Michael Balderstone speaks with Dr Andrew Katelaris at Medican in Nimbin on Saturday, October 20.
Michael Balderstone speaks with Dr Andrew Katelaris at Medican in Nimbin on Saturday, October 20. Liana Turner

'Good doctor' found not guilty in medical cannabis case

THE Australian HEMP Party has welcomed the decision of the Downing Centre District Court which found Dr Andrew Katelaris not guilty of all charges in relation to the supply of medical cannabis to patients.

HEMP Party President Michael Balderstone expressed his support for Dr Katelaris.

"This decision has been a long time coming for the courageous good doctor," he said.

"We're seeing the courts ignore the strict rule of law of cannabis when it comes to its medical use.

"Dr Katelaris has put his life into bringing to light the potential of healing with cannabis and it's heartening to see him finally get some success."

Mr Balderstone said the court ruling is a win for medical cannabis advocates around the country.

"The new call will be for the medical profession, police and the judiciary to stand aside and allow governments and the citizens to develop a meaningful medical cannabis regime that addresses the needs and concerns of over 100,000 Australians using illicit cannabis every day for medical purposes," he said.

Balderstone mentioned the case against the medico was sparked by an interview in which Dr Katelaris invited a journalist to film inside a secret cultivation and production room, in a suburban house.

Within days of the story being aired, police arrested Dr Katelaris, who was eventually jailed, bailed, and was been found not guilty recently.

Party secretary Andrew Kavasilas estimated Australians use between 500-750 kilograms of cannabis every day.

"This could very well be a turning point, I can't see how police can continue to enforce laws that the public and judiciary simply do not support," Mr Kavasilas said.

"It's now time for the Federal Government to listen very carefully and do whatever it takes to acknowledge and bypass UN Drug Treaties, as Canada has just done, which have hindered scientific research and medical use of medical cannabis at the international level."