Australian medical cannabis advocate Jenny Hallam returned to court this week for her sentencing hearing – another step in what has been a long and taxing journey.
Ms. Hallam’s Adelaide home was raided in January 2017 over her supply of cannabis oil to patients in need. Her efforts reportedly helped a number of people and Ms. Hallam has always maintained her motives were not profit-based, but to simply assist others.
Ms. Hallam was considered by many a “green fairy”; someone who supplies medicinal cannabis to others at no or minimal cost. Operating outside the law, these people put themselves at great risk of prosecution and potentially lengthy jail terms.
High-profile medical cannabis advocate and Stiff Person Syndrome patient Ben Oakley stated that Ms. Hallam saved his life.
She was subsequently charged with possession of a controlled drug for supply and manufacturing a controlled drug; charges she vowed to fight. Ms. Hallam originally pleaded not guilty in January last year, but over the months the strain became too much and she changed her plea to guilty in February this year.
According to The Advertiser (paywall), the pre-sentencing hearing heard Australian Cannabis University wants to employ Ms. Hallam. The University describes itself as a not-for-profit, private education-based community situated on an organic and certified cannabis farm in northern New South Wales.
Even a suspended prison term would jeopardise the opportunity, which would see Ms. Hallam speaking to patients across Australia and overseas about the benefits of organic medical cannabis.
The judge remanded Ms. Hallam on continuing bail and she will be sentenced next month.
Prior to the sentencing hearing, in late September Ms. Hallam commented that the last 999 days had been the worst of her life.
“Hopefully the Judge will show me the same compassion I showed the ppl I helped. It’s all in his hands now… I can only hope he treats me gently,” she said. “The Prosecution are still asking for a custodial sentence but are not opposed to it being suspended.”
While much has changed with regard to medicinal cannabis in Australia since Ms. Hallam’s home was raided, it is still very difficult for many patients to access – and expensive.