High-profile Australian MP Barnaby Joyce let fly at a screening of a medical cannabis documentary last week, shocking well-respected medical cannabis campaigner Lucy Haslam.
Lucy Haslam is one of Australia’s best-known medical cannabis advocates. A former nurse, Ms. Haslam began her activism after son Dan was diagnosed with bowel cancer at age 20. Dan unfortunately passed away, but Lucy Haslam has continued in her work and is the co-founder of patient advocacy group United In Compassion.
Mr. Joyce was invited by Ms. Haslam to attend a screening of “High As Mike”, a film on how medical cannabis can alleviate pain associated with chemotherapy. He reportedly arrived late and then became agitated during a Q&A session that followed, referring to the death of his brother from cancer and stating among other things:
“I don’t want someone saying there is some miracle elixir that we somehow missed”.
Ms. Haslam alleges Mr. Joyce also swore at her and made other hurtful statements.
“This is what toxic politicking looks like,” said Lucy Haslam on Saturday. “When Barnaby wanted my support to win an election and to big note in Canberra he thought Medicinal Cannabis was valuable to ease suffering … Now he insults me, swears at me, trivialises Dan’s death, belittles the feelings and experience of every sick and suffering medicinal cannabis user in Australia.”
On Sunday, Ms. Haslam followed up with a lengthy post after an apology (of sorts) from Mr. Joyce, who also denied swearing at her.
“That Barnaby is not an apology,” stated Ms. Haslam. “Any decent apology needs to extend to the people of your electorate and of Australia who have been misrepresented by your back-flip on medicinal cannabis.”
Back in 2016 when Australia’s Acting Prime Minister, Mr. Joyce opened the nation’s first medicinal cannabis farm – run by the Haslams – situated near Tamworth in New South Wales. At the opening, Mr. Joyce stated:
“When you can find a use for any part of a plant that can assist people when they are ill, when they are in pain, you should do it,” said Mr. Joyce.
Everyone is entitled to change their mind on an issue, but Ms. Haslam says Mr. Joyce needs to explain what has led to him altering his stance.
“Either you lied to us in those early days when supporting medicinal cannabis was politically popular OR you have been influenced otherwise and neglected to make this known to your electorate.”
Lucy Haslam’s full statement can be viewed here.