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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 July, 2003, 20:32 GMT 21:32 UK
Cannabis case woman 'overdoses'
Biz Ivol
Mrs Ivol said the drug was a last resort
The woman at the centre of a controversial cannabis court case is recovering in hospital after a suspected drug overdose.

An ambulance took Elizabeth Ivol, also known as Biz, to hospital from her Orkney home on Wednesday morning.

A spokeswoman for NHS Orkney, speaking at the island's Balfour Hospital, has described Mrs Ivol's condition as stable and said she would be kept in until Thursday.

Neighbour Bobby McCutcheon, who found Ms Ivol, has been keeping a vigil at her hospital bedside.

It is the latest twist in the case of the wheelchair-bound Multiple Sclerosis sufferer who was due to be told that a court case accusing her of supplying cannabis to others was to be dropped.

The 55-year-old had claimed she would take her life once the trial was over and said she had already made arrangements for the funeral.

On Wednesday she expressed disappointment that the Crown had told Kirkwall Sheriff Court in Orkney that it did not intend to proceed with the case on the grounds of Ms Ivol's health.

With a bit of luck I will get stoned before I do it (take overdose) and then I will go to sleep. Then it will be over and done with and someone else can take over from me - I'm tired
Elizabeth Ivol

She had wanted to use the case to publicise her campaign for the legalisation of medical cannabis, which she said is the only drug which eases her pain.

Mrs Ivol told BBC Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme on Wednesday that her final protest would be to overdose on pain killers.

She said: "With a bit of luck I will get stoned before I do it and then I will go to sleep. Then it will be over and done with and someone else can take over from me - I'm tired."

Mrs Ivol had denied three charges in relation to the handling of cannabis when she appeared at Kirkwall Sheriff Court.

She said her life would not be worth living without the drug.

Cannabis chocolates

Mrs Ivol told the court she came up with the idea for what she called her "special Belgian chocolates" after agreeing to help a non-smoking MS sufferer.

She developed a formula for the drug-laced confectionery as well as cannabis patches which can be directly applied to the skin.

Mrs Ivol added that she had tried a long list of legal medication supplied by her doctor but claimed some of the drugs had "horrific" side effects.

The court heard her day-to-day life had become almost unbearable since she was diagnosed with the incurable condition in the early 1990s.

Mrs Ivol said: "At the moment I feel like somebody's pulling barbed wire through my spine.

"I have muscle spasms and my eyesight's failing but it has not gone yet. It is very, very painful.

"I'm completely and utterly paralysed from the neck down, more or less."

She said she resisted using cannabis for two years because of the stigma attached to the drug, but eventually gave in and began smoking one cannabis joint each evening.

BBC Scotland's John Johnston
"She now still plans to take her own life"

Woman defends cannabis use
19 Jun 03  |  Scotland
MS sufferer faces cannabis trial
18 Jun 03  |  Scotland
'Pain drove me to pot'
03 Jan 02  |  UK News
'Let us grow the plants'
25 Oct 01  |  UK News
MS cannabis campaigner raided
17 Aug 01  |  UK News

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