Medicinal cannabis: Father of 5yo Katelyn Lambert gave daughter drug out of necessity, court told
Photo: Michael Lambert and his daughter Katelyn leaving the court. (ABC News: Emma Simkin)
The father of a poster-child for medicinal cannabis was in tears as police confiscated the drug from their home, according to a video shown in court as he answered charges of cultivation and possession.
Michael Lambert entered the court surrounded by his family, including his five-year-old daughter Katelyn who has a severe form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome. Mr Lambert admitted that he had acted illegally in cultivating cannabis, but argued it was out of necessity to help treat his daughter who suffered from seizures, which traditional medicines could only supress. "I believe my daughter was in imminent peril," he said. Mr Lambert initially began importing cannabis oil from Denmark but then started growing his own supply after fearing the overseas supply could run out. The prosecution argued there were alternative and legal treatments available to Mr Lambert, while the magistrate also questioned whether home-produced cannabis oil had the same effectiveness as oil produced under clinical conditions. But paediatrician Dr Adam Buckmaster told the court that he saw Katelyn one month after her father started administering her with cannabis oil known as Cannabidiol (CBD). He described "a significant improvement" in her condition and said: "I believe these improvements could only be attributed CBD." Dr Buckmaster said she was "happy, interactive and social". Father in tears as property searched The court was shown a DVD recording of the police search of Mr Lambert's property. He willingly showed police around the house and surrounds, giving them cannabis products, including two containers of dry sift, a tube of cannabis oil and cannabis plants. In the recording, Mr Lambert told police he had a syringe in the fridge. "You've got it and we have to seize it," police said. "It's illegal." An emotional Mr Lambert began crying as he attempted to keep the oil to administer to his daughter that night.
"Every seizure is a kick in the head for my daughter," he cried. 'It's a joke' Outside court, Mr Lambert said before taking medicinal cannabis, Katelyn was "doing a whole lot more dribbling and jerking" and she "wasn't enjoying her life". "But look at her today, she's having a good life," he said. "We know she's been damaged by the seizures prior to medicinal cannabis but since she's been on it she's just been doing really well." Katelyn's grandfather, Barry Lambert, said because of medicinal cannabis Katelyn had not been hospitalised nor had she experienced seizures for the past 20 months. He said the cannabinoids, known as CBD, found in the cannabis plant had assisted greatly and "she is clear as a bell". "Everyone knows [she is doing well] because of the CBD and the hemp oil." Barry Lambert said taking legal action against someone for growing cannabis for health reasons was no different to telling people they could not eat oranges for Vitamin C. He said there were only 23 doctors in Australia that could write a prescription for Epidiolex, a legal cannabidol product, which was only successful in about 30 per cent of cases. "That's about one doctor per 1 million people. It's completely unworkable and it will never work. "It's somewhat of a joke." Barry said what his son was doing for Katelyn was life-saving and the Government also had an obligation to protect its citizens. The case was adjourned until May 29. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-16/cannabis-cultivation-case-underway-in-gosford-court/8359120