Source: Lincolnshire Echo, UK

Date: May 28, 2005

Subj: I'll smoke cannabis despite what courts say

Web: http://www.thisislincolnshire.co.uk/


A Disabled father-of-three has vowed to continue smoking cannabis to ease his pain - despite judges ruling there is no defence for using the illegal drug.

Barry Quayle says using the drug is the only way he can relieve the pain he suffers after having both his legs amputated at the knee after a fall.

Yesterday three judges threw out Mr Quayle's appeal against his conviction for cultivating cannabis. The judges, who considered Mr Quayle's case alongside five other similar claims at London's Appeal Court, ruled that an old common law defence of "necessity" could not be used to defend the use of cannabis.

Mr Quayle (38), of Arlington Road, Newtoft, near Market Rasen, was convicted after police raided his home on November 9, 2002 and found he was growing cannabis plants for his own use. He pleaded guilty and was given a four-month suspended sentence.

Mr Quayle is already facing another prosecution for possession of cannabis, which magistrates had been waiting to hear until the result of his appeal.

But he is determined none of that will stop him using the drug.

"If it means that eventually I'll end up in prison then I will go to prison," Mr Quayle said.

"I do not smoke joints 24/7. I smoke in the evening when I have removed my prosthesis. It helps the pain in my joints, muscles and nerves.

"My only other option is to take medication that knocks me out. I am a single parent with three children. Two of them are disabled. If I have to be

knocked out to sleep then they are at risk.

"I think that it's really sad that the law would take a political stance rather than taking into consideration the needs of people with long-term suffering who can gain relief this way."

There are now plans to take the case to the nation's highest court, the House of Lords.

Legalise Cannabis Alliance spokesman Don Barnard said: "I have to say I am not surprised but I am annoyed that these three learned judges should bring such a ludicrous decision forward.

"We now have a clear ruling on medical necessity not being available as a defence for cannabis possession, cultivation or importation. This is subject to an appeal to the House of Lords.

"In the meantime I believe the Government should be considering exemptions for genuinely sick people who are using cannabis much the same as they do for disabled people who suffer discomfort wearing a seatbelt.

"Regardless of all this juries still have the right to bring in not guilty verdicts. I would be saying to people who are subject to jury duty 'you can change the law if you believe that the person is telling the truth and using it for medicinal purposes'."

In announcing the appeal decision Lord Justice Mance said that to allow a wide-ranging defence of medical necessity to cannabis charges "would involve a positive invitation to the jury to act contrary to the law and take over the role of the legislative authorities".

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