New WA MPs Brian Walker and Sophia Moermond fight to legalise cannabis
Dr Brian Walker and Sophia Moermond on front steps of Parliament. Credit: Ian Munro/The West Australian
They’re arguably the most controversial and unusual pair of MPs to sit in the WA Parliament.
Brian Walker and Sophia Moermond believe smoking pot should not be a criminal offence.
The pair will in eight days be sworn in as MPs representing the Legalise Cannabis WA Party in the Legislative Council. Both believe recreational use of cannabis should be legal in WA and will eventually put to Parliament a private members’ Bill to argue the case.
Speaking to The Sunday Times this week, Dr Walker said he and Ms Moermond’s election was “meant to be”.
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“This is a universal call,” he said. “This is exactly right. We were in the right place at the right time. We got around 2 .5 per cent of the votes, so it’s a sizeable part of the community. It is my passion that people are well, physically, mentally, financially and socially.
“And access to cannabis in all its forms would assist people to live better. I’d ask people to have an open and inquiring mind.”
Dr Walker is a GP in Serpentine. He says he has never smoked dope, but uses medicinal cannabis for a shoulder injury he sustained while Japanese sword fighting.
He also prescribes medicinal cannabis through his work as a GP.
Ms Moermond has worked as an acupuncturist, naturopath, Chinese medicine practitioner and a “vitamins educator”. She says she also worked as a registered nurse in The Netherlands. She admits smoking the “occasional” joint and takes medicinal cannabis for trauma.
“This is about freedom,” Dr Walker said.
“Most people who are using cannabis and, in fact, other drugs, aren’t doing it because they want to be druggies and dropouts in society. They are actually treating themselves.
“Most of the problems they are treating is a trauma they have experienced earlier in their lives, or in their current life.
“They are not getting access to proper mental and health care and so what are they going to do? You can change the way your mind functions simply by taking cannabis. It automatically makes you a criminal, which I think is awful. This is barbaric.
“It (cannabis) is a lot healthier than taking a six pack of beer. There’s no downside to having a cone.”
Dr Brian Walker. Credit: Ian Munro/The West Australian Ms Moermond said she first smoked cannabis in high school and started smoking again recently to help with insomnia. “Plants should be used medicinally,” she said.
“But the other side of that is that people should have the freedom, they should have bodily autonomy — they should have choice around these sorts of things.
“If you look at why cannabis was made illegal, there is no real reason for it.”