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'I Sent Cannabis Plants To Ministers'

IC North Wales, 28th July 2006

NORTH Wales cannabis campaigner Jeff Ditchfield told a jury yesterday he sent cannabis plants to all 18 cabinet ministers.

He also wrote suggesting ministers, including Tony Blair, grow the plants and send them back so he could use the leaves as pain relief for others.

But, Ditchfield told Mold Crown Court he knew it would not happen.

Instead it highlighted the anomaly where people in pain wanted to use cannabis for relief and to improve their quality of life. But doctors, many of whom wanted to prescribe cannabis, were unable to do so because of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

"I knew I was breaking the law, however I did not see the law as morally right," he said.

Yesterday a judge told the 46-year-old he could not use the defence of medical necessity, and the case rested on cultivating and supplying the drug.

Two weeks after sending the plants the Government decided doctors could prescribe a Canadian cannabis-based product to named patients.

Ditchfield said he applied under the Freedom of Information Act for background information on the U-turn.

Ditchfield, of Water Street in Rhyl, where he runs the Beggar's Belief Caf?, told his barrister Keith Sutton he supplied cannabis-based products to two people who were very ill and in pain.

He also said he cultivated cannabis at the Rhyl home of one of those people and in a hidden room in his own premises, and there was hemp in his freezer.

But he denied suggestions by prosecutor Karl Scholtz it would have been worth £12,000 on the streets.

It was valued at about £300 but it was of little value to Bud Buddies because of its low THC content, he claimed.

It could have been made legally into tea, he said, and produced some from his pocket which he said he bought at a health food shop.

Judge Mr Recorder Steven Everett, said that no more evidence on the benefits of cannabis should be given to the jury.

The judge said he would be directing the jury there was no defence of medical necessity in law.

The trial, before Mr Recorder Steven Everett, is proceeding.

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