United in Compassion (UIC) co-founder Lucy Haslam has won Medicinal Cannabis Industry Australia’s inaugural Olivia Newton-John Service to Industry Award.

Announcing Haslam’s win from his home in California, Newton-John’s husband John Easterling described the “unnecessary suffering” she and her son Dan suffered when he was dying from bowel cancer, unable to access then-illegal medicinal cannabis to ease his suffering due to “ignorance and arrogance”.

Olivia Newton-John with Lucy Haslam

Easterling added: “It’s a tragedy that would permanently crush most mothers. But Lucy is not most mothers. Somehow she centered herself in a core conviction and a mission to right this ongoing injustice. Somehow she found the courage and strength to fight for humane access to medicinal cannabis and to help the unnecessary suffering of millions of sons and daughters and mothers and fathers in Australia.”

“As a nurse and a professional practitioner in the healing arts, she knew that education was the key, that exposing nurses and doctors and the public to the science, the research and the experiences of cannabis and cannabinoids, that’s what would transform ignorance and arrogance into embracing the many benefits of this healing plant. 

“She enthusiastically brought together the best minds, scientists, researchers, doctors in the field in Australia, and the top researchers from around the world, to educate any and all to the reality of the healing potential of cannabis and cannabinoids.

“She’s been a pioneer and a tireless ally to this industry, helping transform that ignorance and arrogance into a belief and an embrace. Olivia and I have always admired and respected Lucy… all Australians owe a debt of gratitude to [her] for her selfless commitment and devotion to this cause.”

Accepting the award, an emotional Haslam said: “I was one of the few fortunate people to get to know Olivia. And the day she first came out about being a medicinal cannabis patient, I heard it on the news and I nearly drove off the road. I felt so excited that finally we had somebody who was prepared to stick their head up. She brought star power, but she also brought a credibility that nobody else could bring.

“I was just a mother, but she was a global star and she talked about it so openly, she fought to break down the stigma and the barriers. So to have my name as the recipient of Olivia’s award is just amazing. 

“She felt so strongly about the value of cannabis that only two months before she died, she presented to our nurses at UIC and none of us had any realisation of just how ill she was, but she was so determined to see that through, and I will never forget that.”

Lucy Haslam was presented with the inaugural Olivia Newton-John Service to Industry Award by former MCIA chair Peter Crock. (Photo: MCIA)

Talking about the current state of the industry she did so much to create, Haslam added: “At the moment, I’m not sure whether I’m glass half empty or glass half full… drug driving, workplace drug regulations, there’s [still] so much that needs to change.”

Former MCIA chair Peter Crock said: “Last year, in my role as chair of MCIA, I worked with John [Easterling] to review a number of high-quality nominations for this award. The criteria we used included identifying someone who has provided exceptional service and shown significant commitment to the Australian medicinal cannabis industry, achieved a positive impact… and contributed a legacy for the industry’s greater good. 

“It is with real pleasure that we announce the extremely worthy inaugural recipient of the Olivia Newton-John Service to Industry Award – Lucy Haslam.”

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...

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1 Comment

  1. Excellent news and a wonderful result. Congratulations to Lucy Haslam, you have instigated great and positive change in the Australian community. It’s this type of grass-roots movement, that works with open heartedness and truth, that leads society into a more positive and compassionate future.