Medicinal cannabis campaigner in Kyabram

Coming to Kyabram: Award-winning journalist Helen Kapolas will accompany the founder of medicinal cannabis company Cannatrek, Tommy Huppert, to Kyabram for a community address through the Kyabram Garden Club.
Cannabis farm: Cannatrek is developing a multi-million dollar medicinal cannabis facility at Lemnos, which will be detailed by the company founder and communications manager at Kyabram on June 24.

Medicinal marijuana campaigner, and former television presenter, Helen Kapalos will be in Kyabram later this month as the guest of Kyabram Garden Club.

Mrs Kapalos, now in charge of communications and community outreach with medicinal cannabis company Cannatrek, will be accompanied by the founder and CEO of the company Tommy Huppert.

The pair will be at Kyabram’s Parkland Golf Club as guests of the garden club on Friday, June 24, at 1.30pm.

Club secretary Marg Bowers secured the Cannatrak guest speakers as a result of her weekly scan of the Kyabram Free Press and Country News.

“I don’t have a computer and don’t use google. I rely on the newspaper and it was through Country News journalist Geoff Adams that we were able to get in touch with Cannatrek,” Ms Bowers said.

“I spoke with Geoff and not long after the phone rang. It was Helen and we were able to organise a date for them to attend.

“We have had some great speakers as a result of articles in the Country News.”

The garden club has secured somewhat of a coup by being able to secure the CEO and communications manager and have extended an open invitation to the community to attend.

Garden club committee member Cam MacDermid said he expected genuine community interest in the presentation by the medicinal cannabis company representatives.

“It has become a major talking point, particularly with people suffering from severe illness,” Mr MacDermid said.

“The Cannabis Party almost secured a seat in the senate at the last election.

“It is a hot topic at the moment and we are encouraging anyone from the community who is interested to attend.”

Cannatrek, which was founded in 2015, was only two years later awarded the second cannabis research licence in Australia.

The company is developing a multi-million dollar facility at Lemnos, where it plans to not only cultivate cannabis, but ultimately produce medicines on site.

When it does reach full production the company aims to produce 160 tonnes of medicinal cannabis every year. The company also has a site in Queensland.

Since the cultivation of medicinal cannabis became legal in 2016 there have been 78 licences issued in Australia.

Mrs Kapolas is a former National Nine News and Today Tonight presenter, who is also a former Number One Ticket Holder with Hawthorn Football Club.

The presenter became passionate about the controversy surrounding cannabis oil after interviewing inoperable bowel cancer sufferer Dan Haslam, 25, from Tamworth as a two-part segment on Channel Seven’s Sunday Night in 2014.

She quit her job a month after Mr Haslam died in February 2015 and took out an $80,000 loan to document the “truth about medicinal marijuana”.

Mrs Kapolas told the bank the loan was for a kitchen renovation, but it was in fact to fund her documentary A Life Of Its Own — The truth about medical marijuana.

The documentary premiered in 2016 and looked at the largest human trials of medical marijuana in the world.

It provides profoundly moving personal accounts of families who have been forced to take this unexpected journey.

In 2015 she was appointed by the Victorian State Government to lead the Victorian Multicultural Commission, completing a four-year term as chairperson.

More recently she was awarded the prestigious Vice Chancellor’s Fellow for Multicultural Engagement at Swinburne University — a role created to provide expertise on contemporary multicultural issues and challenges.