20 May A Personal Story

My father will be 78 this year. Since 2003 he’s survived pneumonia which put him in intensive care for 13 weeks, a massive, life-threatening colectomy operation for colon cancer and chemotherapy for lymphoma. Now he has chronic pain from arthritis which an MRI scan has determined is the consequence of age-related deterioration of the spine and is untreatable. It is precisely the sort of indication where medicinal cannabis could prove an ideal therapy.

I am furious to the point of rage that prohibition denies him the opportunity even to try it. And also that he has been subject to so much government misinformation and propaganda that he is genuinely frightened even to consider it.

He is a boy from the valleys made as good as it gets. Until 1938, when the build up to war gave his father regular shifts at the Llanwern steel works, he went hungry every day. He rose to a scholarship at Oxford, became a top commercial solicitor and retired the senior partner of a firm of solictors with offices in Watford and the City. I am proud to be his son.

He has known for many years that I use cannabis. He’s always been tolerant of it. More recently he has seen me devote more and more of my energy to the cause. He has been interested in the research and scientific evidence that I have explained to him but perhaps a little bemused and concerned about the passion that I have for the subject.

He is now in constant pain from his back. He cannot sit in a dining chair for more than 10 or 15 minutes and needs a hot pad continually renewed when he sits in an armchair. His doctor has just prescribed a toxic cocktail of liver-destroying NSAIDs: two paracetamol and two ibuprofen, six times a day.

This week I took the plunge and baked him some cakes. Chocolate fudge brownies each carefully prepared to deliver the standardised medicinal dose of 0.2 g. It provoked his fear and anger. He was terrifed to have them in the house and retired to his bed, castigating my mother and ordering that the cakes and I should be ejected from his property. Naturally, I respected his wishes and the cakes spent the night in my car. The following day the CLEAR Executive Committee enjoyed them for afternoon tea.

He is my Dad and I love him. I think that a little cannabis would ease his pain. I know it couldn’t hurt him. Instead he will suffer without even trying the remedy that I propose. I’m not going to harass him about it. He has enough to cope with.

I blame the wickedness of prohibition. In particular, those cold hearted apparatchiks at the Home Office who, minister by minister, have imposed their cold-blooded, reptilian paralysis on drugs policy – those cowardly, science-denying, undemocratic bureaucrats who have sabotaged drug law reform at every opportunity, who have stymied every reforming instinct of every politician who has ever worked at the Home Office. They are the kiss of death and the most corrupt and disloyal civil servants in Britain. In their conceit and deception they deny relief to those in suffering and I hold them, every one of them, in the deepest and most profound contempt.