http://www.fairwork.gov.au/employee-entitlements/bullying-and-harrassment

http://www.safework.sa.gov.au/show_page.jsp?id=5082#.U8ClQU2KBow

http://www.youthbeyondblue.com/understand-what’s-going-on/bullying-and-cyberbullying

Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 is a free and confidential, telephone counselling service for 5 to 25 year olds in Australia. http://www.kidshelp.com.au/ 

Lifeline (13 11 14) is a free and confidential service staffed by trained telephone counsellors. http://www.lifeline.org.au 

http://www.bullyingnoway.gov.au/

A Measure of Time

A year.

Twelve months.

365 days.

525,600 minutes.

42,048,000 beats of a heart.

What really is a measure of time?  Why is there so much importance placed on the ritual of closing out a calendar year and commencing a new?  

While it is necessary, in our society, to have the order that a measurement of time brings, be it an hour, a day, or a week; there are days that I ache for simplicity.

The simplicity of rising as the Sun throws light across the land, I do love mornings…and then, after a full day, gently allowing my body and mind to give itself to the night as it envelops me and my surrounds. 

This past year, 42,048,000 beats of my heart, I have felt some of that simplicity in very different settings. 

I recall the captivation of waking to unfamiliar sounds of nature, deep in the Amazon Jungle.  A world away from the familiarity of my sanctuary at Moonta Bay, the warm, damp air filled my lungs. Filtered, golden light streamed through the canopy of gossamer-like netting enshrouding my bed. Magical.

No alarm. No prescribed list of matters to attend to, just the simplicity of being present in a moment in time and woken ever so gently by nature.

I love the simplicity of the change in seasons. One does not need to look at a calendar to know that autumnal stillness is near.  You feel it. The heat of summer leaves the earth in a way that you can almost hear the parched soil sigh.  The coolness of still, clear evenings under a brilliant southern sky are enough to re-calibrate your body and prepare it for shorter days and to feel enlivened as temperatures begin to tumble.

I love the simplicity of not measuring one’s age by time and a date but rather feeling each stage of life, truly feeling it.  Notwithstanding bodily aches and pains, the feeling of love, loss, giving birth, happiness, sorrow, pleasure and pain are by far a better measure of a life being lived than a number, or a date on the Gregorian Calendar.

I love the simplicity of feeling the need to fuel my body, its hunger at times insatiable but mostly understanding the nourishment and nurture it needs to serve its purpose, to allow me to live and to breathe.

I love the simplicity of an impromptu conversation, one that feels like five minutes, but lasts 4,800 beats of a heart (an hour) or more.  I love the simplicity of a kiss that may be fleeting, or one that may linger, each not needing to be measured by time but rather by the intensity and intent with which it is given and received.

I love the simplicity of the lines on a face, the scars on a body, the colour and wisdom in eyes, all perfect ways to measure time. 

This year, as I am compelled to start a new year, I will be thinking about the beats of my heart, the lines on my face and the wisdom in my eyes and I will allow those attributes to be my measure of time.

In case we forget…

I woke this morning to the sounds of seabirds and other creatures greeting the rising sun and, in the distance, the gentle cadence of waves folding into each other and onto the sand.

I think a lot and deeply, some may argue too deeply, and my thoughts turned to date and time.  In parallel to my thoughts, pondering the significance of 11/11/18, I also thought about which route I would take on my morning walk.  Would I head south or north along the beach, my sanctuary.

I was drawn to the North. As I slowly warmed up to a steady pace I looked around through a different lens on this day and in an instant the world felt brighter, the air fresher and the rising Sun warmer.

I give thanks every day for the life I live and for those close to me.  There is also not a day I don’t think about those who have gone before us.  Today the thoughts of my father and my paternal grandfather, whom I never met, were heavy on my mind.

My grandfather, Frances (Frank to his mates) had a dual role, he served in the 10th Battalion AIF, a member of the Military Band and I’m told a stretcher bearer.  I’m also told that when he eventually returned from the Western Front after serving around Ypres, in West Flanders, Belgium – he was never the same.  He turned to alcohol to soothe his pain.

When I returned to my home (no lengthy, uncomfortable sea voyage for me), legs stretched, and lungs filled with fresh salty air, I unwrapped the paper which had been delivered with remarkable precision to my front door.  Coffee hot and electronic device starting up, as with most mornings, I took a dip into the news of the day.   The tribute on the cover of the Tiser, names of those fallen wrapped around this edition, digitally enhanced to paint a portrait of a digger.  The young man could have been anyone’s son, nephew, brother, mate, father even. Commemoration, commentary and carefully chosen images filled pages and spaces in print and on a virtual page, all in some way, speaking to the horrors of war and how we should remember those who lost their lives because of an act of vengeance in a faraway land.

Mid-morning, I donned a broad-brim hat and headed to the small but sacred piece of land adjacent the Moonta Bowls Club, the place of a memorial to locals who died during the Great War, the War to end all wars.  The crowd was modest, the sky blue and the Catafalque Party, young men and women from our district stood almost lifeless, in a stance of respect.

For me, I dig deep to discreetly place myself in the crowd, year after year, on this day and on April 25.  I have overwhelming respect for those who serve however I question the integrity of those who give the orders to send troops into battle – battles, because of our allegiances, we join forces to fight.  I also dig deep because although I’m attending a commemorative service, it is, when pared back, simply a religious service.   I don’t hide the fact that I am an atheist.   That said, I respect those who have faith and turn to prayer and their God or Goddess for solace.

As I listen to the words of the Minister of Religion and his reading of scriptures I grapple with the words of apparent wisdom.  Why? Because as I listen, I also look around and read the body language of those around me.  Some are nodding in agreement and others shift uneasily, probably because their legs or backs are aching but also probably, they recognise they too need to forgive those who trespassed against them.

Again, I think. Again, too deeply.  As the Last Post is played, heads bowed in prayer or quiet reflection and as the silence is finally broken with the words “We will remember them” uttered softly by the crowd I think, we have already forgotten.

There have been wars after the said war to ‘end all wars.’  We have troops currently engaged in conflict and peacekeeping activities and our Governments are actively pursuing contracts and procuring items to build defence capability.  Those items and weapons of war have the means to inflict great harm and pain when the time comes…. not if…but when.

Until peace becomes profitable and so it will go…Leaders elected to lead will order troops to fight conflicts usually because of an act of greed or vengeance  in a faraway land or, as I predict, future wars will be geopolitical for reasons of food and water security – an insatiability to feed the world’s growing populace.

Young men and women, men and women of all ages will be lost, and their lives mourned.

We will remember them, we will grieve for them and we will still need reminding of the futility of war, in all its incarnations, just in case we forget.

 

Down the road of food security – A wicked problem

Note:  This piece first published 1/4/13:  http://www.dianahmieglich.com.au/easyblog/entry/down-the-road-of-food-security-a-wicked-problem

In March 2018, South Australia saw a shift in the political landscape with a changing of the guard and the installation of a Marshall Liberal Government. Will we see a shift in the actual landscape? The heat really is on and each of us should be concerned about food security. 

My words from 2014  – A blog is always in transition. The information I publish today might not be valid or accurate in the future.  Content, sources, information and links may change over time. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer.

Fact or fiction?  The distinction is yours to draw…

On Friday March 28 Julian Cribb, author and science communicator, delivered a keynote address at the Yorke & Mid North Regional Sustainability Forum in Port Pirie. He opened his address by declaring to those assembled that meeting the 21st Century food challenge is a ‘wicked problem’.  “Be in no doubt” said Mr Cribb, “we are facing the greatest challenge in human history. ”

That challenge you ask?  Put simply, it is how to feed ten billion people through the peak in human population, without famine or disaster.

I believe it is time for a new ‘crop’ of politicians to consider a view far beyond the next political cycle and make decisions, many of which will be hugely unpopular and immensely difficult, in order to deliver food security for our state, our nation and our planet.

Sadly, I also believe that this issue will be far more difficult to even start to overcome, as I am yet to discover a Government or a world leader who has the answers and the political will to shift the course on which we are headed.

To meet the growing world demand to feed our rapidly expanding population we need to think differently about food; how we produce it and how we consume it.

Regrettably we missed an opportunity in September 2013 Federally, as it would appear that the current Federal Government has not demonstrated any traits of forward-thinking in terms of food security.

Locally, South Australia has recently seen the Weatherill Labor Government returned to office, with the backing of regional Independent MP Geoff Brock, to form a minority government. Perhaps we can influence policy and effect change, in terms of climate change and food security, now that the regions are back in the limelight. The greater challenge will be how to make this important issue of food security popular.

Food security has become a significant geopolitical issue in recent years.

I have made reference to this in earlier blogs and again I will quote from an article written by student Alyce Johnston for the South Australian Globalist Magazine in 2012.

“According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, food security occurs when people have both physical and economic access to safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences.

“This definition is more relevant to people in the developed world, as opposed to those living in developing nations who are more concerned with survival, rather than nutrients or dietary preferences.”

Research shows, when people in developing countries are lifted out of poverty, their diets change. In China, meat consumption has tripled in the past 15 years, meaning more grain is needed in order to feed their livestock.

With increased production comes an increased cost of that production, including the cost of oil. When oil prices increase, the demand for biofuel grows and food prices also go up. According to the World Bank, five million hectares of cropland were used for biofuels rather than food production between 2005 and 2008.

Pressures on water resources and agricultural land have contributed to food security worries and high food prices. Climate change will continue to exacerbate this issue globally. Nations such as China and Saudi Arabia (who is particularly vulnerable in terms of food security) have found a way to secure their future food supplies through the use of foreign land.

Oxfam predicts as much as 227 million hectares of land in developing nations has already been sold or leased to foreign investors since 2001, with half of this land being in Africa. To put that figure into perspective 227 million hectares is about 90% of Western Australia.

We know that foreign agricultural purchases have occurred in Australia, but the exact details of these foreign land deals are widely unknown and that troubles me.

There is evidence of corruption by governments of developing nations. In 2008 the Cambodian Government leased rice fields to Kuwait and Qatar in return for $600 million dollars in loans, while the United Nations World Food Program delivered $35 million dollars’ worth of food aid to the impoverished Cambodian people.

Food security, or rather ‘insecurity’ is real.

Land acquisition in foreign nations, commonly referred to as ‘land grabbing’ has become a way for developed nations to secure their food supply.  It is not unreasonable nor scaremongering to suggest that future conflicts will not be fought over the fossil fuel we need to run our economies but rather food ‘fuel’ we need to nourish our very being.

Mr Cribb said: “While food demand will double by 2060, scarcities are emerging of almost all resources to satisfy it.  This challenges us to rethink food itself and how we produce it, and to create diets and foods for the future which are safe, healthy, and nutritious and tread less heavily on the planet.”

I cannot agree more.  So how and where do we begin?  Really, we should have begun many years ago but we have not taken past warnings seriously.

A case in point is the 1992 World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity. Read more here: http://www.ucsusa.org/about/1992-world-scientists.html

For the record this significant warning hardly rated a mention in the mainstream media at the time and now 22 years on not much has changed.

What can you do you ask?  If you weren’t able to make it to Mr Cribb’s Keynote address on Friday you can read his presentation here: http://www.yorkeandmidnorth.com.au/resources/publications/.

Along with this there is much other reading to do.  If you do make time to read and reflect and you come away with a sense of urgency and you want to act, then do take action.

Act with conviction and in good faith.  Act with passion and a desire to leave this planet in a better state that it is now. Start a conversation with your neighbour, your work colleague, your local MP.

A wise man once told me to stay on my soapbox!  I can guarantee that I will.

Step up, not back. Cannabis Law Reform in South Australia

Increasingly, even though we have a legal framework to access Medical Cannabis, there are still significant challenges for health consumers in finding safe and affordable patient access pathways to Medical Cannabis.

Access to Medical Cannabis is a human right, yet in Australia it is still strangled by Commonwealth and State red tape.

Punitive measures rarely work, if at all.

Every day people are being forced to turn to the alternative (black) market to access cannabis for medical purposes. In doing so, they run the risk of being caught breaking the law in growing their own; or sourcing product of an inferior quality.

A Marshall Liberal Government wants to legislate to raise the maximum penalties for Cannabis possession from $500 to $2,000.

It believes that this is “keeping penalties in line with community expectations.”

How wrong can they be?

Former Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police and Barrister, Mick Palmer AO, has stated that there “lots of support across senior ranks of police for Medical Cannabis.

So why is then that so many people are needlessly targeted by police, tying up resources which could be better used in real crime prevention and community engagement?

Personal narratives are powerful instruments of change. Respectful, lobbying and activism is a commanding way to be heard.

You don’t always have to raise your voice to be heard, it’s often those who are quietly spoken and considered in their approach who are listened to.

So, don’t raise your voice, improve your argument and lobby for Cannabis Law Reform which will benefit not harm our communities.

After you leave here today – continue the conversation – and tell your story to your local Member of Parliament.

Justin Sinclair, Pharmacologist and Research Fellow at the National Institute of Complimentary Medicine house at Western Sydney University quotes Cicero in getting his message across “Salus populi suprema lex esto” which translates to

“The health of the people should be the supreme law.”

We must let science and those with lived experience to ultimately inform evidenced based Medical and other Cannabis policy.