SPECIAL REPORT: 'Hundreds' of seriously ill people in Northampton are risking jail to get hold of cannabis
A huge number of people with serious illnesses in Northampton are risking being thrown in prison to get hold of medical strains of cannabis, a source within a secret carers' network has told the Chronicle & Echo.
Hundreds of people with serious illnesses in Northampton are risking being thrown in prison to get hold of medical strains of cannabis, a source within a secret carers’ network has told the Chronicle & Echo.
The 40-year-old activist, claims to know a swathe of carers across the town who are risking prosecution to get hold of marijuana products for the seriously ill, even growing it themselves.
The source suffers from fibromyalgia and said some with conditions ranging from cancer to Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are even meeting with street dealers or buying it across an encrypted internet network known as the dark web because it is not available on the NHS.
He said: “I know of hundreds of people that use cannabis for various different medical conditions.
“They all have to get hold of it through illegal means.”
The man said that the carers are not making any profit from the venture.
“They are giving away tens of thousands of pounds a year to help others and they are at risk of going to jail for years,” he added.
Cannabis is not recognised as having any therapeutic value under the law in England and Wales, and a person can commit any of the range of offences including possession and supply even if they do claims they are producing or taking it for medical purposes.
There is a cannabis-based product – Sativex – which can be legally prescribed but only in limited circumstances.
It is also extremely expensive at Â£375 a pack.
Only one person, 11-year-old Billy Caldwell from Castlederg, Northern Ireland, has ever been prescribed cannabis oil on the NHS.
The 40-year-old man sometimes suffers from brain fog, nausea, sensitivity to light, sound and restless legs.
He experiences severe cramps and pains in his muscles. But he says, while prescription drugs have not worked for him, concentrated doses of cannabis “completely changed” his life.
“I was a typical bloke for years, I just put up with it.
“I couldn’t go to music concerts because of the physical pain it caused me.
“But then I got to the point I could not function.
“I had to go and get it sorted.
“For me, it was about meeting people with cancer, epilepsy, MS, who did use these cannabis concentrates, who explained it to me a bit more.”
The source, who claims to have been a pro-cannabis activist since leaving secondary school at 19, mainly takes concentrated forms of the drug, or hemp oil, in tablet form to ease his leg cramps.
“It doesn’t stop it completely but it reduces it severely,” he said
“It helps me get a good night’s sleep; it helps me get up and do stuff during the day.
“I could be taking something that would eventually cause my liver to fail.
“Or I could be taking something that will, at worst, give me the munchies.”
The source told the Chron that many people are resorting to the dark web to buy cannabis in order to avoid meeting street dealers.
The hidden version of the internet, only accessible through special browsers, allows users to have items delivered to their home. The penalties are severe for anyone whose package is intercepted by police, however.
In recent years research has suggested there could be a link between early cannabis use and later mental health problems in those with a genetic vulnerability.
But the source believes the Government now needs to legalise and regulate the drug to stop stronger strains being sold on the black market.
“The thing about dealers is they don’t care about you,” he said.
“They just want to make money. All the Government is doing is supporting organised crime.”
The Home Office was contacted for comment, but had not responded by the time the Chron went to press.