The Pot Doctor -- The Man Making A Case For Medicinal Marijuana In Australia

17/11/2015 9:16 AM AEDT | Updated July 15, 2016 12:51

There are plans afoot to legalise medical marijuana, but one pioneering medico has already been supplying it -- and has sacrificed his own medical credentials for the cause.

Andrew Katelaris is a former doctor turned medicinal cannibis campaigner, who grows the drug to supply to adults, and even more controversially, to children and has been doing so for years.

Katelaris practiced medicine for 23 years before being deregistered in 2005 due his involvement with medicinal marijuana. He has been arrested and charged numerous times.

"I was basically given a choice, give up medical cannibis research and stay registered or leave the profession if I was to continue my research," he said.

"It wasn't a hard decision."

As this documentary, The Pot Doctor, reveals, the former doctor is beyond passionate in his fight to see medicinal cannibis legalised in Australia.

And it's because he believes in the power of the drug, his simple philosophy that it will "cure sometimes, relieve often, comfort always".

It is illegal to grow and supply marijuana in Australia. But it is understood there is widespread use among terminally ill adults, chemotherapy patients and children with severe epilepsy.

Health Minister Sussan Ley said the federal government would remove obstacles on the growth of marijuana for medical and scientific purposes, by amending the Narcotic Drugs Act.

Individual states would then be free to allow or disallow the measures, but NSW premier Mike Baird is strongly behind the push and other state leaders have announced medical trials for cannabis oil.

In the feature, Katelaris reveals a hidden lab inside his home, which he explained was to avoid what he described as "ignorant and draconian" laws.

"It's bizarre that in the 21st century we have to actually hide the production of life-saving medicine," he said.

His priority is to help children who are sick, with families he supplies to crediting the doctor for bringing their children back to them.

Like Rhett and Cassie. Their son Cooper contracted meningitis at four weeks old.

As he came to the end of his life his parents wanted to keep him comfortable, so they opted to use medicinal marijuana.

Rhett said it worked wonders for his son.

"It did a bit more than keep him comfortable. It's given him a quality of life he would have otherwise not had and after the cannabis he started pulling himself up on his knees... started crawling, he said.

"You can't really put into words what [Katelaris'] done for us, and thousands of others."

When the creators behind this documentary asked Katelaris what motivates him, his answer was simple.

"I do it because I've luckily been given the indications and the intelligence to be able to do it," he said.

"The human condition is this: We have a mind big enough to ask the big questions, but a mind too small to receive the big answers."

Created by the team at PLGRM, you can see more documentaries from them over here.

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