Goomeri's legal dope campaign goes to court
CRIPPLED former nurse Margaret Therese O'Rance struggled with chronic pain and immobility as she hobbled into Gympie Magistrates Court this week
There, she announced her defiance of Queensland drug laws, which she said would turn her into a morphine addict rather than let her take "harmless” marijuana.
"I'm practising civil disobedience,” the 66-year-old retiree and invalid pensioner told the court on Tuesday.
She pleaded not guilty to unlawful marijuana production and possession charges from July 4, when Tactical Response Group police, Gympie detectives and Goomeri officers raided her home.
Her plea was based on the defence of compulsion as outlined in Section 31 of the Queensland Criminal Code.
She unsuccessfully argued that she was compelled by constant pain and depression to take a drug which she said was safer than morphine.
She told the court society had no right to force her onto morphine and stop her choosing marijuana.
She said she was compelled to continue using marijuana because her suffering would drive her to suicide without it.
From a city of millions to a Gympie region town of a few hundred, O'Rance said she had left her nursing work at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, only to find herself at the wrong end of Queensland's marijuana laws.
She accused Queensland Health of threatening any of its doctors who wanted to prescribe medical marijuana and said many specialists resisted prescribing it out of prejudice.
It was also more expensive than the black market product and that was why she was attempting to grow it under lights at her Goomeri home.
Magistrate Graham Hillan said the compulsion referred to in legislation meant being compelled by a person.
He convicted her of the production and possession charges and two other charges of possessing implements and equipment, but ordered no further punishment and no recorded conviction.