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Here’s some positive news from the land down under: 4-year-old Cooper Wallace can legally resume his cannabis oil treatment for his seizures and the child abuse investigation of his parents is finished. Cooper was only three when law enforcement raided his home and arrested his parents (while his mother was heavily pregnant, no less) for talking to the media about treating his seizures with Mullaways Cannabinoid Tincture. The founder of Mullaways was also recently prosecuted and sentenced to a year in jail, but he is appealing that sentence and providing medicine to patients in the interim.
Cooper’s parents, Cassie Batten and Rhett Wallace, have been openly advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana in Victoria, Australia. That doesn’t surprise anyone who knows their story. While Cooper was born healthy, he contracted bacterial meningitis and developed a host of symptoms and conditions as a result, including life-threatening seizures that came frequently and lasted many minutes.
As his parents tell it, within fifteen minutes of first taking the cannabis tincture, Cooper was visibly improved. That effect has only increased as time has gone on, with Cooper doing things doctors said he would never be able to do, such as stand up on his own two feet.
With his medicine suddenly seized earlier this year and its maker facing charges, Cooper’s parents turned to local doctors for help and were, amazingly, assisted. Physicians at Northern Hospital in Melbourne, Australia began helping them in administering cannabis oil to Cooper. At first that went well, and Cooper continued to thrive on his new medicine. Tragically, due to political pressure, the hospital changed its policy on Cooper’s treatment in October, refusing to allow his parents to administer the medicine on hospital property.
This move no doubt increased the pressure on local policy makers, and in early December, it was decided that prosecuting Cassie Batten and Rhett Wallace would not serve the public interest. The investigation into whether or not their decision to treat Cooper’s severe symptoms with cannabis oil was closed, and Cooper can resume his medicine without risk of losing his parents to prison.
Despite what may seem like bold steps, the government in Victoria seems to be sending mixed messages. While they are allowing Cooper to resume his treatment and letting doctors who had recommended cannabis tinctures continue to practice medicine, others are still being prosecuted for the medical use of cannabis.
In time, one can only hope that the rational approach to the issue that inspired law enforcement to drop their investigation of this family will lead to more comprehensive legal reform in Victoria, the rest of Australia, and the world as a whole.
While Cooper may now be able to take the medicine that helps him the most, his family still needs support. They are organizing a motorcycle ride for Cooper for next month. Those who live in Victoria are encouraged to participate or donate to the event. It will take place on February 8th, 2015 and will comprise of meeting at the Bundura Park Entrance and then riding to Flowerdale. They are asking for $10 per bike entered in the event. Best of luck to Cooper, his parents and the activists and community members who are supporting them!
For previous Ladybud Magazine articles about marijuana in Australia, click here.
Photo Credit: Rhett Wallace and Cassie Batten via Facebook