More MS news articles for Nov 2001

Bitter sweet end for cannabis candies

04 November 2001

SHE put an ounce and a half in every bar. But now Biz Ivol - the Orkney woman who popularised cannabis chocolate - is giving up her career as a confectioner of Class-Bs.

Ivolís deteriorating health means it is no longer possible for her to post free cannabis-laced chocolates to fellow sufferers of multiple sclerosis.

But the 53-year-old, whose home was raided by police in August this year, has passed on her recipe to friends in England, and has vowed to defy the authorities by continuing to grow the drug.

Now friends of Ivol have pleaded with their local MSP - Justice Minister Jim Wallace - asking him to intervene.

Ivol told Scotland on Sunday: "I have begun growing cannabis again. I have plants in the house, and I take some cannabis each night to relieve the pain before I go to bed.

"But, unfortunately, because I canít get out of the house any more, I canít post cannabis chocolates to others. And I donít want to run the risk of getting other people into trouble, so I have been forced to stop sending chocolates away."

Ivol added: "I think Iím really past caring whether they come around and arrest me or caution me or whatever. I think itís crazy that they are making criminals out of harmless MS-sufferers who are otherwise peaceful and law-abiding. Iím hardly the criminal type, I think youíd admit."

Ivol confirmed she had passed her special recipes for cannabis within Belgian chocolate to others in Cumbria and Leicestershire, who were continuing her work in distributing the chocolates.

Ivol added she was unimpressed by the governmentís recent announcement that cannabis was to be reclassified as a Class-C drug, meaning those caught in possession would no longer be arrested.

She said: "This has created as much of a grey area as ever. I can still be cautioned for smoking cannabis. What will they do? Warn me that if I continue they might warn me again? Supplying cannabis to other people who have MS will still be an offence. Itís absurd."

The change in the law does not apply to supplying cannabis, which is punishable by up to two years in jail.

Orkney police say they are still investigating Ivol and her cottage cannabis-chocolates industry, although she has not been charged.

A spokeswoman for Northern Constabulary, based in Inverness, said that their enquiries were continuing.

In Augustís raid, police confiscated Ivolís cannabis, along with her address books. Ivol said the homes of some of the people she had supplied cannabis chocolates to had also been raided by the police.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Scottish Liberal Democrats confirmed that friends of Ivol had approached Jim Wallace to ask if he could help resolve her legal dilemma.

The spokesman said Wallace would not involve himself directly in the matter.

However, the spokesman added that Wallace was sympathetic to those who wished to use cannabis as a palliative.

He said: "Jim Wallace has a long record of backing motions in the Commons to allow the medical use of cannabis.

"Thereís a higher than average incidence of MS in Orkney and Shetland and he has had a number of constituents who have approached him on this issue."