ANSWERS DEMANDED: published letter

Source: The Orcadian

Pub Date: Thursday, 24 July 2003

Pub LTE: Answers Demanded

Author: Alun Buffry

Cited: Biz Ivol



I would like to take this opportunity to thank the numerous kind citizens of Kirkwall who showed sympathy for Biz Ivol.

I visited Orkney in early July along with five other members of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance, to offer our support to Biz during her trial for producing "cannachoc" - chocolate containing medicinal cannabis for people in dire and urgent need of some relief for the terrible suffering enraged upon them by Multiple Sclerosis.

Every person we met in Kirkwall showed sympathy for her and we did not meet one single person who said they thought that her arrest was justified, and to a person, they were appalled at the length of time it took to bring Ms Ivol to court, which caused her untold stress and undoubtedly led to the worsening of her condition.

She became so ill that the case was dropped for ever, almost two years after her arrest.

The Legalise Cannabis Alliance established a petition on the Internet, demanding that the Scottish Justice system provide an explanation for the delay..

So far, all we have been told was that the case was delayed because the Court did not have wheelchair access, so they were waiting for an available room in the Sports Centre.

Such a feeble excuse! Whilst in Orkney we saw places that would have been suitable, including hotel dining rooms with access for wheelchairs.

Biz did not want the case dropped on medical grounds; she wanted her day in court and in fact had already testified.

She is now back in her cottage, not knowing whether she will ever be raided again by the drugs squad police, or left alone to use her medicinal cannabis.

That is most unsatisfactory for her, for us and for the many thousands of people in her situation, with MS or other dreadful ailments for which cannabis could, or does, ease their suffering.

What sort of society are we living in when the justice system arrests and basically tortures sick people for using a natural plant that eases their pains (Biz described her pain as like having barbed wire dragged up and down her spine)?

The Sheriff said that her case was not a matter of decriminalisation or legalisation which is up to the politicians.

The Scottish drugs enforcement agency said that it is up to Westminster. Charles Clarke and other members of the cabinet say they are unable to comment.

Only five UK MP's, one MEP, one Lord and NO members of the Scottish Parliament have signed the Biz Ivol petition.

I urge everyone who reads this to join us in asking why that prosecution was necessary in the first place and why it was dropped on the grounds that Biz was unfit to be taken to court, when three days later she was taken on around trip to Aberdeen for tests?

Please help us demand an answer.

Are these head-in-the-sand, pass-the-buck politicians the people we really want to be governed by?

Alun Buffry

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