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UK: Cannabis grower just easing his own pain

Cambridge Evening News

Wednesday 13 Dec 2006

A MAN who helped to run a cannabis-laced chocolate bar business admitted
he grew large amounts of the drug in two sheds in St Ives.

But Marcus Davies, 38, said all of it was used to relieve the pain of
his diabetes complications and not to supply the mail-order company
with illegal ingredients.

He and Mark and Lezley Gibson have all pleaded not guilty to two charges
of conspiring to supply cannabis in 2004 and 2005.

The Gibsons, who are both 42, have admitted distributing about 22,000
Canna-biz bars from their home in Front Street, Alston, Cumbria, over a
six-year period before their arrest last January.

They say they supplied the chocolate as pain relievers only to people
who could prove they were suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Davies, who lives in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, told Carlisle Crown Court
he grew the cannabis to relieve leg spasms, kidney disease and eye
problems that he suffers as complications of his diabetes. It was
nothing to do with the Gibsons' operation. "What I did, I did for
myself," he said.

But he admitted he offered to set up a website promoting the benefits of
cannabis for MS sufferers after meeting Mark Gibson in Norwich in 2001.

He claimed he did not believe he was doing anything illegal because he
knew other people had been cleared of cannabis charges after using the
"medical necessity" defence.

He said he had asked the Gibsons for some of the cannabis bars to help
his symptoms.

"They said I couldn't have any because I hadn't got MS," said Davies.

Davies said he had played no part in making the Gibsons' chocolate and
had never been to Alston but he had agreed to do some of the couple's
administration work when they set up a PO box in Huntingdon after their
local police told them to "take it out of Cumbria".

He collected incoming orders and donations from the sorting office, paid
money into the bank, and forwarded mail to the Gibsons in Alston - for
which he was allowed to take out enough money to cover his expenses.

But Davies, who with his wife and two children lives on £387 a week
benefits, said he had never made money from his involvement.

"I would say I actually lost out, but that is not a problem," he said.
"Money was irrelevant."

The trial continues.




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