Three medical cannabis suppliers, one in Australia and two in New Zealand, have recently faced court over their activities – with very different outcomes.
“Green fairies” are those who supply medicinal cannabis to others at no or minimal cost. They operate outside the law, placing themselves at great risk of prosecution.
The first case is in relation to a woman from Adelaide, South Australia – Jenny Hallam. In January last year, Ms. Hallam pleaded not guilty in Adelaide Magistrates Court to possession and manufacturing charges related to medical cannabis.
Ms. Hallam had been supplying products, at no charge, to those suffering from various conditions. Among these people was Stiff Person Syndrome patient Ben Oakley, a high-profile medical cannabis crusader.
While attracting significant support, the stresses of the case took their toll. Earlier this month, Ms. Hallam changed her plea to guilty. While many supporters were disappointed, they were also understanding of her position as it was a very tough one to be in.
Across the ditch to New Zealand, where medical cannabis activist Rose Renton again faced court early this month over charges relating to growing and distributing cannabis products. This case has been going on since 2017. Stuff.co.nz reports Ms. Renton was discharged without conviction as a result of the judge finding her offending was ‘altruistic’.
Then last week, Kiwi John Patrick was also discharged without conviction after facing charges of cultivating, producing, possession and supplying cannabis. Again, the judge (a different one) noted Mr. Patrick’s offending was motivated by wanting to assist others. In fact, Judge Jane Farish wish Mr. Patrick well in his ambition to become a registered supplier of medicinal cannabis; something that wouldn’t have been possible if a conviction was recorded against him.
While New Zealand and Australia both have laws relating to medical cannabis, they are very restrictive and make products difficult and very expensive to obtain. While this may change in the time ahead, for many suffering chronic serious conditions currently, they neither have the energy or the financial resources to navigate complex access processes. These “green fairies” are often their second-last resort, with the last resort being taking the risk of buying products on the street, or over the internet from unknown parties.