'Not about getting high, it's about getting well': medical cannabis documentary needs support to screen at Nambucca

Driven by members of the Medical Cannabis Users' Association of Australia Inc, the medical cannabis documentary High as Mike is hoped to screen at Majestic Cinemas Nambucca Heads on July 24 at 6.30pm.

But that's if they can generate enough interest by 10am tomorrrow (Friday, July 12). Expressions of interest are being sought through the website FanForce, an online platform for moviegoers to get the films they want to see in cinemas.

The documentary is about a man named Mike Gallagher, who after being diagnosed with multiple brain tumours, explores his medical options and wonders if he should try medicinal cannabis. In making the documentary, Mike rides his bike around Australia to talk to people about cannabis.

Along the way he chats with patients who have already embarked on the same life changing journey, as well as politicians, a former Australian Federal Police commissioner, a lawyer, a neurosurgeon, doctors and suppliers of medicinal cannabis, including one who is facing an 18-year jail term.

Medical Cannabis Users' Association of Australia (MCUA) founding member and Nambucca local, Gail Hester, says she hopes the documentary will raise the profile on the struggle around access to and affordability of the treatment for patients in Australia.

"There has been a lot of buzz about medicinal cannabis in recent times and a lot of confusion regarding its legality here in Australia. Medical opinion remains divided on its safety and usefulness; while many of those who use it, swear by it for the relief of suffering - especially when all else has failed," Gail says.

Watch the trailer

Gail lost her 21-year-old daughter to bowel cancer in 2008. This week marks the 11th anniversary of her passing. At the time of her daughter's battle with cancer, Gail didn't know about cannabis as an alternative cancer treatment and since doing her own research, said it could have saved her daughter if they had ever been given the option or information to explore the benefits.

Since forming the MCUA group to help raise awareness about the benefits of cannabis and hemp as food and medicine, Gail says many of its own members have put themselves into remission using medicinal cannabis.

And while it is now legal for doctors in NSW to prescribe cannabis, for many patients suffering many different diseases, Gail says the cost and bureaucracy associated continues to make the treatment unattainable and causes more people to use 'black market' products.

"Every day the number of patients actively seeking medicinal cannabis increases exponentially. An estimated 100,000 patients are using black market cannabis products today, while only 6000 prescriptions have been issued for legal products in three years," she said.

"The Government is making access difficult and expensive. They've got to give people the freedom to make their own choice around their own healthcare.

"It [cannabis] is a herb, it's a food - the stigma needs to be dropped."

"This is not about getting high, it's about getting well."

The High As Mike documentary uses patient testimonies with a broad range of medical conditions and expert opinions from all sides of the medicinal cannabis debate and explores the "truth about access and affordability; and the hypocrisy of a government that wants to lead the way to an export industry".

How to get tickets...

If the film gets the go ahead it will be followed by a Q and A session from those involved in the making of the documentary.

Tickets are $27 and can be booked online at www.fan-force.com. As a Fan Force event, a certain number of tickets need to be sold by Friday for the screening to go ahead.

Light refreshments will also be available. Book early for catering purposes.

For more info or help with bookings phone Megan on 0421 026-112.

The Medical Cannabis Users' Association of Australia Inc (MCUA) is a patient-centered organisation working together to raise awareness about the benefits of cannabis and share the latest medical research and developments to lobby the Government for changes to the law that will make access and affordability a reality for all patients.

You can find the MCUA of Australia on facebook and at www.mcuainc.org.au