Friday, 12 August 2011

How is my current situation as a medical cannabis user affected by English Law and Politics?

I am currently facing prosecution and a likely prison sentence for Cannabis offences, owing to my use of Cannabis as a form of medication for my long standing Bi-Polar disorder. I want to share my story with you, warts and all. This is in the hope that you will find it of some use: a story put down on paper to help me overcome the trauma I am suffering at the hands of the current legal system. I will attempt to deliver my story to you, the reader, in simple and easy logic. I am doing this to attempt to bolster the causes of logic and clear thinking. To attempt to give my human side of the story to counter any inaccurate portrayal it will receive if reported in the current media environment. I can only expect a sound bite in the papers, so I am going to give you the real story of my struggle.

In the current system there no expectation to receive the things I need to help me move on and manage my manic depression. The things I need as an individual, suffering a unique illness that affects each sufferer differently, is the freedom to manage my condition in my own way, as the condition effects the very fabric of what makes me the person I am. There is little or no hope of getting better until the whole business I am dealing with is over. Only then can I move on from here, once my prosecution for self medication using Cannabis is over, and I am released from my ultimate fate at the hands of an illogical system of Law. I will need a lot of things around me to help me back on my feet and stay out of depression.

I expect to have to have my name and clean criminal history tarnished by the politically motivated, misleading and out of date way we deal with casual drug users and those with mental disorders whose problems lead them to use drugs for one reason or another. I expect the end result of my punishment will make no difference to my life, as I don’t really have a life. It's hard to get on in life with Bi-Polar, especially as you get older and the condition becomes more overpowering. Society is setup for the other 99 people out of 100 who don't have it. Bi-Polar runs in my family. Bi-Polar killed my uncle, it caused him to seek relief with suicide, a fate I am concerned could be my own. I am quite sure Cannabis would have helped my uncle to see things in a different way when the going got tough. A conviction for Cannabis crimes means very little to someone who is often too ill to work anyway, too ill to leave the house or even bed. I have bigger problems than that of a being labelled a criminal. Being a criminal just makes it even less likely I'll become better through improvement of my life and reintegration with society.

The ways we deal with the innocent victims of the actions born of mental illness is plainly shocking, we are misunderstood and badly represented. So, I wish to give my side of the story and to try to help others in society to see the broader point about my plight with Cannabis and Bi-Polar. I want to show how I am now affected negatively by the Law, Politics and my Mental Illness.

I do not profess to be an expert at writing, or on any of these subjects, but I do know what works for me and how I interact with the world differently from the 99% of people who aren’t Bi-Polar.I will try to explain how these factors make a potent cocktail of problems for many people that are misunderstood, under represented and poorly dealt with.

I wish to tell a story for those on both sides of the fence, for those who know little about these subjects, and those only believing what they are told, rightly or wrongly, by the media. Hopefully this is a story of logic and reason, helping everyone to see a human side to this awful criminal I have become. A criminal made by the current Law and Criminal Justice System. I will attempt to explain how my daily my life is dominated by living with Manic Depression. Living with the fact I am a criminal causes me no concern at all. I have no concerns about the opinions of people who know less than I do about how my own experiences with Cannabis and Bi-Polar Disorder. People who are not suffering with Bi-Polar have no idea about the serious nature of a Manic Depressive Illness and the vital importance that Cannabis plays in my life. Because I have mental health issues I have spent long periods of my life in a living hell, I enjoy the use of Cannabis to relieve some of the more destructive symptoms and also the stresses and strains of being hypo-manic, enabling me to stay happy, where is the crime in that? Where is the crime in using something that keeps me away from the suicidal side of my condition and makes me a more rounded, caring and less self absorbed person?

The system of Law that many medical Cannabis users are unfortunate enough to encounter, is in my opinion, broken. Out-dated drug laws and hysterical media reporting go hand in hand. We are moving backwards to Draconian methodology at this very moment, reversing behind a blockage in logic. This is a blockage born of a lack of flow within the pipe work of political debate on drugs. Politicians are scared of the potential right wing media backlash should they even whimper about drugs. In the current media-driven politics, even the slightest mention of drugs can be toxic, let alone a debate using logical science on the subject. That could be enough to end a career, remember David Nutt, the first martyr?

We live in a country where all drug users, regardless of their individual needs or status, are lumped into the same category by a system more suited to cattle herding. Medical users and decent honest casual user’s lives are being ruined and destroyed from all sides by the current system. Largely it's because of the currently diabolical state of the media. The media is ruling policy via the disease of political correctness. Policies affecting lives of good honest people with families and jobs, are currently driven by the press holding control of politicians and public opinion. This is holding back society advancement. Politicians can't speak logically for fear of trial by media. The result is costly, ill-informed and ever wasteful criminalisation of decent honest drug users. Effectively, the criminalisation of many perfectly respectable and otherwise law abiding people. We are suffering a reversion from working policy that has been shown to be effective in other countries. Countries with a system of drug policy that is based on an actual desire to improve and resolve the health care of the individual, resolve a persons social issues within a realistic framework, has the least cost and damage to all involved.

Many others Cannabis users like me are paying a high price for something we see as harmless. These are decent, honest people, who commit no crimes, who aren't affecting anyone else with their victimless crime of personal Cannabis use. Public opinion within a largely unaware or non-caring proportion of the voting demographic in England is being deliberately manipulated by certain newspapers and media outlets. We are heading backwards, not forwards, with regards to Drug Policy. There is a tug of war between logic and illogical propaganda happening right now. The public are increasingly media led, large proportions of them are being fed a daily diet of Cannabis related junk food through various outlets, including the Police and Courts. Diets of endless one-sided Cannabis reporting that bare no resemblance to anything I have experienced. How can we currently expect to have any logical form of debate? We are rapidly being walked down the garden path towards increased ignorance, with that increased dangers. We are not moving forward towards the logical drug laws being shown to work in other countries. We are closer to believing down right nonsense glossed over as fact and then supported by the authorities. England is being held to ransom by overly simplistic and ever more bizarre drug logic. Overly simplistic and often baseless arguments given in the media are leading to court rooms filled with ever more illogical and politically motivated decisions.

In England, courts and police catch onto the latest trendy anti-Cannabis phrases or catchwords used in right-wing press coverage and use them readily in their own declarations. However, the courts and police have no ability to pickup on important facts or functional progressive policy changes happening in countries other than our own. Other countries are showing solid results with legislation, decriminalisation and realistic medical provisions for Cannabis use within the Law.

I can get a lower sentence claiming I am a “Cannabis addict”. Cannabis has no addictive properties unless you add addictive tobacco to your reefers. I can pick up Cannabis and put it down, use it everyday or once a week, it is as addictive as playing golf or eating chocolate. The only reason for encouraging people to claim “Cannabis addiction” in courts is to spread farcical propaganda, spin and misinformation down to a compliant and ill-informed media. They then hand this information down as fact to members of the public, who have not got the experience to make an informed judgment of their own.

It will no doubt be said I was growing dangerous “Skunk” plants that are 10 times stronger than back in the 1960’s. Fact is, I was growing largely pure land-race strains, strains of a plant that has been around since before humans walked the earth and has changed very little.

Misleading and inaccurate sound bites are rapidly delivered to the public ear in England through police, court and media reporting. Short, easy to digest meals of misinformation. Biased and misleading reporting attempts to show the important voters of an ever increasingly misled middle England, that something is being done.

We are not winning the war on drugs. It can’t be won. It is a war on the “Human Mind” and you will never stop humans taking drugs, except if you remove their desire to so by medicating the entire populace, as suggested by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World. The problems that we suffer are as a result of outdated prohibition, the total waste of resources and money we expend chasing people like me. The system currently is at breaking point dealing with people who cause no harm to anyone else and just want to be able to use Cannabis for both personal and medical reasons, as those in other countries can without fear of reprisal.

What about those decent honest folk who find Cannabis of benefit to their lives, people with health issues, the millions of honest working users who don’t want to use Nicotine and Alcohol. These are all the people I call my friends, all currently criminalised, hundreds of them. These are all workers with good jobs, intelligent folk, business owners, employers, tax payers and they use Cannabis. These law-abiding folk use Cannabis to relax and enhance their already ample lives, they are approaching the middle phase of their lives and yet they choose to still use Cannabis. They are adults who for the most part don't agree with the nonsense they hear about Cannabis, due to their own adequate personal experience. We aren't criminals we just want to use something that adds some joy or relief to an otherwise often bleak existence. People must understand the plight of thousands of medical Cannabis users, as well as those decent honest folk are criminalised for using alternatives to the ever problematic and nauseating boozing culture. I don’t see the local Accident and Emergency department full of Cannabis users on a Friday night, or the local High Street destroyed by them every weekend. The police cells are full of violent Alcohol users sobering up on a Friday night, not Cannabis users as it doesn’t cause these problems. Surely it is Alcohol which should be made illegal. I don’t use Alcohol, for me it’s a scar on society and as a depressant it makes me depressed.

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