Home Affairs Committee - Drugs: Breaking the CycleWritten evidence submitted by Applewoods Hydroponica Ltd (DP056)

1. I write in my capacity as a son, husband, father, citizen, individual and a businessman, to beg serious consideration be given by this committee to the issue raised in this letter when considering the future of drug prohibition and in particularly cannabis prohibition in the UK. I was born in England in 1959 the youngest by five years, of 11 children; my father came to the Britain from southern Ireland during the 2nd world war to fight for freedom and human decency. I wish to deal with the effects of prohibition on the three generations of my family who have lived at this address since the misuse of drugs act 1972 was introduced and how the state failed to address the welfare and heath of these people; preferring to criminalise and fail them; whilst restricting their rights to employment, mental and physical health treatment or full participation and advancement in the community or business. I do not expect the committee to address any of these specific items only consider them as relevant. I have attempted to show the folly of current policy and the way things could have been! I have for the most part avoided reference to specific areas of the debate in order to present a wider picture of real life and the effects of prohibition of drugs on the family, the individual and their relationship with the state.

2. As a child growing up cannabis, alcohol and tobacco were in common usage at home by elder members of my family; I thought no more of any of them than I did tea or coffee. One morning I was taken aside by an older brother and informed that I must not talk about the use of cannabis in our house as we had been declared to all intense and purposes a criminal family with the introduction of the MDA, something nobody ever got to vote on! The consequences of that moment were disastrous for many members of my family. Over the next few years several warrants were issued for our address and home invasions (raids) were carried out, there is very little difference in the feeling of being violated at home be it from official or criminal forces and my parents felt this greatly; neither were illegal drug users and both saw their dreams of a better future trampled underfoot and their youngest five sons still at home criminalised. The oldest of my brothers was recently awarded the keys to the City of London, while I the youngest am kept terrorised in our family home.

3. My next brother up Dermot suffered depression from an early (pre-cannabis use) age and became an alcoholic while working for a distillery as did another brother who worked there, both went on to use heroin, I am in no doubt that their alcohol addiction was the gateway to heroin the effects being similar in many respects. This was very destructive for Dermot who turned to breaking into chemists, assumed various aliases with doctors to obtain ever more drugs sometimes ones he didn’t use to sell to buy ones he did. He went onto crushing tablets, filtering them through cigarette filters then injecting them, filling his veins with chalk deposits and tiny plastic beads used to make tablets “non injectable”; there was no attempt by the state to help him but the police and judiciary were always ready to prosecute. By the time he committed suicide some 30 odd years later most of his body had abscess scars, his veins had collapsed, his kidneys and liver were failing and his blood would clot before it could be analysed. He was in constant and severe pain; he was by this time receiving help for pain management. I believe this was an incredible nine amples of Diamorphine per day plus even stronger cancer pain drugs (so many drugs that he had to regularly appear before the medical authorities to confirm he could take his full prescription without dying). Many of his friends also heroin addicts died along the way including two of his partners, nobody helped any of them with their “illness” but they all got prosecuted. One friend hung himself by his underpants in Ealing police station (late 70s) as a protest at continued and pointless arrest. He was 21 years old.

4. My own life took a nose dive in the early 70s, I became the “criminal of a criminal family” I started stealing alcohol and smoking cigarettes as I went through my teens I was arrested for ever more serious crimes. I had occasionally used cannabis, it made me feel good and relaxed and I grew my first cannabis plants then, but mostly I was drinking which left me often angry and violent. I was sentenced to three months DC at 15, a borstal at 18 and was a young prisoner in the Scrubs by the time I was 20. After this I left London for four years and lived in Leicestershire with my partner with whom I now have two children. Whilst in Leicestershire I came across soap bar cannabis. I told the people that offered it to me that it was rubbish and contaminated with God knows what. For the next decade and a half this substance was the only form of cannabis available throughout most of the UK and many of the “unexplained” instances of asbestos like lung complaints in the 50 plus age group may well be a direct result of this contaminated cannabis. GW pharmaceuticals did an analysis to see if it was suitable for medical use; this was made publicly available and it makes frightening reading.

5. I came back to London to look after my elderly father after the death of my mother in 1985 within two years the police had started raiding Dermot again believing he was me due to a neighbour mis-identifying me when reporting me as a cannabis user, after the third raid on him they finally raided me and discovered a small amount of hashish on me and under a gram of my hashish in my partner’s bag, she was criminalised and 35 years later still has to declare it on job applications as she is a teacher. By this time the only cannabis I could find in London was also soap bar and I began to grow my own with a little more purpose. I was already fairly knowledgeable about cannabis in its many forms. Eventually my home was raided again and cannabis plants were found in a hydroponic set up in my loft along with strawberries, sweet peppers and a lemon tree belong to my five year old daughter all the plants were destroyed much to the distress of my daughter who had already been woken by a gang of people stomping around late at night and pushing her aside as she searched for her parents who were being “succoured” downstairs. I received a sentence of 120 hours community service and a recommendation I find a better outlet for my talents; I then opened my hydroponics business.

6. Within six months plain clothes police officers visited the garden centre I was working from and my relationship there became strained. I moved out after 12 months and took the stock to my family home; within three days the police had raided me as I was apparently believed to be setting up an “ecstasy factory” (with all the plant feed and hydroponic systems?); six cannabis plants were found. I have well documented back injuries from an assault carried out against me as a child. These plants where part of researching breeding medicinal strains of cannabis. I had built up a large collection of seeds over the years and had inbred and interbred many types: over which I claim scientific and intellectual property rights During the 14 years of operating this company I have been raided at home and work five times; millions have been wasted in court and police time. On the last two appearances the Crown has accepted, indeed Crown Prosecution have stated to the judge, that my level of knowledge and expertise is far above that of the average cannabis grower and above the knowledge of the “expert witnesses” brought in to evaluate my case. In the same period £10 million of taxpayers’ money has been illegally given to a company I consider to be a business rival, GW Pharmaceuticals. I have attached a letter (as supplementary material for your consideration) to Baroness Browning also forwarded to Baroness Meacher that deals with this illegal and dishonest company, its stolen genetics and product; the criminal at the centre of the company and his seed collection. My own seed collection should be worth millions of pounds yet I am not allowed even to keep them viable.

7. A couple of years back I appeared on a programme called Britain’s secret farms were I showed ground glass being used to increase weight in cannabis and explained the health consequences to the public. The state’s reaction was two fold, questions were asked in Parliament about this and an investigation into me and my finances was launched resulting in yet another raid on my home and business. On this occasion five premises belonging to my landlord were also attacked/raided/smashed up and into, presumably to punish him for renting to me and destroy my chances of rental anywhere else. Thousands of pounds of equipment was seized/stolen, no receipt given, no list made and no letters to the chief superintendant answered; these goods have since been destroyed and I still have received no receipt.

8. My two children have been at home during these raids and the psychological problems have been many and varied ranging from fear of the police to a general mistrust of authority that are seen as being hypocritical and prepared to lie to maintain prohibition. (I have attached a letter as supplementary material for your consideration, from my daughter, aged five when first suffering police home invasion, 20 when writing this letter to the court). The latter being reinforced with the corruption surrounding GW Pharmaceuticals and the state in relation to the billion pound medicine Sativex (O’Shaunessey’s Tincture) made from cannabis: a plant with no medical value according to the law that prevents me using or producing it, despite cannabis being the only active ingredient in this medicine. I again cite the Baronesses Browning document attached. It should be noted that since my FoI requests, Clear the “cannabis party” had a FoI request turned down on the grounds the truth is “not in the public interest”. The truth is already out: the information gathered and contained in the Baroness Browning letter is gathered from the public domain and being freely circulated.

9. This is the experiences of just one British family since the Misuse of Drugs Act was introduced yet it is the story of hundreds of families the length and breadth of the nation, the story of perhaps thousands of children of “some people who take some drugs”; victims of a uncaring state waging war on its own population and claiming they must because of international conventions. These conventions make no requirement on the signatory states to criminalise or terrorise its population but to deal with the health and welfare issues surrounding drug use. You are in the position to set this to rights, please do it for the future of our nation and the mindset of its children. Medical intervention is better than criminalisation, truthful education is better than lies and misinformation, compassion is better than hate!


10. Alcohol is worse that cannabis as is tobacco; the report of the Keele university underlines the deliberate overstating of mental health issues surrounding cannabis use; mental health issues being understated or ignored when it comes to alcohol or the hundreds of chemicals used to produce cigarettes and inhaled by users. Recently Clear has produced a paper on regulating and taxing cannabis. I support this idea in as far as commercial production but with cannabis being less harmful than alcohol, home production of cannabis should be exempt from tax or licensing just as home brewing is. I would like to make one final point much is being made of high THC strains being more dangerous despite the Keele findings. These are the strains that work best for those with medicinal needs and are the legitimate competition for GW Pharmaceutical products and this point should be noted; as should the fact that the Skunk makes your kids mental campaign started when our Government handed a major criminal figure millions of pounds of taxpayers money to succour the original genetics for SKUNK from the man who brought it to Europe, the truth is out and we know what it is. Do the honourable thing free up cannabis for medical and recreational use; tax major production and create production standards. Take care of those addicted to drugs, find a way of helping them with their health issues and stop criminalising the sick and do it now before it’s truly too late.


Paragraphs 1–2–34–5-8–9 and the Roxanna Walsh letter [see appendices]. The “War on Drugs” is a “War on people” and their families, be they children of drug users or their parents.

Paragraphs 2–3–4–5. The health of drug users is currently neglected in favour of criminal prosecution.

Paragraphs 3–4. Alcohol is far more dangerous a drug than cannabis is, it is also more akin to heroin in its addictiveness and effects on the health and welfare of drug users.

Paragraphs 3–4. The illegality of drugs leads to harmful practices by the user and often dangerous contamination of the drug supply by criminal suppliers.

Paragraphs 4–5–6–7-8 and the letter to Baroness Browning. The current laws discriminate against the individual in business or career advancement and are often backed by or result in acts that are illegal in law and immoral in practice.

Paragraphs 9–10. The Misuse of Drugs Act is in contravention of the international treaties which obligate the signatory states to care for the health and welfare of drug users and their families.

Paragraphs 9–10. The non inclusion of alcohol and tobacco in the MDA is a farce, unsupported by the facts of dangers posed. Cannabis should at the very least be treated in parity with alcohol if not with less regulation on personal use consumption and production; with taxation, regulation, inspection of facilities and “end product” for those involved in commercial production and supply.

Paragraphs All. The current Law and its effects are more harmful to the individual, the family unit and the relationship between people and state than drugs themselves and needs to be changed for a health based policy and a more realistic approach to cannabis use.

January 2012


Baroness Browning
Minister for Crime and Anti Social Behaviour
Marsham Street
Airstrip 1

3 November 2011

CTS Reference M8259/11

Dear Baroness Browning

Thank you for your letter of the 27 July 2011 in response to my letter requesting a meeting between Mr Peter Reynolds of Clear and the Prime Minister to enable Mr Reynolds to give the Prime Minister the factual truth about cannabis, as he appears to have become more than slightly confused over this issue; despite his own (non criminalised) use of this substance (along with so many parliamentarians) and his own speeches prior to becoming leader of the Conservatives.

The words from Mr Cameron’s first speech in parliament “fresh thinking and a new approach” to drug policy comes to mind, as does “Politicians attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator by posturing with tough policies and calling for crackdown after crackdown” and then there is “Drugs policy has been failing for decades”; I believe as a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee he stated that the government at the time should initiate a discussion at the United Nations to consider alternative ways ,including the possibility of legalisation and regulation, to tackle the global drugs problem; all of which glow as beacons of hypocrisy in the light of recent claims over “very very toxic cannabis”. This leaves many of us wondering if some agency other than the elected government and its Prime Minister decide our nation’s drug policy.

I have also sent you emails with regard to my freedom of information request lodged with the Home Office and James Brokenshire’s reluctance to reply. I believe an email was sent to you on the day you were appointed, I didn’t get any replies until now and I note it still fails to answer the questions over Hortipharm NL Hortipharm NL, its “licence” and its Directors. I was however gladdened to read that your officials are working hard to “formulate a response to my other representations” as the responses I have had, even to Freedom of Information requests, have been incomplete and inaccurate. Indeed one FOI become lost for a few months and had to be reissued, I still await a full reply to all the questions contained within my FOI requests the most recent of these are contained in emails sent on the 12 and 16 May 2011, proper responses are now overdue.

I am hoping someone will explain why the British government gave millions of pounds to GW Pharmaceuticals. I believe it is illegal for the government to “gift” public money to fund a private company with a market share above 80%, and then actively promote and protect that company; let alone the 100% protected by criminalising the sick that the government currently favours. Unfortunately the Department of Trade tell me they can’t look into “dodgy dealing” in other governmental departments, not exactly a reissuance of governmental commitment to free and open government or honesty.

I am also hoping some one might tell me how much of that £10 million was given to “Sam the skunk man” as he was known to the criminal underworld of Holland’s cannabis growers and cannabis seed producers, of which he was a major player. One who used his “licence” to provide seeds to most of the cannabis seed companies in the Netherlands for around 30 years. He was the only seed breeder who could guarantee the safety of the crop due to his “licence” other breeders, his contemporaries being routinely arrested and their crops seized. AKA Sam Selezny the name on the passport he used when he “apparently” fled the USA and their Drug Enforcement Agency to avoid criminal prosecution. It is publicly claimed he was carrying with him the dubiously obtained Cannabis genetics (250,000 cannabis seeds) and the research of the Sacred seed collective, Santa Cruz, California of which he had been a “junior member” when it was raided by the DEA. AKA David Watson, which is his real name and the one that the DEA was “apparently” looking for him under although for reasons best known to themselves, they never applied to extradite him under, (a DEA undercover employee perhaps) David Watson who introduced Cannabis skunk to Europe. David Watson the director of the discredited Hortipharm NL, who’s claimed licence, was apparently fraudulently obtained. It was withdrawn by the Dutch Government as a consequence and this was “prior” to the UK Governments financing of GW Pharmaceuticals and their attempt to privatise and monopolise the medical cannabis industry by handing over £10 million of taxpayer’s money to obtain these “stolen” genetics; Money from taxpayers who still can’t access this “contaminated” Cannabis medicine but can and are arrested for using natural cannabis medicine.

I believe Hortipharms other director is R C Clarke; author of Marijuana Botany—a guide to breeding distinctive cannabis strains, a book that has “informed” most other illegal cannabis seed breeders worldwide. I look forward to some one justifying the lying to the public over our government’s role in handing over millions of taxpayers pounds to two people who could fairly be described as the grandfathers of the illegal indoor cannabis market. Such blatant hypocrisy and double dealing/double standards could only come from British parliamentarians.

I am still hoping that someone will tell me; who in Government knew the true nature of the company “Hortipharm NL” its illegally obtained and withdrawn licence and also who was aware of the possible criminal nature of this companies directors in particular, David Watson. Unless of course he was/is in fact a DEA agent; (which would explain many things about this “Teflon coated” criminal); who has gone “freelance” and privatised the possibilities of utilising the drug his and every other government, including our own has signed up to destroying in the Opiates act!! An act that makes possession or production of Sativex as illegal as any other type of/ether of/ester of/compound of/oil of or preparation of cannabis in any form! Licensed or not, as does the British Muse use of Drugs Act!

Earl Howe has indeed responded and confirmed that there is essentially no difference in the cannabis contained in Sativex and natural uncontaminated herbal cannabis. Both are cannabis, and cannabis is confirmed as the only ingredient of any medicinal value in O’Shaughnessy tincture or to use its rebranded, at great expense to the taxpayer name, Sativex. Which is strange as cannabis apparently has no medical value according to the misuse of drugs act; yet Earl Howe clearly accepts that cannabis is the active ingredient in Sativex and that no medicinal claims are or can be made for any of the other ingredients. I can only presume that either Earl Howe is mistaken or lying about cannabis the only effective medical content in Sativex; something I find hard to believe, considering his positions, by which I mean; Parliamentary under Secretary for Standards (Lords) and the Minister responsible for pharmacy policy at the NHS. The only other conclusion possible is that you are mistaken or lying. The feeble attempt to justify the government’s position that Sativex is a “different product” is ridiculous as is the claimed reason for it to be considered so. By which I mean it is a medicine of quantifiable ingredients, only 5 of the 83 ingredients being at a measured dose which leaves 78 cannabinoids at an unregulated, unquantifiable level.

You state in your letter that cannabis is a harmful drug that should not be taken. Am I to deduce from this statement, that the government will continue to refuse to follow the requirements of the UN Opiate act of 1963 to deal with the social and health issues surrounding drug use? That the governments misuse of the UK’s misuse of drugs act, an act that is supposed to be used for the regulation and control of dangerous drugs; not the prohibition of drugs coupled with the criminalisation of some people (over a million and climbing) will continue regardless of common decency and respect for UK citizens who use “some” drugs. That our government will continue to claim that criminalising its citizens without any proper basis in law is, some how, being done to protect people; protecting people being the true basis for and the intension of the UN Opiates Act and the UK’s Misuse of Drugs Act.

Perhaps you can give me some credible information over the harms as the Cannabis psychosis theory was found “not proven” by the Keel University study which was funded by the Government and the ACMD. I would also love to see the information upon which your dependences claim is made as cannabis is and always has been considered a drug of non dependence with no withdrawal symptoms.

You go on to claim that the ACMD provide independent advice!! This is the same ACMD who’s chair the government sacked for refusing to entertain the official policy of lying to the public over drugs, the same ACMD that had a rash of resignations in protest at Professor Nutts sacking and governmental misrepresentation of the facts. The same ACMD who’s current Chair Professor Les Iverson is on record as stating in an article in 2003 that “cannabis had been incorrectly classified for nearly 50 years and stated that cannabis was one of the safer recreational drugs”. It’s certainly safer than the parliamentarians drugs of “snout in the trough” self interest, alcohol and tobacco, both of which cause death, no deaths have ever been recorded from cannabis, both are harmful to heath, both are addictive and do course irreversible brain damage.

You further claim that the supposedly independent ACMD issued the statement in their report that “the use of cannabis is a significant public health issue, cannabis can unquestionably course harm to individuals and society”. I can only presume that you have never read this report and that this quote was furnished you by an advisor as anyone who has read this report would know that your chosen quote goes against the grain of the rest of the report; which does not contain any evidence to back up this statement. Indeed I believe this was included on the insistence of the representative from ACPO who seems to be confusing his responsibilities to factual evidence with ACPO’s desire to protect and preserve the honey pot of funding to the institutions of the state, (Police, Courts and prisons). Cannabis represents a very large portion of the £16 billion dedicated to ruining the lives of some people who use some drugs, via the “War on some people who use some drugs” AKA state sponsored “social conformity terrorism” with the catchy tag “War on Drugs” to disguise the fact it is a war on some people!!

The claim that keeping cannabis illegal is to protect the public is farcical. How is allowing free reign to organised crime to pollute/contaminate the drug supply with dangerous adulterants in order to increase their profit, supposed to help protect anyone let alone the vulnerable. My brother died after many years of opiate addiction his body wasn’t destroyed/impaired by the drugs he took but by the contaminate that clogged his veins, destroyed his liver, kidneys and caused abscesses in much of his body. What ID does a modern ten year old need to buy a bag of Heroin or cannabis contaminated with ground glass that can burn a hole in your lung if inhaled hot from a joint? Answer a note with a picture of the Queen on.

A regulated drug supply would save the lives of countless people, save countless others from contaminate based harms and consequently save the NHS from long term costs treating these harms. Cannabis properly regulated and taxed as suggested by Cannabis Law Reform in the document on Taxing the UK cannabis market compiled by the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit would offer more protection to the individual, children and society as a whole, than the current policy of feeding the monster of failed prohibition.

You claim that the Government balances the rights of the individual on one hand and the greater health and welfare considerations on the other. This statement flies in the face of reality; the harms caused by drug use stem directly from prohibition. From people dying from contaminates to those that die due to suddenly finding some thing pure. From those that are robbed to feed a habit to the child with a note with the Queen on to buy a habit, they are not having their health and welfare considered or their rights as individuals protected. The children even parents of cannabis user’s whether sick or well are not having the rights protected by Police Officers smashing their way into peoples home at all times of the day or night in pointless raids that do nothing to boost respect for the authorities or its institutions,( I have enclosed a letter from my daughter to the court hearing a case against me to further your understanding of this matter, she is from the third generation of my family to suffer state/police home invasion). In fact I suspect cannabis arrests and raids are the single most destructive act that the authorities undertake in the UK today. It costs billions when it should be making them, wastes enormous sums of public money in a war on our own population and the only things it generates is growing resentment and mistrust in both democracy and politician’s “truths”!

Politicians truths brings me nicely to your statements that cannabis has no medical value.

Why was £10 million handed over again; the absurdity of this claim is with out comparison, as is the hypocrisy. The UK Government are to put it blatantly engaged in an attempt to privatise and illegally monopolise the medical cannabis industry here in the UK and beyond, they are hand in glove with GW pharmaceuticals who are “housed” at Porton Down and still, I believe involved with the criminals of Hortipharm NL.

Our government is willing to allow citizens of all the countries that signed the Schengen agreement to consume natural cannabis as a medicine in the UK yet criminalise UK residents to protect commercial interest; “Politicians truths” appear to be great big fat stinking lies! Perpetuated to protect the vested interest of their partners in a criminal conspiracy to control medical cannabis whilst denying cannabis is a medicine or has any medical properties, then using that augment as an excuse for destroying the lives of the sick and needy via criminalisation, a sicker, sadder conspiracy is hard to imagine but then again we are talking about British politicians aren’t we!

The most worrying aspect of this whole situation is that you may already know all this and are still prepared to continue the lie, while I will spend the rest of my life, as the last 20 years, being prosecuted for producing the kinds of seeds bought from Hortipharm NL and hence prevented from doing my own research, earning a living and having a life.

I am in court again tomorrow and may not be going home to my wife and family!

Yours Sincerely

Mr P S Walsh
Cannabis Criminal


My dad has always grown plants, for as long as I can remember; chillies, tomatoes, cucumbers etc but his fascination was cannabis. The only difference between the first and last of those plants is that giving a jar of hot chilli sauce to a friend is a totally acceptable friendly gesture, whereas giving them anything made from the latter of those could lead to the both of you being arrested. Said friend may appreciate each gift equally, and they may in fact do themselves more harm putting too much chilli sauce in their dinner but one is illegal and the other isn’t.

The fact that my dad grew cannabis has never been a secret in our household, it has never been something that you “must not tell the children” or a “guilty secret”, there has always been utmost honesty. I have never felt that it was something to be ashamed of or that it was in any way wrong. In fact, the only time that Cannabis, its use or cultivation, has had any sort of negative impact on my life is on the occasions where the local police force have raided my family home.

From the age of four or five, for a good few years afterward, I was frightened of the police, and would cower behind my mum or whichever adult I was with should we happen to see a police officer in the street. I didn’t see the police as the people who were there to protect me, or people to be trusted. If I had gotten lost in a shopping centre, a police officer would have been the last person I went to for help.

The reason for this I can trace to the first time I remember the police raiding our home; it was late evening and they were searching the loft. Being a five year old, I was asleep in bed at the time, and was woken up by the noise of people stomping about in the loft above my room. Not knowing what was happening, I went searching for my parents, as any child would, in the process being tripped over, bashed into and nearly knocked down the stairs by lots of people in black and white uniforms before I was finally able to find my mum. None of the officers thought to move a small child out of harms way, or had thought about the young children in the house (my brother would have been about two years old at the time). At the time I was terrified—the people in the uniforms were something to be scared of, until I was old enough to understand why I was frightened and learnt with the help of my parents not to be. However, 15 years later I can still remember feeling that way and even now I would not be able to honestly say I have any particular faith in the police force, or feel that as an entity they have individual’s best interests at heart.

On another occasion, a few years later, I remember returning from a family holiday to find that the police had raided the house while we had been away; that upsetting enough in itself, but finding the things that been damaged and destroyed while we were away was even more upsetting. Our cat had died a while before, and I had built a sort of “shrine” where she was buried with a statue and flowers. The police had emptied the contents of a garden waste burner over the top of her. I also had a lemon tree, which I had been growing for a few years, from a seed I got out of a lemon from the supermarket. It was nearly as tall as I was, and I used to like going down to the greenhouse to see it and smell the lemony leaves. When we had gone on holiday, it was in a standalone hydroponic system, growing happily, and when we came back it had been ripped out of its pot and tossed to one side, for no conceivable reason. Both seem like fairly minor incidents, in the grand scheme of things, but I remember being in tears to find my cat’s grave destroyed and my tree purposefully killed, with the only conceivable reason being spite.

It would be easy to say that my dad growing cannabis is what caused me all these various upsetting situations as a child, but I feel it would be more accurate to say it was the criminalisation and ceaseless persecution not only of the growers and users of this particular plant; but also their families.

In contrast, I could list various things that I would consider direct, positive consequences of my dad’s growing and use of cannabis. Cannabis has never been the big, exciting mystery that it was to many of my peers while I was growing up. The “drugs education” we received in school did little to inform us about drugs, their dangers and their effects; indeed they consisted mostly of odd exaggerated scare story that all the pupils immediately dismissed as a falsity. The general line was “don’t do drugs, drugs are bad”.

All this seemed to do was create a great sense of mystery and fascination about cannabis and drugs in general. The reason many of the people I knew at school first tried cannabis was because they thought it was something really brave and grown-up; a great way of “being bad”. They only wanted to do it because it wasn’t allowed. A lot of people also succumbed to peer pressure over Cannabis at that age for the same reason. Many thought it was a good way to look cool, or as a way to satisfy their curiosity about what it did and felt they could not ask an adult about it as most of them were afraid of getting in trouble.

In my case, I could ask an adult, and find out that it really wasn’t all that exciting. This meant I never had any interest in trying cannabis at school to “look cool” because it didn’t seem like some kind of wild act of rebellion—just a normal part of life, like how your parents drink coffee in the morning.

My dad has always said to me that when you’re young, your brain hasn’t finished developing and your hormones are all over the place, is probably not a great idea to take drugs of any kind, even alcohol.

The most recent raid on our house happened when I was away at university, and I first heard that it had happened through a friend of my dad’s. At the time, my brother was studying for his AS levels, my mum was in the middle of chemotherapy cancer treatment. My dad was spending a lot of time at home to look after her, he had shut his shop and was trying to run his company as an internet site which I had been involved in creating. When I spoke to my mum on the phone, I could tell that the chemo was making her extremely ill just from her voice, she was in immense pain and a lot of the time was not able to even leave her chair, she is a teacher and has always been a very active, positive person, so it was clear that she wasn’t well at all. I know that on some occasions she had eaten small amounts of cannabis extract made by my father (similar to Sativex) in order the ease the pain caused by the chemo, which made her feel a lot better and offered some relief from what she was going through.

I feel that if you had the means to help someone feel better, even just for a little while, you should and to choose not to would be wrong. Cancer is a hugely upsetting and stressful thing for any family to deal with, my dad’s arrest at this point and the forced abandonment of my mum while on the first day of one of her chemotherapy treatments served to add more stress, she was left unattended for several hours before my younger brother came home from college and made her some food. Arresting my dad at this point did not help or protect anyone.

My dad appeared on a BBC television show about cannabis, in which he spoke about some of the contaminants often found in cannabis bought on the street (as opposed to something you have grown yourself, which you can control the strength of and know is not contaminated with dangerous substances!). This kind of topic is never raised in drugs education, in schools for example, when speaking about cannabis. It’s common knowledge that most people will try cannabis at some point in their life, but instead of teaching people about things to look out for such as contaminants—like the crushed glass my dad demonstrated. Drug “education” is geared towards prohibition, not education of any practical use. I learned nothing about the dangers of inhaling crushed glass in cannabis in any formal drugs education, but instead through my dad’s knowledge; because of this, I was able to pass such knowledge onto other people I know who do use Cannabis from time to time.

Governmental policy would it seems rather simply criminalise people, thus creating various difficulties for them throughout their life and careers. I feel the kind of knowledge my dad has and willingly shares physically protects people’s health.

From what I can see, his life and livelihood is constantly harmed by over-zealous drug policing, when he does not cause, or attempt to cause, any harm to anyone. In his day to day life, he would always go out of his way to help people.

Since my dad was arrested, he has said to me that he does not feel like he can expect to have any sort of real life in this country, as he is under the constant threat of prosecution and arrest. He even feels that the only way to allow my mum, my brother and myself to have the sort of life he would want us to have is for him to leave the family home and live elsewhere, Spain seems to be allowing a future to people such as him. Surely forcing families apart should not be the ultimate outcome of government policy? What my dad does and has always done does not harm anyone, the treatment he, and we as his family, receive as a result, seems to me to be grossly disproportionate to the “crime” of which he is accused.

Roxanna Walsh

Prepared 8th December 2012