Lezley Gibson wrote:
I'm a long-term Multiple Sclerosis sufferer who successfully uses cannabis manage my condition. Yet, like thousands of other British patients, I've been unable to access medicinal cannabis through the NHS, even though it is legal and doctors agree it helps control my condition.
Now my family and I are being prosecuted for growing cannabis to manage my MS. This case isn't just about me. It's about fighting for better access to medicinal cannabis for all British patients who can benefit. Please join my legal challenge by contributing now and sharing this page with your friends, family and on social media.
Although struggling with poor health, I am determined to fight against this prosecution using a medical necessity defence and drive forward changes that will open up access to medicinal cannabis for British patients.
In January 2019, Cumbria Police raided our house and seized 10 baby plants. I was charged with the possession and production of a class B drug. If found guilty I could face up to 14 years in prison – despite the fact that I have a UK prescription for medical cannabis to treat my MS.
When medicinal cannabis was legalised in Germany, patients there experienced similar barriers to obtaining cannabis-based medicines. Legal battles on home cultivation were key to transforming this situation - the court cases resulted in Germany's Medical Cannabis Law being passed in 2017, allowing all doctors to prescribe cannabis-based medicines and making it affordable through their healthcare system.
This court case has the potential to improve access to medicinal cannabis for British patients – but only if we can raise money enough for the legal costs.
I urgently needs to instruct a criminal defence and human rights legal team to help change the law and policy on medicinal use of cannabis.
I've got one chance to beat my prosecution. During my trial I am going to prove to the court that my use of cannabis was for medicinal reasons and that it was necessary for me to use cannabis in this way.
The law is not very sympathetic to my situation, but I hope to change the way that the law deals with medicinal use of cannabis through this trial. I believe this case has the potential to help lead to widespread patient access to medicinal cannabis in the UK and to the decimalisation of its medicinal use.
Polling shows that the public has no interest in criminalising and prosecuting patients who have been forced to resort to obtaining their medicine through illegal routes, because they are unable to legally fill their prescriptions in the UK.
Should we really be criminalising people for wanting to be well?
My prosecution represents a failure of the British political and healthcare system, rather than criminal behaviour on my part.
It highlights the logical incoherence and lack of compassion within current British law and practice on medicinal cannabis. Doctors, science, and British law recognise that medicinal cannabis can be helpful in managing and alleviating symptoms for Multiple Sclerosis sufferers, epilepsy, and other conditions such as chronic pain and nausea arising from chemotherapy.
I have a legal UK prescription for medicinal cannabis yet, along with thousands more British patients, I can't access my medicine via the NHS, or afford a private prescription costing over £1000 a month.
Ordinary British patients and families deserve fair and affordable access to medicines that allow them to best manage long-term health conditions and improve their quality of life.
How much am I raising and why?
My legal costs will cost a minimum of £30,000. If you care about fair access to lifechanging medicines in the UK, please donate what you can to fund an expert legal team in what could be a landmark court case for improving medicinal cannabis access for British patients.
I am back in court in early December and my trial begins shortly after, so we need to move fast.
Please contribute to help Lezley pay for the legal costs of fighting against criminalisation of the medicinal use of cannabis and for fair, affordable access to life-changing cannabis-based medicines in the UK for all British patients.
Thank you for you support.