SYDNEY - Cancer sufferers and AIDS victims were among protesters at NSW
parliament calling for the government to support cannabis for medical use.

The protesters gathered on Macquarie Street to urge the Carr government to
accept a working party's recommendations for the use of cannabis as medicine.

Dr Andrew Katelaris, medical consultant to protest organisers NSW
Compassion Club, said the state government had granted a licence for
research looking at the ingredients of various strains of cannabis and
their effects.

"Our licence specifically stops short of allowing human trials even though
30 per cent of Australian adults have actually used cannabis," he said
outside parliament.

"We're not allowed to give them safe, medically standardised cannabis ...
they have to go and buy it from the crooks.

"What we want is to be allowed to set up a medical grow room, enrol people
in clinical trials and start the proper scientific evaluation of the
clinical uses of cannabis in its various forms of extraction."

Club co-founder Andrew Kavasilas said cannabis made a major difference in
sick people's lives.

"For AIDS sufferers it can just be a matter of being able to eat more, keep
food down, and feel pleasant about life ... for cancer patients who are
going through chemo it's very good for allaying the feeling of nausea ...
and for other patients like MS, the muscle relaxant properties of cannabis
are well known and well documented," he said.

Coogee MS sufferer Ed Mycak said he was there to support cannabis as a
therapeutic agent for his own use, as it helped ease his symptoms.

"I have tried the other available agents ... but that has not been useful
for me and I have had to discontinue use after a year," he said.

Source: Age, The (Australia)
Copyright: 2002 The Age Company Ltd
Author: Australian Associated Press