Disabled man pleads for drug

A DISABLED man convicted of cultivating cannabis at his home has launched an impassioned plea for the drug to be available on prescription.Reay Wales, who suffers from a crippling arthritis and pancreatitis, was found guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court and sentenced to a £200 fine.

By Amanda Cresswell

A DISABLED man convicted of cultivating cannabis at home has made an impassioned plea for the drug to be made available on prescription.

Reay Wales, who suffers from crippling arthritis and pancreatitis, was found guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court and sentenced to a £200 fine.

Speaking at his home in Vincent Close, Ipswich, Mr Wales said he endures agonising sleepless nights and grew marijuana for pain relief.

Mr Wales, 50, said he preferred to smoke cannabis rather than take morphine or dihydrocodeine, as prescribed by his doctor, because of the effect on his health.

"I'm not asking for sympathy from the jury or the courts," he said. "I try not to take these very serious drugs to like dihydrocodeine and morphine tablets which will eventually damage my health beyond repair.

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"Morphine is so addictive and the withdrawal systems can damage health considerably. I was growing cannabis to counteract the withdrawal systems.

"I opted for the least of all evils: marijuana. I wasn't growing it to sell, but for my own use.

"I am just asking to have something less harmful to me than what was already given to me by the state. I suffer so severely from each different ailment that there isn't one day of my life I have freedom from pain.

"When I smoke cannabis it relieves me and I feel like a normal person."

Mr Wales, a former chef, argued that if marijuana was given on prescription, sufferers would get access to the drug in its pure form.

This was preferable to getting it on the streets, where users are at the mercy of dealers.

He said:"Most people who smoke cannabis are smoking an evil combination of chemicals and impurities. If it was regulated and I was given the drug in a prescribed form, it would ensure I wasn't given a drug that was impure.

"I wouldn't like to see marijuana being made totally legal, for recreational purposes, as young people don't really know what the drug can do until later in life.

"Young people experiment and just like any drug in this world, it may give some people happiness and other people a lot of misery.

"It should be regulated and used for people like myself with serious pain and constant pain.

"It is less addictive and lethal than alcohol, so I would like it to be prescribed not only for multiple sclerosis suffers, but for people with other diseases as well."

He said his legal team was preparing an appeal against his conviction.

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