Jan 16, 2004
A CANNABIS campaigner on trial for drugs charges yesterday told a jury he had applied for a Home Office research licence to grow the drug.
Jeff Ditchfield, 43, of Rhyl, told Chester Crown Court street cannabis from "dealers and gangsters" was usually so polluted it contained only 5-8pc of the drug.
He told the jury: "I have written to the Home Office asking if I can have a research licence so that I can cultivate and grow it to produce pure cannabis.
"The Home Office are asking for more information and I am still in dialogue with them."
Ditchfield, of Water Street, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of possession of cannabis and canna-bis resin and two charges of possession with intent to supply cannabis and cannabis resin, after police found the drugs in his car on September 6 last year.
Police had executed a search war-rant at his shop, Beggars Belief, at Water Street.
The court heard the shop was equipped to sell "horticultural materials". Asked if this was for growing cannabis, Ditchfield said it could be, but all the equipment was legal and could equally be used for growing any plants.
The jury went out at 3pm yesterday and are expected to deliver ar verdict this morning.
Ditchfield admits the drugs were his and that he would have supplied them to someone who was in genuine medical need. The jury heard his defence is one of "necessity" - that he kept the drug because he genuinely believed it should be administered to someone in pain.
Multiple sclerosis sufferer, excouncillor Glyn Williams, of Caerwys, told the court how Mr Ditchfield had supplied him with cannabis which had given him more relief than any other drug he had been prescribed over 20 years.
Karl Scholz, prosecuting, told the jury: "The outcome of this case is important. You should put aside your own views about whether you think cannabis should be legalised or not, or whether it is beneficial.
"Do you think it is reasonable or necessary that a person not medically qualified should be allowed to maintain a stock of cannabis for him to decide on an application being made to him, whether to prescribe cannabis, and in what quantities.?"
Summing up, Mr Recorder Elgan Edwards, who described Ditchfield as a
"intelligent and likeable man" said: "It is not your role or mine to decide
whether cannabis should be legalised. The fact is cannabis and cannabis
resin is illegal and to supply it is illegal."
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