The UK Law, the Dangerous Drugs Act 1925 which made cannabis illegal was
passed on September 28th 1928. This was a result of errors that grouped
cannabis in with narcotics during the Second International Opiates Conference
in 1924. Cannabis cannot be classed as a dangerous drug.
The UK Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 listed cannabis as a Class B drug and banned its medicinal use.
It has since been reclassified to class C and the sentence on possession reduced, and then put back to class B with an increased maximum sentence of 2 to 5 years for possession.
This is the law under which people in the UK can be prosecuted for possession, cultivation, supply, possession with intent to supply, production, importation or exportation of the plant which many people say is sacred to them and many others claim to get medicinal relief from some dreadful ailments and injuries - it is even said to help reduce tumour growth an dheal soem forms of cancer.. One can One can also be prosecuted for being knowingly concerned with these offences, or conspiracy to commit them (you do not have to do anything but agree to break the law to be guilty of conspiracy).
Sentencing varies throughout the country but are usually within established guidelines. These are: for possession anything from a police warning or caution to 5 years in prison; for the other offences anything from a conditional discharge to 14 years. Generally the more that the amount involved is worth, the harsher the sentence.
A strange anomaly in law is that one can be prosecuted for 'allowing one's premises to be used' for the above offences. It is an offence to let people smoke or eat cannabis on your premises. It is also an offence to allow people to smoke opium, but strangely enough it is not an offence to allow the injection of heroin or the snorting of cocaine!
The Magna Carta established that no man shall be punished for violating the King's law except by the lawful judgement of his peers. Since then trial by jury has served as the final safeguard between government and the people.
The jury's power to say 'no' was put to the test in 1670. The trial of William Penn and William Mead resulted in one of the most important developments of the common law jury. During the previous six years English juries often acquitted Quakers for violating Parliament's command that all religious services conform to Anglican ritual. The King's Bench frequently responded to verdicts for acquittal in such trials by fining jurors.
When the common law juries refused to enforce the Crown's religious intolerance, London soldiers locked and guarded the doors of Quaker Church. Penn and Mead preached in the streets and were arrested.
On the following page is the text of a plaque that is outside the Old Bailey Courthouse.
Near this site William Penn and William Mead were tried in 1670 for preaching to an unlawful assembly in Gracechurch Street.
This tablet commemorates the courage and endurance of the jury, Thomas Vere, Edward Bushell and ten others, who refused to give a guilty verdict against them although they were locked up without food for two nights and were fined for their final verdict of Not Guilty.
The case of these jurymen was reviewed on a writ of Habeas Corpus and Chief Justice Vaughn delivered the opinion of the court which established the Right of Juries to give their Verdict according to their conviction.
This means that the jurors have the right to decide on the justice of the law. If a jury decides that the actions of the accused, although in fact breaking one or more laws, does not deserve punishment then they are entitled to return a verdict of not guilty, irrespective to any instructions to the contrary from or demands of the judge.
There have been other trials where this has happened. A recent case in Liverpool is a more modern example. Although admitting to the several acts of supplying her sick daughter with cannabis, she pleaded not guilty to charges under the Misuse of Drugs Act. The stated that the supply was medicinal albeit illegal; and that the supply was not misuse. Having convinced the jury that her act did not warrant punishment they found her not guilty. This was after a great deal of pressure from her solicitor and barrister who wanted her to plead guilty.
The judge normally reminds the jury of their oath. The oath is that they will reach a verdict on the evidence alone. Judge, Prosecution and Defence all fail in their duty by not telling the jury that they may acquit if they find the law itself to be unjust. The FCDA claim it may be a cause for appeal for almost every trial by jury conviction this century. This is probably why the wigs do not wish to deal with the problem.
A person on cannabis charges could plead not guilty irrespective of the evidence. It would then be up to his defence to prove the law unjust and tell the jury of their Right. Most judges specifically ban any argument on the justification of the law. In that case there would be grounds to appeal, if you get a legal representative to take it on. Otherwise the question is can you convince the jury.
In America there is a body called the Fully Informed Jury Association. They advocate telling the juries of their rights, including consideration of defendant's motives as part of the evidence and their right ton acquit or convict according to their conscience.
The jury has the right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy- Chief Justice John Jay USA
I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which government can be held to the principles of its constitution-Thomas Jefferson (1789)
My argument is simply that to prosecute a personal that grows cannabis for medicinal benefit - and the decision having been made by police and CPS who are both free to decide not to prosecute - is a MISAPPLICATION of the law.
The very fact that you may be a persistent offender risking imprisonment show how much you need cannabis and are prepared to grow it rather than go to dealers
The law (MOD Acts) cannot possibly have been intended to prevent people from growing and possessing cannabis for their own medicinal benefit in their PRIVATE lives
Furthermore, that FACT that there is no question of supply our of the cannabis being outside the private dwelling, posed no threat to public health, public order, the rights of others or national security, means that the use of the law to prosecute for possession does not fall within the criteria of Human Rights law
The cost to the public for this prosecution makes it doubtful that it is in the public interest for it is of not public benefit - especially as repeat offending is highly probable given the dire medical conditions
In all cases, the decision to prosecute - whether to apply the law - must lie not with the politicians but with the police, CPS and courts - it is for them to rule on the applications on the law
Given the above points, the prosecution of a person for small-scale cultivation of cannabis for own medicinal benefit is a mis-application of the law