Police seizure shuts down Sunshine Coast business
ANGRY customers are demanding governments act immediately to restore access to natural products they say are making a huge difference to their medical conditions.
But the State Government has warned those who supplied canabidiol products ouside the regulatory framework in place since December, 2015, risked fines of up to $91,425.
Coolum online business Hemp4Health had its operation closed down after police this month seized its stock of cannabidiol (CBD) medicines.
The business, started after proprietor Kimberley Mell began 18 months ago researching alternative treatments for her father-in-law's bowel cancer, has already attracted a 1000-strong customer base.
Ms Mell said police had first visited her family home in December citing a complaint informed by an undercover officer who had purchased the product.
She said police took samples from several different products for analysis but allowed the business to operate until the tests results were available.
However police returned in January to seize her entire stock saying CBD was a Schedule 4 drug under bans on cannabis and marijuana products.
The seizure has spurred an online petition which has already attracted 529 signatures and 186 comments with many attesting to the benefits they had gained.
A government representative said any patient who believed they may benefit from medicinal cannabis could apply through their treating doctor to access medicinal cannabis products right now.
"The Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Act 2016 strengthens these arrangements and will allow a treating doctor to prescribe medicinal cannabis if they believe it's in the patient's best interest. Cannabidiol is covered by the Act," the representative said.
"The Act creates a regulatory framework to allow medicinal cannabis products to be prescribed and dispensed to patients in Queensland and prevent unauthorised use of these products.
"Any cannabis outside of the regulatory framework is illegal."
Ms Mell said a month after taking the samples for analysis police returned and said the amounts of THC were negligible.
She said from the start she had set out to find a natural product that did not contain THC or have a psychoactive effect.
"It took months to research the right plant option with a high concentration of CBD oil," Ms Mell said.
She said her father-in-law was now doing well. He had also rubbed the oil on skin cancers to an equally positive outcome.
One customer who only identified himself as Brad, said he had begun purchasing the product late last year to provide pain relief for his mother who is suffering terminal cancer.
He said medical marijuana was supposed to be legalised soon anyway so he could not understand why more compassion was not being shown.
"Chemo is no option and radiation was not expected to be much help," Brad said.
"No-one wants to see a family member in pain and mum's not in pain and she hasn't been taking anything else.
"How would law makers feel if it was one of their family.
"We have to be in a position of compromise when it is going to happen anyway. They need to show compassion."
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Testimonials from customers included examples of how non-verbal children were now speaking and how cancerous tumours had been reduced.
"This miracle in a bottle is the best I and my son have ever tried with an abundance of positive results," one customer wrote.
"My son has Aspergers and ADHD and I have anxiety and depression. Our results have been dramatic and amazing. Don't take this away from us, we don't dare want to go back to pharmaceuticals that side effects can make us worse."
Another said: "I've only just started to use this product but it has helped reduce me dependence on other prescription drugs and my mental health seems to be improving greatly."
"I have seen the unbelievable benefits of this product with no harmful side effects," a user wrote.
"This product is available in so many other countries and it is time for Australia to not be so backwards."
Ms Mell said she had started the business to give people access to a product of consistent concentration and the reliability they would receive what they paid for.
Among her customer base, Ms Mell said, were people who had switched from THC-based products because they were uncomfortable with the high that came as a side effect.
She said one customer had come to Hemp4Health after been prescribed a pharmaceutical product with leukaemia a potential side effect.
Ms Mell met Maroochydore MP Fiona Simpson on Wednesday to discuss the issue and will meet Buderim MP Steve Dickson tomorrow.
Mr Dickson quit the LNP last Friday citing the failure of governments to guarantee the supply of medical marijuana as the reason he has since joined Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party.
The Queensland raid follows the shutting down by South Australian police of a medical marijuana farm run by Adelaide woman Jenny Hallam.
Ms Hallam, 44, gave away cannabis oil products to clients across Australia including a number on the Sunshine Coast.
You can find the petition link at www.facebook.com/hemp4healthaustralia
The government representative said it was worth noting Mr Dickson voted for the 2016 Act and three months ago he praised Health Minister Cameron Dick on the legislation as "an outcome that I believe is going to be fantastic for Queenslanders".
"The Federal Government is yet to give approval for anyone to legally grow medicinal cannabis in Australia, therefore it is against the law to do so," the representative said.
"Consequently, all medicinal cannabis products need to be imported until the Commonwealth Government's cultivation and manufacturing scheme is operational.
"A person who performs, or attempts to perform, a regulated activity (for example, possessing, obtaining or selling medicinal cannabis) without authorisation under the Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Act 2016 will be subject to a maximum penalty of 750 penalty units ($91,425)."