My introduction into my cannabis journey would be false if I did not admit that my start was as a teenager and recreational user first. In 2002 I became ill, I had ulceration in my intestines, I was in pain, nauseous and either vomited or had diarrhoea soon after eating, losing weight rapidly, the only thing giving me relief was smoking cannabis. It got to the stage that the ulceration caused me to pass enough blood that I self presented at A&E twice in a few hours, after having been sent home after the first time, having seen & been examined by doctors.
My hospitalisation resulted in being diagnosed with Crohn‘s Disease, the information that the health professionals gave me around the condition was scary. It sounded to me like they didn’t know what was wrong or how to fix it, their solution sounded like it was to try to manage the effects rather than seek or repair the cause of the problem. I had heard that cannabis helped lots of medical problems and searched "cannabis and Crohn’s Disease" then I saw that in Germany cannabis was a prescribed remedy for my condition.
In 2002 it became clear to me that the line between medical & recreational use was imaginary, to me especially as depending on who I talked to would be the difference between my medical or recreational stance. The truth from me is that I‘ve always loved consuming cannabis I’ve just been a lucky one being granted the perfect medical excuse, in a condition that cannabis shows massive potential, my understanding of Crohn’s disease is that it is an immune system imbalance. It was described to me as ‘my overactive immune system gets too strong & attacks healthy parts of my digestive tract’ .
I feel its better explained as ‘an endocannabinoid deficiency that manifests as my immune system becoming overactive then attacking my digestive tract.’ I was prescribed steroids & immunosuppressant to tackle the inflammation, opiate painkillers to deal with the pain and calcium supplements to counteract the negative effects of the immunosuppressant on my bones.
The medication, not the actual condition, along with having the possible side effect of causing various cancers, required monthly blood tests, which as someone with needle phobia there was a desire from myself to stop the pharmaceuticals. I was a young man living a busy life & regularly forgot to take my prescribed medications but never had a problem remembering I like to smoke cannabis. It got to the stage that in 2005 I decided to discuss stopping the prescribed medications with my medical team and came to the conclusion that I’d take the consequences of my choice to face the justice system rather than continue with the prescribed medication and potential negative side effects of their long term plan, against medical advice, to pursue good health by continuing to consume cannabis for endocannabinoid maintenance & the natural homeostasis. I feel I have benefitted from this ever since. I‘ve taken no pharmaceutical medication for Crohn’s disease since 2005 and have not had any negative effects nor had to seek ‘professional medical advice’.
However, the Law has been far more harmful to my health than cannabis! I was first caught with cannabis in 2003 & in 2004 at trial I was represented by a lawyer & got a discount from the fine due to the medical mitigation the lawyer presented on my behalf. From the first fine until 2010 I was fined over £1800 in total for offences related to being stopped with cannabis (all except 1 were for possession of cannabis, the exception, I plead guilty to theft of trade waste in a plea bargain which got me back the £1040 that was seized with 7g of flowers, which together made the possession & intent to supply charges which were dropped through the plea bargain).
In 2010 I got stopped in possession of some flower while I was up near Fraserburgh & got a postal court citation about the offence. I’d paid so much to lawyers I decided I was going to post a plea of guilty with mitigating circumstances, I wrote the letter myself & sent it to the court. I got my reply saying I’d been "admonished", which to me at the time did feel like a victory, I wasn’t found guilty and I didn’t need to go to trial or pay a fine, court costs or a lawyer.
From 2010 until the laws were changed around ‘medical cannabis’ in the UK in November 2018, I didn‘t have much trouble from the police as I was living a quiet life & had the opportunity to grow my own cannabis for a while, this meant that I didn’t have to carry much ever, as I got most of it from myself. I took a few cautions which doesn‘t really sit well with my understanding of them now. I wasn’t in a position that the cautions impacted me as I already had a "criminal record", I advise against accepting these cautions now & do so myself as this gets me to trial eventually in court.
Since 2010 I’ve not had a lawyer, I’ve acted as my own defence in court, I’ve defied legal and medical advice & have never had to pay anything, no fines, court costs or lawyers. This has led me to the point that I am at now, my last few appearances in court I’ve had support from others who feel the same as me about cannabis prohibition. This support has given me inspiration & strength. The information I’ve used is useful to others.
My intention is to unite in the FACT that the misuse of drugs act 1971 is wrong. I see the recently released medical cannabis access cards and private prescriptions as both uniting & dividing people. I see a strength in the bringing people together in a collective defence, but as someone who is going to campaign for Fair Access Cannabis Terms which must be the same for the poorest person as for someone who can afford to fund their defence.
From my point of view, the only option is sharing information freely because as I see it there already exists a financial discrimination created by the current laws & enforcement of cannabis prohibition. I believe that no one is free until everyone is free and although I’ve not paid any fines I still have a case ongoing since 2019 over possession of less than 3g of cannabis, to which I have submitted Seed Our Future & We The Undersigned evidence bundles as pre-trial evidence. I believe in the evidence we have compiled having the ability to end cannabis prohibition, if we all ask the same reasonable questions of the prosecutions & present the same evidence as a collective defence. I believe if even a small percentage of people stopped with cannabis take the case to trial it will force a change, a united push would accelerate this.
This led to me having the idea for FACT Card, so I approached Phil Monk of We the Undersigned about how I loved the Seed Our Future motto of the ‘truth is our sword and unity our shield’ and wanted to unite cannabis users under it. Phil Monk & Guy Coxall were already working in mutual support and we agreed to take the idea forward & release a collective effort.
Thus we have devised FACT Card UK.