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UK: Cops too hot on pot, claim trio

Phil Doherty

Sunday Sun

Sunday 28 Jan 2007

A man convicted of supplying cannabis to Multiple Sclerosis sufferers is
accusing the police of double standards.

He has attacked police guidelines that allow youngsters caught with the
drug to get off with a warning.

Mark Gibson, 42, and his wife, Lezley, also 42, from Alston, Cumbria,
along with Marcus Davies, of St Ives, Cambridgeshire, received nine-
month suspended prison sentences on Friday.

Carlisle Crown Court heard they supplied cannabis chocolate to MS sufferers.

Cumbria Police said they were following new Association of Chief Police
Officers - Acpo - guidelines, which say those under 18 found with the
drug will have it confiscated before being reprimanded then taken home.

However, Mark, whose wife has MS, said: "We have Acpo saying it's unfair
to prosecute under 18-year-olds for possession and that they should be
sent home with a slap on the wrists. Then Cumbria Police arrest, charge
and prosecute us for providing a drug to MS sufferers while following
Acpo's guidance on youngsters. It's sheer hypocrisy.

"What about the human rights of all those MS sufferers who need cannabis
to alleviate their symptoms?

"It's a ridiculous situation. Now all those MS victims we have being
helping will have to go to the illegal market to purchase their
medicine, thus funding organised crime."

The three are planning to appeal.

A Cumbria Police spokesman said: "We follow the Acpo Drugs Case Disposal

"These must be applied to the person concerned and they must qualify for
a caution in their own right under the guidelines."

The new Acpo guidance said officers should find "less intrusive" ways of
dealing with youngsters caught with the drug and that they should be
given warnings.




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