A RIVERINA woman who turned to cannabis to deal with crippling arthritis has joined the crusade to legalise the drug as medicine.
Kelly Cameron, 33, said despite medical cannabis giving her profound relief from her chronic condition, she was too concerned to take it during the week because of fear of prosecution.
Her story comes amid a national revolution on medical cannabis, with campaigners inching closer to having a federal bill tabled in parliament.
Meanwhile, the NSW government has approved clinical trials of the drug.
Ms Cameron, a former top-flight equestrian rider, first experimented with medical cannabis after her body was unable to cope with opiates.
“Opiates made me violently ill and I turned to it as a last resort,” Ms Cameron said.
“I was at my wit’s end; I had nowhere else to turn.
“If I can’t have it, I can’t live a normal life.”
The Griffith vet nurse said tougher drug-driving laws, which are set to intensify in 2016, meant she was unable to use it during the working week.
She said it was “ludicrous” that she the only place she could buy such an effective medicine was on the black market.
“We need complete and utter law reform, it’s that simple,” Ms Cameron said.
“The government is putting lives at risk (by not legalising it).”
She also blamed big pharmaceutical companies for lobbying governments and obstructing the passage to legalisation.
Ms Cameron even raised the spectre of medical cannabis creating a new industry in the Riverina.
“I’d like to see the industry brought back here and given to farmers,” she said.
Wagga MP Daryl Maguire pledged his support for Ms Cameron’s stance and medical cannabis.
“If it’s going to provide relief for terminally ill patients or children suffering convulsive events, then we should legalise it,” he said.
“I was one of the first MPs to support it.
“It has had enormous support from members of parliament. We have a responsibility and we’re acting very quickly on it.”
Polls have consistently shown more than two-thirds of Australians back the use of medical cannabis.