A Hunter man is so keen to have medicinal cannabis legalised in NSW that he has started a not-for-profit business to advocate for the cause.
Muswellbrook man Mark Hutchison, 27, started Hunter Valley Cannabis late last year.
He told the Mercury that the business would advocate for medicinal cannabis to become legal and educate the community about the drug’s benefits for treating illnesses.
Mr Hutchison, who uses cannabis for epilepsy, said he would like to sell medicinal cannabis at a not-for-profit price if its use became legal.
“I don’t take pharmaceutical medicine, I go down the organic path,” he said.
“It [cannabis] was never meant to be demonised.”
Mr Hutchison, a self-employed painter and decorator, told the Mercury that his daily use of cannabis through a vaporiser stopped him having epileptic seizures.
“I don’t drink and I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life,” he said.
“I don’t advocate illegally supplying it [cannabis], that takes the cause a step backwards.”
The state government has announced that three clinical trials will take place from next year to treat patients who have a range of illnesses with medicinal cannabis.
When the announcement was made in December, the NSW branch of the Australian Medical Association welcomed the decision.
President Saxon Smith said the trials were the best way to ensure medicinal cannabis was held to the same standard as other legal medicinal drugs.
“This will allow sick people access to medicine that is being tested and examined for efficacy - potentially improving their lives in the short term and providing evidence to help the wider population in the longer term,” Dr Smith said.
“I’m glad the government is broadening its approach to the trials, allowing for more than just treatment of terminal illness.
“That said, I do want to highlight the fact that there is a big difference between using medical cannabis in a trial and using the raw plant as a recreational drug.”