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Medical Cannabis Persuasive Speech Essay

An innocent, four-year-old girl suffers from daily seizures. Her parents look on, experiencing her pain vicariously, powerless. An old man lays in hospital, terminal, his last days spent in agony. The tragedy: both situations, we are assured, are preventable, if only medicinal cannabis were legal. These are familiar stories. These are stories that distinguish medicinal cannabis coverage from just another abstract, recurring news item, transforming it into a real human issue. They tick all the right boxes.

This is not another one of those stories. A simple search of The Courier Mail and Sydney Morning Herald websites returns an abundance of stories matching this profile. In light of Green’s leader Richard Di Natale’s cross-party supported Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis Bill being unanimously recommended by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, coverage is only likely to increase. But, one must wonder if, in itself, this emotive style of coverage truly captures the breadth of such an intricate issue.

For Gary Christian of Drug Free Australia, the answer is simple: these stories blind us, skewing our perceptions of medicinal cannabis. “The problem,” he clarifies, “is that the media is totally ignorant of the status of medical cannabis in Australia. It has been legal in Australia for about 18 years. ” “Medical cannabis is available, and the media is keeping it from the Australian public. There are people who could benefit from it, and they’re being kept in the dark by the media. That’s a real problem. ” Allegations of media misconduct are hardly ground-breaking.

Accusations of media ignorance, bias, and distortions of fact, of surreptitious motives and reckless and irresponsible reporting, are a regular tactic, brandished to garner to sympathy, divert blame, or reallocate focus. Thankfully, Mr Christian has proof. Marinol, a THC pill, has been available in Australia since the 1990s. Sativex, an oral spray whole leaf cannabis extract, was approved in 2012. Between them, these medications treat nausea and vomiting in cancer patients, loss of appetite in AIDs patients, and spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients, with clinical trials ongoing to ascertain numerous other uses.

Either of these can be prescribed by a doctor. Drug Free Australia has gone to a lot of trouble to get all that verified from the TGA, and we have letters to prove that it can be prescribed, and these substances obtained,” Mr Christian assures. Largely, this highlights the need for awareness and clarity, and to distinguish between the various types of medical cannabis available, something, Mr Christian posits, which is severely lacking in the current discussion. “There seems to be a bit of a media agenda, and they’re using medical marijuana as their entree, if you like, for something bigger down the track,” he hypothesises.

According to Mr Christian, that something bigger is the legalisation of smoked, recreational cannabis. Drug Free Australia is a somewhat misleading name. For starters, they don’t wish to impose a blanket ban on all drugs, medical or otherwise. Their views and motivations can be easily misrepresented, dismissed as overly conservative, particularly with surnames like Christian. However, Mr Christian’s core message is one of concern, that even a startling number of politicians are unaware of medical cannabis legal status, of need for factual precision, and of ulterior motives driving the media’s coverage.

If medical marijuana is to be legalised in Australia, he wants it to happen under the right circumstances, and for the right reasons. To him, the Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis Bill fits neither criteria. “You have to look at everything in the light that medical cannabis is already available, so there is no point to the federal bill,” he asserts. This is a message where he finds some common ground with perhaps the most unlikely of people.

“I’m not sure, to tell you the truth,” s hardly the definitive, enthusiastic response one would expect from a man like Michael Balderstone when the topic of nationwide cannabis reform is initially broached. If the fact that Mr Balderstone is the President of Australia’s Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party isn’t a sufficient indicator of his beliefs, the relaxed, measured twang in his voice, betrayed only by the passion with which he speaks about cannabis related issues, drives it home.

Yet, even he is sceptical of the Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis Bill, despite noting Richard di Natale’s sincere passion for drug law reform. I’m kind of cynical about all the legal games, [l think] that big Pharma might just jump in on this. I mean, they really control the TGA, I think everyone on the board of the TGA comes from a pharmace company. This is designed to go around them, but I’m not sure they won’t jump onto it anyway,” he continues. It’s not just big pharmaceutical companies serving their own interests he’s worried about, rather, the whole political attitude towards drug law in Australia. He jokes that police are currently cracking down on “ice sharks and pot dolphins”, but deeper concerns underpin this jovial nature.

I’m interested in why Australia’s so far behind,” he explains. “We’re run by the police a lot I think. The police seem to be the drug experts driving the politicians. Every time anyone wants to make a change, it gets jumped on. ” As far as Mr Balderstone can see, this bill, and the current political climate, is no exception. Although Mr Balderstone is as keen as anyone to see medicinal cannabis, and recreational cannabis for that matter, legalised, providing a seemingly infinite list of its benefits during our short chat, the central issue for him is not merely legalisation, but how and why reform is achieved.

He believes we have a lot to learn from America – another point on which everyone seems to concur. It’s the pesky matter of what, exactly, we should learn where divergence appears. Whereas Mr Balderstone believes that, with support rapidly growing for medical cannabis in Australia, we should follow in America’s footsteps and start listening to the people, rather than police or politicians, Greg Munro, National Policy Manager for the Australian Drug Foundation, takes a more tempered view.

Though he recently released a statement declaring the Foundation’s support for medical cannabis legalisation, he equally emphasised that Australia must not, at any cost, mirror the American system. “Australia must avoid the model of medical cannabis in the United States, where it is de facto legalisation and there is little control over its availability to the general population,” he said. The practices of ‘doctorshopping’ and faking illnesses just to circumvent the system and get high, as well as the diversion of medical cannabis for recreational purposes, are all major concerns in America.

The Drug Policy Modelling Program, one of Australia’s leading drug policy research institutes, recently released a study recommending that, “any medical cannabis debate in Australia should be informed by the experience of different regulatory regimes abroad. ” This appears to be sensible, pragmatic advice, which the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee followed, to an extent, by comparatively outlining the approaches taken in Holland, Washington, and California in its report recommending the Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis Bill.

However, concern has grown from the lack of definitive recommendation regarding the model that Australia should follow, leading to worries among some groups that a more lax, American model may be adopted. ““Personally I am concerned about the impact of the bill,” is a statement which, from most, would seem fairly bland and uncontroversial. However, coming from Detective Senior Constable Nathan Antonik, it holds significant weight. He is the founder of Project Booyah, a police initiative designed to support at-risk youth, who have disengaged from school and community.

Unsurprisingly, many of these youth come from a background of drug abuse. For years, Detective Antonik has experienced first-hand the damaging and often tragic effects of exposing young people to drugs, and has deep concerns that legalising medical marijuana will merely lead to easier access for recreational usage. ” would have thought common sense would dictate that more access to drugs would increase usage and associated offences,” he commented.

While Detective Antonik affirmed that he had faith the ‘powers that be’ would do everything possible to alleviate his concerns, and the concerns of the wider policing fraternity, his fears are by no means unwarranted. A comprehensive study published in the American journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence concluded, predictably, that “residents of states with medical marijuana laws had higher odds of marijuana use and marijuana abuse/dependence. ”

A subsequent study bore similar results, finding, “following decriminalisation, those who start using cannabis tend to do so at an earlier age… here is also a net increase in the proportion of the population who ever use cannabis. ” The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have declared that there is “an overwhelming temptation” for suppliers and users of medical cannabis to resell the drug on the black market for extra cash, while Californian legislators lament that the system is being abused by people “who simply want to get high. ” Without getting too bogged down in these studies, the point, then, is that this is not the simple, morally unambiguous issue it is commonly framed as in Australia.

People may be equally harmed if marijuana is legalised as if it isn’t. Even so, these facts would be easy to dismiss. That’s just what happens in North America. Australia is not North America. But, any of this this could happen here just as easily. In fact, to an extent, it already is, right under our noses. Local Bond University student Jamie Jaafar revealed that come exam time, students with legitimate drug prescriptions suddenly become very popular, and slightly richer. “It’s out of control,” she explained. “Basically, in the weeks leading up to exams there’s a massive boom in the university’s black market.

For most, Ritalin is the pill of choice, apparently helping them to focus on studying for their upcoming exams. Students with legitimate prescriptions to treat their ADHD are only too happy to sell these pills, knowing they can readily replenish their supply. “When I first heard about it, I was shocked most by how common it is, and how people just act like it’s no big deal,” she clarified. Regardless of the regulations or restrictions implemented, this willingness to share, for profit, could easily be emulated with medicinal cannabis, perhaps minus the studying.

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