If we have to prioritise the case for cannabis law reform the right of access to cannabis as a medicine is surely the most important. What follows is a story which demonstrates why this is so and why the inhumanity of the prohibition laws is difficult to describe in any other way than torture.
Stephen tells his story:
September the 5th 1997 is all but a fuzzy memory now, its Friday night and I’m out having a few drinks with my girlfriend and some mates down at the local working mans club. I remember leaving early as I had to work the next day and my mate had suggested he knew a short cut to my house on a path through some woods that were close to my home. The next thing I remember is yelling to my mate to slow down because I couldn’t see the path or him it was pitch black in those woods.
I have no memory of what happened next, all I could see was a black sky,and I could not move . I am not sure how long I had lain there , I fell asleep.
It was the voices and bright lights that I remember next and a pain in my back, I was in the back of an ambulance and was drifting in and out of sleep, it was the vibrations of the rotor blades that made me wake up again and I found myself in a helicopter landing at a spinal injury hospital.
I had broken the 5 and 6th vertebrae of my neck and was paralysed from my chest down. I was devastated, I spent 3 months in traction ,and then another 8 months in rehab. I left the hospital with a degree in paralysis but as a junkie on prescription meds, I had handfuls of pills that I would have to take 4 times a day to control the symptoms of paralysis.
Paralysis is such a strange condition, it does not mean I can’t move or feel anything. It means many things, but to me it’s uncontrolled muscle spasms, muscle cramps and muscle rigidity. Have you ever had a real bad sunburn or pins and needles in your feet? That’s how my skin feels all the time.
You don’t feel hunger but you know you have to eat, my body does not sweat below my neck so can no longer regulate my temperature.
Having no balance makes the simple act of pushing yourself in a wheelchair a real challenge and going to the toilet is another thing that I won’t go into here.
The worst symptom is a condition called autonomic dysreflexia which only occurs with people who have broken their necks. It causes a sudden rise in blood pressure which will cause CVA (stroke) or death as a result.
After two years of taking prescription pills I was rushed into hospital, the toxic pills I was taking had eaten a hole in my stomach, I came out of hospital after three weeks . Then two days later I was rushed back to hospital as the percocet pain killers I was given in the hospital had ran out an my own doctor refused to give me any medication for the pain as she told me they were narcotics and she was not going to prescribe them to me.
I had had enough of pills and quack doctors,I needed a new plan.
I have used cannabis since I was a young adult, it had always been a social event where a bunch of us would get together, pool our money and go to see our local dealer for a bag of buds. We would laugh and giggle and their was never any trouble caused, but at the time of my accident good weed was hard to find and expensive, all that was around was bad hash called soap.
I had a spare room in my home so I brought some seeds,and hydroponic equipment. Three months later I was cutting down my own plants. Six months later I had stopped taking all of the prescription medication that was prescribed to me and I felt good, cannabis was helping with every symptom that I had and I felt alive again.
I carried on growing, I started breeding my own strains – I wanted to grow the best medicine I could and have been doing so for 14 years.
Well march last year I had a knock on the door, “its the police and were here to search your premises for cannabis”. o-oh
They found 300 plants, the police could see that although I had a lot of plants I was not dealing and that they were for my own use, they said they would have to take all the plants but to my surprise they did not take it all and they left all my hydroponic equipment and enough plants growing that I could continue growing the next day.
I received a caution for my troubles and I naively thought I would not see them again, doh.
Last Thursday they came back.
This time they found about 200 plants and they decided to take them all and my hydroponic equipment, but they were nice enough to leave me with about a months supply of dried buds.
I have not been charged yet but I will be, I may lose what’s left of my freedom if I try to fight this in court as many have tried to get the law changed in regards to medicinal cannabis and nothing happens.
After everything that has happened I remain happy and positive and I believe its my turn to take this fight on if not for myself for everyone else who has been persecuted by an out of date law that was written by old farts who have no clue on how to live in the real world and have a happy, healthy society. Imagine that.
I will update this story as it develops.
This story has been shared with CLEAR cannabis law reform