NEW CANDIDATE: Health, hemp at front of campaign for Bundy
THE Legalise Cannabis Qld Party's Ian Zunker has joined the race for the seat of Bundaberg in the upcoming state election.
For Mr Zunker, who uses cannabis to help treat his multiple sclerosis and chronic pain, running for the Bundaberg seat was about health advocacy.
Mr Zunker said his life had turned around because of medicinal cannabis and he wanted to create a chance for change by announcing his candidacy.
"You see the kids on the news having seizures and whatever, and they have the mil of the oil and they're right," he said.
"They don't have the articulation to tell the doctors this is what's happened in my head, this is what's going on; I've just sat down with my neurologist and told him exactly what's on and he's absolutely amazed with it.
"He said 'you've made my day'."
Mr Zunker said using medicinal cannabis in conjunction with western medicine could help improve health and quality of life.
He said while this was a health issue for him, if cannabis was regulated properly there could be economic benefits with the recreational use of cannabis, with the likes of cafes and dispensaries.
When asked why he wanted to run for the seat of Bundaberg, as opposed to being an advocate for cannabis for medicinal purposes, he said this was a form of advocacy.
"I can't sit back and shut up about this," Mr Zunker said.
"Queensland Health have been keeping us sick as far as I'm concerned.
"Without letting this be easily accessible, it's like they've thrown a life ring and haven't held their end of the rope.
"All this cannabis for medicinal purposes sitting there, yet they've got it at a price that no one can afford. I'm lucky my parents have stumped up to do this."
He said due to MS he's unemployed and on welfare.
If he was to represent Bundaberg, Mr Zunker said he would like to "kick on" the hemp industry.
"We're looking for diversification in town here, the sugar industry is on its knees …," he said.
"Quick turn around crops like hemp that can be used for medicine, be used for fibre, can be used for hempcrete …"
He said if cannabis were to be legalised, the taxes on it, similar to those imposed on alcohol and cigarette, could also be of financial benefit to the government.
Mr Zunker said they were about offering change.
"The major parties keep having their typical bickering between themselves in parliament and nothing ever really changes; our health doesn't really get better, our roads doesn't get better, our schools don't get better - what change are they offering? None," he said.
Supporting water security, LNPs Bradfield scheme and "fixing the state and the country up", Mr Zunker said cannabis would be a great way to do that.
"If we can let (cannabis) come back into our lives and be a part of our health, and be a part of society and businesses and industries, there's a whole world of endless possibilities that could happen," he said.