15 Feb, 2002
A man who claims to have supplied cannabis to more than 200 people with multiple sclerosis (ms) will appear in court today on charges of supplying the drug.
Colin Davies, 44, from Stockport, will argue that he supplied the drug, from his “Dutch Experience Café”, to alleviate the pain of hundreds of people with ms, arthritis and other chronic pain conditions.
He said that: “There is a moral obligation to provide the drug to people who use it therapeutically"
Mr Davies, who injured his spine four years ago in a work accident, is currently on remand in the hospital wing of Strangeways Prison, where he is being given morphine to ease his pain.
He is being supported by "more than a hundred" people, who have formed The Free Colin Davies Campaign, and who have staged a number of so-called “smoke-ins” outside Stockport police station.
More vigils are planned in support of Colin, whose case has also attracted support from local MEP Chris Davies (no relation to Colin) and North Wales police constable, Richard Brunstrom, who has compared the present cannabis law to the 1920's US policy of Prohibition, describing it as "an unmitigated disaster".
The MS Society said that they are "cautious" about what they call "anecdotal" evidence about the health benefits of taking cannabis.
Spokesperson Adrian Ellis said: "We don't know what the long-term health implications would be to those with ms."
He added that the society could not comment directly on Colin Davies' case but said: “We would encourage authorities and magistrates to treat such cases sympathetically."
Clare Hodges, from the Alliance of Cannabis Therapeutics, said the drug was vital to help alleviate the symptoms of her condition.
"As well as relieving the physical symptoms it also helps to lift your spirits," she said. "It is the only drug that I and many others have come across that treats the whole condition."