By Deej Sullivan
Michelle X of the NORML UK Women’s Alliance and her partner Albert Bloom were last night raided and arrested by Thames Valley Police for the production and possession of cannabis.
Their arrest came shortly before the airing of the Channel 5 show ’37 Years on the Dole’, which featured Michelle’s story of her own use of cannabis to treat Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Michelle’s story is one that has played out thousands of times across the world – a seriously ill member of society who has found relief in the form of an illegal plant, and who is being punished by the state for improving her quality of life in a way which they do not approve of.
The benefits of consuming cannabis as a treatment for MS are well known and have long been scientifically proven, and in many cases such as Michelle’s these are benefits that she cannot get from legal, pharmaceutical drugs.
Because of this, there is, as more and more people are becoming aware, one way of legally acquiring cannabis medicine on the NHS. Indeed this medicine, known as Sativex and produced right here in the UK by GW Pharmaceuticals, is specifically licensed as a treatment for spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis.
The ultimate irony of this case is that is Sativex, a tincture of high-grade cannabis, can be legally prescribed to be used to treat the debilitating, progressive, and ultimately life-threatening condition with which she suffers.
Yet despite the drug’s clear usefulness, Michelle was refused access to Sativex by her Primary Care Trust on the grounds that the drug she needed was and is prohibitively expensive.
In a nutshell then, there is a cannabis based medicine out there that can be used to alleviate the symptoms of MS, the trials have proven to be was successful, Michelle’s quality of life could be massively improved, and yet she was denied access to the medicine she needs. All of which led to her current situation – being raided, arrested, and criminalised for producing the same medicine herself at a fraction of the cost.
Whilst far from unique this case does highlight the absurdity of UK cannabis laws perfectly, and the fact that it has been played out so publicly will only add to the outrage already felt by millions of people who feel that our laws are outdated, unjust, and hugely damaging. Michelle and everyone else involved in the fight to change our drug laws are determined to use this opportunity to highlight the plight, not only of Michelle herself, but of the thousands if not millions of normal people whose lives have been ruined not by cannabis, but by the laws prohibiting its use.
What happened yesterday evening is an MS sufferer was arrested for growing and consuming a plant which has been scientifically proven to relieve her suffering.
This act, carried out by the police, is an act of aggression in an ongoing war. They call it a war on drugs, but it is a war on people. Often those people are sick, and will suffer immeasurably and for no good reason. Arresting them, branding them as criminals, taking away their rights and often their medicine does nothing to benefit society.
It is appalling that Michelle X should have to suffer this indignity, and it is right that so many of us are outraged. But let us remember this – Michelle is one person out of millions who have been, and continue to be, persecuted, belittled, and oppressed by an unjust law.
We must do all we can to help her, but then we must continue to fight for every single victim of prohibition until it is repealed not only for cannabis, but across the board. Don’t just fight for Michelle because you know her, fight for her because it is right. And then keep on fighting for the nameless and faceless pawns in this war too.