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UK: 'I will carry on growing drugs' says cannabis campaigner convicted of having plants at home

Annabal Bagdi

Oxford Mail

Saturday 29 Oct 2016

A CAMPAIGNER in ‘crippling’ pain battling to legalise cannabis lashed out at jurors after she was convicted of running a drugs farm in her home.

Cash-strapped Michelle X told Oxford Crown Court she would keep breaking the law until the class B drug is legally used to treat medical conditions in the UK.

The multiple sclerosis sufferer looked on in disappointment when Judge Peter Ross slapped her with a two-year conditional discharge, revealing she was hoping to be jailed.

Standing to address the court moments after hearing her fate yesterday, the 49-year-old said: “I’m prepared to give up my entire life for this. My life is not worth living without [cannabis].

“It’s obvious that I’m not going to stop. I would not even be here today if I was not medicated on cannabis. That’s how stupid it is.”

Taking to the stand yesterday, the defendant admitted growing cannabis but said she denied the charges to highlight the Misuse of Drugs Act was ‘unjust’.

Representing herself throughout the trial, she proclaimed she wanted to grow cannabis ‘organically’ in her Abingdon home to self-medicate rather than turning to drug dealers in the town.

She claimed she resorted to using the drug to alleviate her medical symptoms after hearing Prince Charles chatting about its potential benefits during a television programme in the 1990s.

Wearing a black jacket and skirt, she revealed her ‘life-changing’ multiple sclerosis diagnosis in 1988 initially left her wheel-chair bound, battling seizures and is now unable to work.

X, who described feeling pins and needles head to toe while giving evidence, added: “The side effects were crippling, bone-crunching and debilitating.”

The Lammas Close resident, who is handed £150 a week in benefits, went on to tell jurors she faces a cancer diagnosis if she continues on prescription medicine, leaving her with no choice but to use cannabis after falling ‘penniless’.

A jury of five men and seven women unanimously convicted X, who also suffers with coeliac disease, of producing cannabis on July 2 and August 26 last year after about half an hour of deliberating.

Prosecutor Jeremy Rosenburg told the court police discovered a small tent housing cannabis plants in the asthmatic’s front room, as well as further plants in her back garden shed.

Cannabis was also uncovered in glass jars and boxes scattered across the drug user’s home.

X, who claimed she was bankrupt and facing eviction from her council home because of her offending, was also ordered to pay £200 costs and a victim surcharge but said it would come out of the taxpayer’s pocket.




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