Pot of gold - Anti-drug crusader Woodley backs medical marijuana bid

ONE of the nation’s staunchest anti-drug crusaders has lent his considerable clout to a local family’s quest to legalise medical marijuana.

In a shock move, long-serving Tamworth councillor Warren Woodley yesterday backed calls for the state government to allow a clinical trial of cannabis for the terminally ill.

OPINION SHIFT: Tamworth councillor and anti-drug crusader Warren Woodley, right, discusses the merits of medical marijuana with local man Dan Haslam, who has terminal bowel cancer.  Photo: Geoff O’Neill 020514GOC01

OPINION SHIFT: Tamworth councillor and anti-drug crusader Warren Woodley, right, discusses the merits of medical marijuana with local man Dan Haslam, who has terminal bowel cancer. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 020514GOC01

It comes as an online poll on The Northern Daily Leader website revealed a massive 93.8 per cent of respondents supported the campaign of Lou and Lucy Haslam, whose terminally ill son Dan has used marijuana to combat the crushing nausea associated with chemotherapy.

Mr Woodley, the founder of Australian Cities Against Drugs and a keynote speaker at a number of international anti-drug conferences, said Dan’s story had radically altered his view on medical marijuana.

“If someone is very ill and in constant pain, they should be given a chance at quality of life,” Mr Woodley said.

“Enough people have told me that cannabis can do that.

“If their body responds to that drug over the other drugs, then they should be allowed to use it.”

But Mr Woodley remained deeply opposed to the decriminalisation of marijuana for recreational use.

“I’ve helped hundreds of drug addicts over the years and 90 per cent of them started out using marijuana,” he said.

“A lot have turned to crime to feed their habit and ended up in jail; others have committed suicide.

“We have to stay strong on prohibition outside of the terminally ill and the Haslam family agrees with that.”

Mr Woodley implored the state government to find a workable policy position that allowed medical marijuana to exist alongside the illegal drug. His support marks another extraordinary chapter in the Haslams’ campaign, which has captured national media attention and garnered close to 25,000 petition signatures.

In recent days, deputy mayor Russell Webb and councillors Tim Coates and Mark Rodda have publically endorsed the push.

An emotional Mr Haslam described Mr Woodley’s support as an “important breakthrough”.

“It’s pretty big, because he is drawing the distinction between recreational and medical marijuana. To have someone so staunchly against recreational drugs onside is the push we need,” he said.

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