VICTORIAN activist Heather Gladman will address a Tasmanian medicinal cannabis rally on Saturday to call for more empathetic laws for people using the drug.
Ms Gladman, a self-described “activist, medicine maker, grandmother”, garnered national attention when she went on a hunger strike on Melbourne’s Treasury Gardens after being arrested for growing medicinal marijuana.
“I will continue to fight these ridiculous, embarrassing laws until every man, woman and child in Australia has access to safe, organic cannabis medicine,” Ms Gladman said.
Her visit to Tasmania marks the first time she has met East Tamar cannabis activist Lyn Cleaver, who credits Ms Gladman with saving her son’s life.
Jeremy Bester was left with permanent brain damage after contracting suspected viral encephalitis aged six.
The illness left him with severe seizures that were difficult to manage with medication.
Medicinal cannabis changed everything for the family. When their supply almost ran out Ms Gladman sent enough medicine to keep Mr Bester’s doses up until Ms Cleaver could grow her own cannabis.
“It was quite a dire situation,” Ms Cleaver said.
“It got us through to the point where we could source seeds to grow our own.”
Saturday’s rally, to be held on Parliament Lawns in Hobart at noon, has been organised by Cannabis Activists Tasmania and the Medicinal Cannabis Association of Tasmania.
“People are being frustrated by the lack of action from the Tasmanian government and demand is rising all the time for medicinal cannabis,” Ms Cleaver said.
“Basically it’s where to from here, is the government going to put something legitimate on the table, and what happens in the meantime?”
The Tasmanian government has partnered with New South Wales for medicinal cannabis trials and most recently announced specialist medical practitioners would be able to prescribe the product from 2017. The Controlled Access Scheme will require doctors to seek permission to prescribe medicinal cannabis and allow it to be grown lawfully with a federal licence.