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UK: Three guilty of supplying cannabis bars

Charlie Hamilton

The Journal

Saturday 16 Dec 2006

Three people were found guilty yesterday of supplying thousands of
cannabis-laced chocolate bars to multiple sclerosis sufferers for pain

Mark Gibson, 42, and his wife Lezley, 42, who has multiple sclerosis, of
Front Street, Alston, Cumbria, and Marcus Davies, 36, from St Ives,
Cambridgeshire, were convicted of two counts each of conspiring to
supply cannabis throughout 2004 and until February 2005.

The Cumbrian couple 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 cannabis eases the symptoms of MS, a claim they
said was backed up by medical research.

Lezley Gibson insisted conventional medicine had not helped her illness
and if it were not for her cannabis use, she would be in a wheelchair by

All three defendants told the court 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 doing for a number
of years prior to their arrest, the court was told. The case was
adjourned until January 26 to allow pre-sentence reports to be compiled.

An MS Society spokesman said: "This case gives even more weight to the
calls we have been making for properly-trialled cannabis-derived
medicine to be provided on the NHS for the relief of painful and
distressing MS symptoms."




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