Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘European

Legal Medicinal Cannabis In Britain

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In The Pink

Last week Jim Starr flew into Bristol Airport from Amsterdam carrying 80 grammes of herbal cannabis as prescribed for him by a Dutch doctor.  That’s just under three ounces of dried flower heads.  He was carrying it in a parcel about the size of a telephone directory.

There was no one at customs, even though Jim went through the red channel and had telephoned ahead to advise the airport that he was bringing the cannabis in.  He waited, even looked around for someone, anyone, but there was no one to be seen at all.  He wanted to declare what he had with him.  He’s never wanted to break the law.  He knew that he was risking confiscation of the cannabis, possibly even arrest but the coast wasn’t just clear, it was deserted.  The authorities had evidently decided that in their “war on drugs”, this time, discretion was definitely the better part of valour.  They were in full scale retreat.

Jim had confirmed to the airport that he had the necessary paperwork to prove it was prescribed medicinal cannabis.  His doctor had told him that he was protected under Article 75 of the Schengen Agreement which states “persons may carry the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances that are necessary for their medical treatment provided that, at any check, they produce a certificate issued or authenticated by a competent authority”

Prescription

Of course, even then, it didn’t stop the journey being a nerve wracking and tense experience.  Now, safely at home in Dorchester with his family, Jim understands from the Home Office that he is entitled to bring in the cannabis as prescribed for him by his Dutch doctor.  He can bring in up to three month’s supply at a time if he carries it on his person. Otherwise he has to apply for an import licence and have it shipped to a UK pharmacist.

Jim is 36 and is married to Emma, with whom he has two children.  Originally from Birmingham, he was a very active man in full time employment until in 1999 he was diagnosed with a degenerative disease of the spine.  In 2003 he was involved in a road accident and suffered terrible spinal injuries. His life seemed hopeless. The cocktail of powerful drugs he was prescribed, including morphine, were debilitating in themselves.  He couldn’t face a future in which he was turned into a zombie, unable to enjoy any sort of decent life with his wife and children. He admits frankly that he was suicidal.

One day in 2004, Jim was upstairs in bed in so much pain and despair that he could barely move.  A friend called round to see him and offered him a joint. Half an hour later Jim made it downstairs for the first time in three weeks.  Suddenly he had hope and the possibility of a future with his family.

Life since then has been a constant game of cat and mouse with the police and drug dealers.  Apart from risking arrest and even prison, Jim has also been in danger of being robbed or ripped off by dealers. He’s never wanted to break the law. He told his doctor the relief that cannabis provided and as soon as Sativex became available, even before it was officially licensed, his doctor prescribed it for him. Unfortunately, the very next day she rang to say that because of licensing and regulation problems she wouldn’t be able to prescribe it again.  In fact, Jim did manage to get another prescription for Sativex but again it was withdrawn, this time because his health authority refused to fund it.

Jim has been an active campaigner for the legalisation of cannabis ever since.  He has organised a series of marches, protests and petitions in Dorchester, Weymouth and even Downing Street. Over the last seven years, three MPs, Oliver Letwin, Jim Knight and Richard Drax, have written various letters in support of him.  He is a distinctive figure in his wheelchair with his dyed beard which has earned him the nickname “Pinky”.  Perhaps he has been a little too high profile for the Dorset police who he accuses of persecuting him.  Unable to obtain Sativex or afford the prices and risks of dealers, Jim enlisted the help of a friend to grow his own medicine. Inevitably, in May 2009 the police arrived and Jim was arrested.

Campaigning

In August this year at Dorchester Crown Court Jim was given a two year conditional discharge for growing cannabis. He is now pursuing a complaint against the police alleging brutal treatment during his arrest.  Other complications, allegedly at the police’s behest, have led to the DVLA revoking his driving licence although he has never been arrested, charged, convicted or even stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Jim has become an avid recorder of everything.  He uses mobile phones, video cameras and audio recorders to retain evidence of every contact with the authorities.  He has a video recording of an officer saying to his wife “Look luvvy, whatever he grows up there from now on is up to him.  We promise it don’t bother us”.  Foolishly, he took the officer at his word.  Three weeks after receiving his conditional discharge the police arrived again.

There was no provision for transporting him to the police station in his wheelchair.  The officers were warned not to lift him by his arms because of his spinal condition.  They wrenched him out of his chair by gripping his shoulders and underpants causing anal bleeding due to an existing condition. He was refused a doctor at the station. There was no provision for disabled people, even for his special toilet needs.  He was refused access to any of his prescribed medication or even his specialist anti pressure sore mattresses.

The following day he attended hospital and was diagnosed with torn shoulder muscles.  In fact, his spinal column is so delicate that any movement could potentially paralyse him. This is the basis of all his high profile campaigning and must be well known to the police.  Jim now faces another charge of cultivating cannabis and a possible prison sentence.

With Mr Nice

The trip to Holland was a last resort, only made possible by the generosity of a friend.  The Dutch doctor was horrified at the range of highly toxic prescription medicines given to Jim and prescribed two grammes per day of medicinal herbal cannabis.  He told Jim that he shouldn’t be using Sativex as the alcohol in its solution was like pouring petrol on a fire, given his medical conditions.

So at last, Jim seems to have the medicine he needs.  He will have to continue to rely on the generosity of friends to pay for it.  He is applying for a Home Office licence for the cannabis to be imported to a local pharmacist who can then dispense it to him.  He will continue to campaign for the right to grow his own for free.  The costs of cultivation at home are minimal compared to the rigmarole of importing from Holland or the massive “Big Pharma” cost of Sativex.

Jim is not the first person to get the medicine they need in this way but he is the first to go public about it.  Many tens of thousands may now wish to follow his example.  Most European countries and 15 US states already regulate the provision of medicinal cannabis. Surely it is time for the government to consider reform of what looks increasingly like an absurd and cruel law.

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Iran Sanctions. Too Little, Too Late.

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Islamist Lunatic

As usual it ended up taking too long and it was watered down so far as to be ineffective.  UN Imposes Sanctions On Iran

Any reasonable person, be they Iranian, Israeli, European, American, any member of the human race with any sort of rational approach to the world knows that it’s not a good idea for Iran to have nuclear weapons.

I see no justification for Israel’s conduct in Gaza but if lunatic Islamists like Ahmadinejad go nuclear, Israel would have no option but to launch a pre-emptive strike.  Israel would have every justification in responding with extreme force to a threat that it will be “wiped off the face of the earth”.  The whole world would have to stand behind Israel.

If that pre-emptive strike has to come then it must come sooner rather than later so that it can be non-nuclear.  Iran must be stopped before it has a nuclear capability.

In the interests of peace a joint NATO/Israel strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities must be considered.  I expect that plans already exist.  Let us pray that Iran steps back.

Abandon Afghanistan Now!

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Our so called leaders don’t listen to us.  They’ve abandoned any pretence of democracy by imposing a new European regime and president on us.  They don’t even listen to their expert advisors.  Instead they prolong an idiotic and discredited drugs strategy that brings violent crime to the streets of every town in the country and funds international terrorism.

Perhaps they will hear the crunch of Gulbeddin’s bullets as they smash into British flesh and bone?

Please listen!  Too many heroes have died or been cruelly maimed.  This foreign land is not worth it and the idea that this strategy is protecting us at home is nonsense.

Now is the time to abandon Afghanistan.  Leave behind the disgusting and corrupt Karzai for, sure enough, whatever we do, he is doomed to suffer a grisly and horrific fate.  Leave behind the Taliban for they are medieval evil but with no interest outside their own borders.  Leave behind the Afghan people because much as we may deplore their treatment of women and of each other that is their problem, not ours.  Bring our boys home!

As for Al Qaeda and the threat of a renegade nuclear Pakistan, let us install a small but powerful contingent of our most heavily armed troops, garrisoned in impregnable fortresses.  In conjunction with our allies they should be equipped with the very best that we have.  Mostly they can observe and use pilotless drones to interdict where necessary.  All movements should be done by helicopter because we have no real interest in “hearts and minds”.  When necessary, overwhelming, unrelenting and merciless force must be used against our enemies and yes, let our men have battlefield nuclear weapons too.  We need to blast these evil Islamists off the face of the earth.  There is no more time for patience or consideration or concern.

I Am Not A European

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The Lisbon Treaty has been ratified.

I am Welsh.  I am British.  I am a citizen of the United Kingdom and loyal to The Queen. I have neither been asked nor consulted so I will not be subject to any “European” government.  I will defend my nationality with my life.

Written by Peter Reynolds

November 3, 2009 at 11:16 pm