By Emily Ledger
A Multiple Sclerosis sufferer from Carlisle has been acquitted after earlier being charged for Cannabis cultivation and possession. Lesley Gibson, and her husband, Mark, were arrested in January 2019 following a police raid at their home.
Police discovered ten baby Cannabis plants, alongside homemade Cannabis chocolate bars, made by the couple. Lesley, 55, like an estimated 10,000 other Multiple Sclerosis patients, uses Cannabis to aid in the treatment of her symptoms. Ms. Gibson has now secured a prescription for her medication.
Prior to this, the couple faced up to five years imprisonment, and/or an unlimited fine, for their charges. However, the Crown Prosecution claimed that there was no public interest in proceeding with the case, around a year after the original charges were brought.
Ms. Gibson’s Soliicitor Tayab Ali stated:
“It can’t be right to prosecute a person who has no choice other than to use medicinal Cannabis.”
Ms. Gibson receives her medicinal Cannabis through a private clinic in the UK. It is claimed that the prescription costs around £700 per month, which Ms. Gibson pays for through a credit card.
Medical Cannabis became legal in the UK in November 2018, following the rescheduling of the drug. However, in over a year, only 18 people have been prescribed medical Cannabis through the NHS. A further 135 prescriptions were issued via private clinics, often costing patients as much, or more, as Ms. Gibson is currently paying.
Cannabis is used by many to treat muscle spasticity and pain associated with Multiple Sclerosis. The MS Society estimates that 10,000 MS patients currently self-medicate with Cannabis. However, only a handful of patients have so far received a prescription for the medication.
In November 2019, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence released its official recommendations for the use of medical Cannabis products. The Cannabis-based drug, Sativex, was approved for use in those with “moderate to severe” spasticity. However, it was not approved for the treatment of pain often associated with the condition.