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Thursday, 25 October, 2001, 12:04 GMT 13:04 UK
'Let us grow the plants'
Biz Ivol
Orkney Islander Biz Ivol - an MS sufferer who was raided earlier this year for having cannabis - reflects on Home Secretary David Blunkett's plan to ease the laws on possession.

This isn't going to make any difference - it's just a delaying tactic. The people with multiple sclerosis (MS) who use cannabis are still going to be criminals, because we have to get a fair amount in.

What's set to change?
Possession not an arrestable offence
Reclassified from Class B to C drug
May be legalised for medicinal use
It's pushed us into a very grey area. Cannabis has not been decriminalised, and I suppose I'm going to be allowed to have enough for personal use, but I could still be prosecuted.

Although Mr Blunkett said cannabis may be legalised for medicinal use, I'm not holding my breath because they're still doing clinical trials. They've only been doing them for 30 years now.

Cannabis
Cannabis relieves nausea and the shakes of MS
Even if the latest trials are a success, it's going to be another two years before it gets licensed.

So what are we supposed to do in the meantime? They should just let us grow the plants and chew the leaves - that works.

What also annoys me is it being moved to Class C, mixed in with antidepressants and steroids. Those drugs have killed a number of people. Cannabis is not a drug, it's a medicinal herb.

Cottage industry

I had to stop producing cannabis chocolates for people in my MS collective last August because I got raided. The police got a bit snotty about it and questioned the post mistress who was taking my mail to the post office.

From left,  Claire Hodges, Bill Reeve and Biz Ivol - all are dope-smoking MS sufferers
Police have raided Biz, right, and Bill Reeve, centre
They took away my computer and my address book, and have been visiting people who I may have sent cannabis chocolates to. Everyone they've raided has either been in bed or in a wheelchair, but being raided has put the fighting spirit into them.

The police also took away my plants, but I planted more seeds the next day. I'd given a whopping great plant to [fellow MS sufferer] Bill Reeve on the next island, but the police took it when they raided him. Neither of us has been charged yet.


They can't put me in prison because it would have to be a special hospital, they can't fine me because I haven't got any money

It's all got a bit too much for me - you're supposed to avoid stress with MS. I'm completely and utterly knackered and I'm stuck in a wheelchair. My legs don't work at all, whereas before I was walking with a Zimmer frame.

But I'm determined to get better. When all this blows over and the police tell me what they're going to do with me, I'll probably relax a bit.

I keep telling myself that they can't do anything. They can't put me in prison because it would have to be a special hospital, they can't fine me because I haven't got any money.

They could give me a suspended sentence, but that wouldn't stop me making chocolates and sending them out.


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See also:

23 Oct 01 | UK Politics
23 Oct 01 | UK Politics
24 Oct 01 | Business
30 Nov 98 | Medical notes
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