A PRO-MARIJUANA doctor who was struck off for treating patients with the drug has accused the state government of being a “puppet” to big pharmaceutical companies.
Dr Andrew Katelaris, pictured, was deregistered by the NSW Medical Tribunal in 2005 over the self-administration of cannabis and supplying it to some of his patients.
The following year, he narrowly avoided prison after being convicted of growing close to 50,000 cannabis plants on his Hunter Valley property to be used as medicine.
Dr Katelaris, who is advising Tamworth’s Haslam family in their quest to decriminalise marijuana for the dying, still “illegally” treats about a dozen children with intractable epilepsy.
“Successive polls have shown 95 per cent of voters support medical cannabis yet nine out of nine health ministers oppose it,” Dr Katelaris said.
“They’re obviously running to an agenda ... their puppet strings are being pulled by big pharmaceutical companies.
“They supply drugs that have monstrous side-effects and are hideously expensive versus a low-cost herb that works better.”
The former staff doctor at North Shore Private Hospital described the benefits of cannabis in a range of medical conditions as “revolutionary”.
“When I started out I was prescribing people morphine and Endone and the problems were huge,” he said.
Dr Katelaris treats patients with ultra-low THC marijuana, making it of no value as a recreational drug.
“I see what I do as an essential act of civil disobedience,” he said. “It’s a crime against humanity what our government is doing. There are other countries powering ahead with tens of thousands of people being treated with cannabis.”
He said the results of using cannabis oil on his young epilepsy patients ranged from “very good to fantastic”.
“Not only are they having a reduction in seizures but an increase in their intellectual capacity,” Dr Katelaris said.
“It’s making a miraculous difference.”
He also claimed there was “rock-solid” scientific evidence cannabis could have a dramatic anti-cancer effect.
He urged Australian governments to stop the political cowardice and forge ahead with legalising medical marijuana.
“There seems to be this straitjacket of thought from our politicians ... they’re too scared to talk about it because they’re worried about seeming soft on drugs,” Dr Katelaris said.