He was educated in the UK and arrived in Australia in 1971, he joined the NSW Police Force, serving for 35 years as a detective in the Criminal Investigation Branch, drug squad and the Armed Hold Up squad.
The former head of the Tamworth drug squad, Mr. Lou Haslam has lectured extensively about the dangers of #Marijuana and locked up more druggies than he cares to remember, working undercover he arrested ton of people for cannabis-related crimes in New South Wales (NSW) between 1972 and 2006, he said:
We were mainly after growers and suppliers.
But in an extraordinary twist of fate, he found himself on the frontline of the push to legalise marijuana for medical use, he bought #Cannabis from the black market and purchase a farm later to grow it, supplying cannabis to his own son Dan Haslam, after he was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2010.
He has borne witness to the plant’s remarkable therapeutic powers through his son, who is battling terminal bowel cancer, and has used it to deal with the crushing nausea and loss of appetite caused by chemotherapy.
With ongoing use of cannabis, his son's ulcers disappeared, his appetite returned and his nausea depleted, he said:
Something had to give, as a parent, you'd do anything - and I mean anything - to stop your kid suffering. He'd tried every bloody pharmaceutical drug. They did nothing. This was really working.
Seeing its impact, he started hearing how medicinal cannabis helped others with chronic diseases, epilepsy and HIV, the reason why he decided to go public with his story to shift Australian lawmakers to legalise it for medicinal use. He persuaded then "NSW Premier Mike Baird" to launch Australia's first medicinal cannabis trial for terminally ill patients. Mr Baird tells the BBC
The moment I met Dan I was convinced medical cannabis could make a difference. I could hear it in Dan's voice; I could see it in his eyes.
He set up an online petition which 320,000 signatures, and he used those supporters to successfully lobby politicians.
The campaign energy built but Dan died in 2015, aged 25! On 24 February 2016, coinciding with the one-year anniversary of his death, medicinal cannabis was legalised by the Australian parliament. Some MPs called it "Dan's Law".
Mr. Haslam purchased a farm to grow medicinal cannabis, which was opened by then Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce in Tamworth - Dan's home town. It was called Dan's Eden.
He joined also his wife Lucy (Who founded a charity which campaigns for compassionate access to the medication) in the healthcare sector helping her turn a sole trading business into a successful in-nursing and palliative care company, fully accredited in-home nursing care company which grew from a one person operation to a staff of over 50 nursing and disability support workers, and included a respite centre and administration centre caring for over 200 patients.
Patients included low through to high support clients (24 hour care) such as quadriplegics, acquired brain injury, physical and intellectual disabilities, frail aged and palliative care. Care was delivered in the patient’s home, in group homes, in the respite centre.
Australians Left In Pain / The New Battle
As of April 2019, there have been 5,200 medicinal cannabis approvals, Mr. Haslam reopened his petition using the hashtag #FixDansLaw. He says medicinal cannabis remains in regulatory limbo due to excessive regulation and bureaucracy, meaning some patients wait up to 19 months for a script. It must be accessed through a special scheme which, critics say, makes it onerous for doctors to prescribe.
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< References & Photos >
Dailytelegraph / Vice / ABC / Dan's Story