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UK: The chocolate that left eaters on a high

The Journal

Wednesday 06 Dec 2006

A north couple ran a cottage industry producing bars of chocolate
containing cannabis for multiple sclerosis sufferers, a court heard

Mark and Lezley Gibson, herself an MS sufferer, are accused of
distributing about 22,000 bars from their home over a six-year period
before their arrest last January.

They were helped by Marcus Davies, of St Ive's, Cambridgeshire, an old
school friend of Mr Gibson, who operated a Post Office Box address for
the couple, a jury at Carlisle Crown Court heard.

The Gibsons, both 42, and Davies, 36, all deny two counts of conspiring
to supply cannabis in 2004 and 2005.

Prosecutor Jeremy Grout-Smith told the jury that police took action
after receiving a complaint that 33 packets of Canna-biz chocolate had
been discovered at the Royal Mail sorting office in Carlisle on January
25 last year.

A few days later officers entered the home of the Gibsons and discovered
items including cannabis, chocolate bars, labels, mailing details and a
coffee grinder, the court heard.

Mr Grout-Smith said the Gibsons, of Front Street, in the remote market
town of Alston in Cumbria, were in effect running a cottage industry
making chocolate bars impregnated with cannabis.

He said they were not conventional drug dealers - but believed their
actions would be helping people alleviate the pain of a debilitating
illness - however that was no defence to these charges.

He said Mark Gibson, during his police interview, had admitted sending
about 22,000 bars to addresses around the world. They had always sought
proof that the recipients were MS sufferers.

Supplying cannabis, even for medicinal purposes, without proper
authority is a criminal offence which carries a maximum penalty of 14
years' jail, plus a fine.

The trial continues.

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