MS sufferer to be prosecuted over cannabis
Source: News and Star, Carlisle, UK
Published date: 24 November 1999
Author: Phil Coleman
MS SUFFERER TO BE PROSECUTED OVER CANNABIS
A CUMBRIAN multiple sclerosis has been told she will be prosecuted over an allegation that she possessed cannabis.
Lezley Gibson, 35, is a secretary for former mayor Colin Paisley, who is standing in the Kensington and Chelsea by-election as a candidate for the Legalise Cannabis Alliance. The prosecution decision comes two months after police raided Mrs Gibson's home in Alston and allegedly seized a quantity of cannabis.
Mr Paisley said the prosecution was a waste of public money.
Though declining to comment on Mrs Gibson's case specifically, he hit out at the policy of prosecuting people who clearly use cannabis for medicinal reasons, saying: "MS sufferers surely have enough to cope with without being victimised for using a herb to relieve their symptoms.
"Researchers have now isolated the chemical that can alleviate symptoms for people with conditions such as MS and glaucoma, so there's no doubt over why they use cannabis.
"People are still being arrested for using it to relieve their symptoms but the public is beginning to recognise the folly of it, as was shown by the recent case of Paul Davis, who was acquitted because he could prove his condition."
Mr Paisley called on the Home Office to issue urgent guidelines to Crown Prosecution Service lawyers, instructing them not to prosecute those who are using cannabis as a medicine.
He warned that Mrs Gibson's court appearance in Penrith next month is likely to spark public protest from people who support her cause.
Mr Paisley added: "Before the Stephen Boyd Trust closed down, I was getting calls from lots of people in this situation. In some cases from people in a worse situation.
"To treat sick people in this way is abhorrent and it's also a pointless waste of public money."
Since police raided her home, Mrs Gibson, who has in the past criticised the way some MS sufferers are treated like "criminals" for using cannabis to relieve symptoms, has been forced to use prescribed valium.
A mother and qualified hairdresser, she has claimed that cannabis has in the past dramatically halted the progress of her illness.
The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that they would be taking the matter to court.