Singer and Actress Olivia Newton-John and local cannabis crusader Lucy Haslam recently met to discuss issues relating to accessing cannabis medicines in Australia.
Olivia Newton-John has been making headlines recently, revealing she has been using medical cannabis to help manage pain and inflammation associated with a second bout of cancer.
Ms. Newton-John resides in California where medical cannabis is legal and easy to obtain – and she wants to see Australians having easier access to medical marijuana as well.
Lucy Haslam is well known in Australia for her tireless struggles to push for increased medical cannabis access. Last year, her efforts were recognised when she was announced a finalist in the 2016 NSW Australian of the Year Awards.
Ms. Haslam, who was previously a nurse, is Executive Director and Co-founder of United In Compassion. The group’s primary mission is advocating for patient access to the full spectrum of medicinal cannabis extracts and dried herb cannabis.
While winning respect from many in the community, Ms. Haslam has often expressed her frustration at getting through to politicians. After meeting with Ms. Newton-John, she believes Olivia will be able to grab their attention.
“She’s Australia’s sweetheart and I’m sure the politicians will be all over her like a rash and I’m sure they won’t brush her off,” said Ms. Haslam in an interview with the Inverell Times.
In a petition update posted last week, Ms. Haslam stated:
“Thank you, Olivia Newton John, for being so brave as to speak out for the tens of thousands of Australian patients using medicinal cannabis. Patients who are being ignored by Health Minister Greg Hunt and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who has thus far refrained from making any comment on the subject. I hope that Greg Hunt treats you with more respect than he usually shows toward those battling a terminal illness.”
Ms. Newton-John met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, opposition leader Bill Shorten, health minister Greg Hunt and other ministers on Wednesday. According to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, the meetings were to discuss how Australia’s medical researchers can be supported in continuing to make discoveries that improve outcomes for cancer patients.
After the meeting, Prime Minister Turnbull posted:
“Olivia, thank you for your inspiring leadership and determination. Together, we can beat cancer.”
Whether that admiration will translate to changes that will improve the situation for Australian patients who could benefit from medical cannabis – and not just those suffering from cancer – remains to be seen.