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UK: MS sufferer tells of pleas for cannabis bars

Patrick Barkham

The Guardian

Tuesday 12 Dec 2006

A woman with multiple sclerosis who helped distribute home-made
chocolate cannabis bars to fellow sufferers told a court yesterday she
would be in a wheelchair had she not used the drug.

Lezley Gibson, 42, who is accused of conspiring to supply cannabis with
her husband, Mark, described how she was "overwhelmed" with requests for
help after speaking publicly about her use of cannabis to ameliorate her MS.

Carlisle crown court heard she was told she would be confined to a
wheelchair within five years of her diagnosis 21 years ago and yet she
had walked into court yesterday because she used cannabis, including in
bars of chocolate produced in their kitchen by Mr Gibson.

The couple described how they supplied more than 20,000 bars of
chocolate free to more than 1,600 MS sufferers.

Mrs Gibson was found not guilty in 2000 of possessing cannabis on the
grounds of "medical necessity".

Asked by Jeremy Grout-Smith, for the prosecution, why she thought it was
not wrong to supply the drug, she said: "I wasn't guilty in 2000 and I
couldn't see why it would be wrong to help anybody."

Mr and Mrs Gibson said they supplied chocolate only if sufferers had a
doctor's note. Two MS sufferers spoke of how they contacted the couple
and supplied doctors' notes. The Gibsons did not charge but suggested a
small donation.

Mrs Gibson recalled how she was at first treated in hospital and given
steroids, which caused her to grow a beard and her weight to balloon.

A visit from a local detective chief inspector in 2002 left Mr Gibson
believing if he was less "blatant" he could continue. But the couple,
with Marcus Davies, who built a website for them, were charged with
conspiracy to supply the drug.

The trial continues.,,1970101,00.html




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