TAMWORTH’S police chief has moved to quell fears local cancer patient Dan Haslam could have his cannabis medicine seized in the wake of a shock raid in Melbourne this week.
Medical marijuana advocates are incensed at a Victoria Police decision to raid the home of former Tamworth woman Cassie Batten, who has been using a cannabis tincture to control the life-threatening symptoms of her three-year-old son Cooper’s epilepsy.
Officers from the state’s child abuse squad executed a search warrant and seized the tinctures for testing, taking the heavily pregnant Ms Batten in for questioning.
She could face charges of possessing a drug of dependence and introducing a drug of dependence into the body of another person.
Ms Batten told media yesterday Cooper, who suffers from a litany of conditions, had already begun having seizures again.
Tamworth mum Lucy Haslam, who has made national headlines for defending her son Dan’s right to use cannabis to relieve the symptoms associated with chemotherapy, said the Melbourne raid was “very concerning”.
“Obviously it’s very concerning because we don’t know whether that leaves us open to being arrested,” Mrs Haslam said.
“I know this really worries Dan too. Why should a terminally ill person have to worry about police coming through the door when they’re fighting a much bigger battle?
“This debate needs to be guided by compassion.”
Tamworth’s most senior police officer, Superintendent Clint Pheeney, yesterday allayed concerns the Haslams could be targeted. “My position is unchanged, we have other higher priority areas to target (than the Haslams),” he said.
Superintendent Pheeney has previously publicly supported the Haslams’ political push to decriminalise marijuana for the terminally ill.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson is expected to lodge a private members’ bill in the NSW Parliament next month in a bid to enshrine it in law.
Successive polls have shown widespread public support for medical marijuana, yet none of the nation’s health ministers have backed it.