Dear ... MP
Cannabis Gran Pat Tabram has received a letter telling her to appear in Court on July 6th, to face possible eviction from her housing association rented house.
Pat is almost 69-years-of-age and admits to using about 0.1 (one tenth) of a gram - a day in her food as medication - it is her choice rather than use the many prescribed drugs on offer through the NHS for several health conditions, which she found did not help and in fact carried the risk of many very serious possible side-effects.
Pat has been to court twice for cultivation in her home, and been convicted twice.
After the first conviction, she told the judge in court that she would not stop using and growing cannabis for her own use; he waved a finger and said: alright then, but don't supply anyone else. But evidence of that was later removed at the instructions of the judge, says Pat.
Subsequently she was raided again and conducted her defence against a charge of cultivation, before a Carlisle Jury this March. She was found guilty after the jury were told by the judge that their oats were to reach the verdict based only on the evidence and that Pat did not dispute that, and her defence of medical necessity was not allowed.
She was given 200 hours community service and ordered to pay £1000 costs.
After the court case and since, she has told the press that she will continue to medicate with cannabis.
Her local housing association for her home in Humshaugh, told her that if they believe that she is using cannabis they will evict her, and put that on suspended notice for two years.
Now, apparently the police have asked the Housing Association to take the case to court on July 6 to evict her.
The question is: what can we do about this?
And not just about this individual case. Although as far as I know few people are evicted from council houses after convictions for small-scale cultivation and personal use alone, especially with medical use as mitigation, and given that most housing agreements give landlords the right to evict due to criminal activity and other reason, given that there are at least a million people in the UK who use cannabis to their medical benefit including many disabled and / or aged - if this policy is going to be allowed then we may find ourselves evicting these people by the dozen, daily.
If Mrs Tabram is to be treated by one Housing Association in a way different to the way in which other Housing Associations have treated people convicted of similar cannabis offences, then that is surely contrary to Human Rights and a misuse of authority?
Also does not the Government realise that people like Pat Tabram who are self-medicating using a plant that has been used medically for thousands of years until banned in 1971, save the NHS budget huge sums in drugs not used.
Lastly, of course Mrs Tabram cannot be left on the street and it will be up to the local authority to provide her with accommodations and before we know it we may be going round in circles at public expense and further cost to Mrs Tabram's health.
I would like to know your views on what you may be able to do about this.
You can read a series of articles about Pat, here
Reply from Dr Ian Gibson MP, 29 April 2007
I will raise with Home Office
Reply from Paul Flynn MP
I presume the Housing Associtaion have rules banning illegal drug takers. This might be useful in some circumstances but cruel and barbaric in this case. What Pat Tabram is doing harms nobody and, almost certainly, helps her to have the medicine of her choice. Medicinal cannabis would be available legally if it were not for the cowardice of politicians of all parties. The police and housing authorities usually act with a bit of common sense. To evilest her would be to create a martyr. I believe the sympathy of the country would be with Mrs Tabrum.
Best wishes, Paul Flynn
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