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Medicinal Cannabis (Pain & Sleep)

I am female, 58 years old and quadraplegic as a result of a car accident at 25 years old. I am also a non practising SRN. I use cannabis resin before I go to bed to help deal with severe chronic pain and to give me some sleep. I have tried all the legally prescribed drugs and none work. I am very worried about being caught.

If the police, who seem quite keen here, find me, can you recommend a local solicitor who would support me if any court case ensued. I am really sick to death of being classed as a criminal.

I found you website in the Sunday Observer and it was such a relief.


Re your query, for solicitors near you please check out the solicitor finder pages on our website. Solicitors are also listed in Yellow Pages. Talk to a few solicitors (most will offer a free initial consultation) before selecting the firm which you consider most appropriate to your needs.

You also need the support of your own doctor, and should discuss your use of medication before, rather than after, being arrested (if it happens).

We have been involved in a number of recent cases where people using cannabis for demonstrable medicinal purposes have been acquitted by juries. The most notable of these was Mr Colin Davies, who was represented by Mr Orme of Counsel and Mortons solicitors of Manchester, and received nationwide publicity at the time, after twice being acquitted of cannabis possession and cultivation charges by Manchester juries.

Using and/or growing cannabis is still illegal, if the amount is more than would be considered 'personal' (e.g growing plants) then you could even face intent to supply charges. However if you are arrested the police can decide whether or not to charge you, and unless you accept a caution (which creates a criminal record) the CPS would then decide whether or not to prosecute you.

In particular, the CPS need to satisfy themselves (a) that the case has at least 51% chance of conviction and (b) that a prosecution would be in the public interest.

In UK law, jury acquittals do not set legal precedents, so the defence of 'duress of circumstances' has not been tested in the higher courts. However, such a precedent could be set if a judicial review were to be sought of the CPS decision to prosecute in a test case.

Such a decision would not involve a specific change in the law from Parliament, although the issue does appear to be gaining growing support from politicians

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