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UK: Three guilty of supplying chocolate cannabis bars

Cambridge Evening News

Friday 15 Dec 2006

A Cambridgeshire man has been found guilty of supplying thousands of
cannabis-laced chocolate bars to multiple sclerosis sufferers for pain

Marcus Davies, 36, from St Ives, was convicted alongside Mark Gibson,
42, and his wife Lezley, 42, both from Alston, Cumbria, on two counts of
conspiring to supply cannabis throughout 2004 and until February 2005.

Mr Gibson and his wife, who has MS, admitted running a cottage industry
making and posting out more than 20,000 Canna-Biz bars containing around
3.5g of the drug to victims of the disease around the world, Carlisle
Crown Court heard.

But in their testimonies they both insisted this was a free service
funded by voluntary donations, which was only available to MS sufferers
who provided a medical note confirming their condition.

Davies admitted running a website and post office box for the
not-for-profit organisation Therapeutic Help from Cannabis for Multiple
Sclerosis, but had denied any involvement in making or
posting the chocolate.

Cash receipts totalling £30,000 were seized by police but the court
heard Lezley Gibson told officers these referred to donations, which
were ploughed "straight back in" to funding the Canna-Biz operation.

The couple told the jury that cannabis eases the symptoms of MS, a claim
they said was backed up by medical research, and all three defendants
said they believed they had a defence of medical necessity in supplying
the cannabis-laced bars, but this was rejected by the jury.

The Gibsons made no secret of their activities, with features on their
chocolate operation appearing in both the national and regional media.

Cumbria Police had been aware of what the couple were up to for a number
of years prior to their arrest, the court was told.

The case was adjourned to allow pre-sentence reports to be compiled and
all three defendants were ordered to return to court on January 26.




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