Articles, Blog

The Forbidden Medicine

January 23, 2020


See, now I’m breaking the law. My name is George Hutchings, I’m 45
years old and I live on the Isle of Wight. I’m married to my wife Rachel,
and we’ve got 3 lovely children. And I’ve got a condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth Type 2. Life on the island to me is lovely, it’s so laid back. When we go over to the mainland,
we can’t wait to get back over here because of the rat race over on the mainland. It’s just the cars, the volume
of people, the…just everything. Everyday life for me, with my condition,
is trying to do as best as I can. C’mon rabbit. Go on. I wake up in the morning, come
downstairs, make a cup of tea, say morning to the kids before they go to school. I go out to my shed, have a little marijuana cigarette. And then, after that, the day is as it comes. It really gets me down sometimes,
it really gets me down and depressed because it’s all been just
sort of taken away from me. It’s only been in the last 5 years
that it’s really hit me hard. Whereas I’ve been born with it, so it’s been in my body all my life, and it’s just suddenly come out now. It gets progressively worse, and it’s a muscle wasting disease. It’s affected my legs first, and I’ve got
a blatant foot drop in both my feet. As you can see my feet are
purple from the poor circulation, and it’s absolutely cold. I’ve also got intense muscle wasting
of my calves and my upper thighs. And they say if it wastes above the knee, which it is, I’m going to be in a wheelchair. Takes 27 seconds to get up here, and when you’re bursting for a pee.. That’s how terrible they are. I’ve got to wear leg splints on both of my legs. That’s a foot plate to stop my feet from dropping. I do this every single day, and I keep them on until I go to bed. I hate being like this. Absolutely hate it, but you get on. You get on with it and that’s why they call me smiler cos
I’ve always got a smile on my face. So this is a week’s worth of prescription tablets that my doctors and GP have prescribed me. Which is like the legal route of my pain. Tramadol, which is a very strong opiate. Quinine Bisulphate, which is to help with my cramps. Pregabalin, which is these ones, which is to help with nerve damage. Zopiclone, which is a sleeping tablet. So each day I woke up, after taking a cocktail of prescription drugs, I would be just a zombie really, just unable to cope. And the stress and harm it does to my
liver and kidneys and other internal organs. So I decided to stop all my prescription tablets, and go to smoking cannabis. My Damnesia Haze. This is what I smoke during the
day, this is what gets me going. Like yesterday, I sort of overdone it a bit, and ended up cleaning the house,
hoovering up, dusting, washing. The wife says to me: ‘slow down, slow down.’ And I says, ‘Naah’, I says… I do as much as I can while I can cos once I’m in a wheelchair,
I won’t be able to do nothing. You know, people say that marijuana makes you lazy. It doesn’t, it just depends on the strains, and it just depends on the person that’s smoking it. It’s brilliant. I find it absolutely
brilliant, a wonder drug. It helps with my cramps in my muscles, it helps with my cramps in my hamstrings, it helps with my spasticity in my legs, it helps me with my diet, it helps me sleep at night. It helps me with my depression
because I get quite down sometimes. It helps me go to the toilet, I find
it the best laxative in the world. I find it helps me with my sex drive. I don’t have to take different tablets to get an erection. I find it more beneficial than any
of the tablets that I am prescribed, that my doctors want me to take, that is legal. Under the ‘Misuse of Drugs Act’
of 1971, they class cannabis, cannabinoids, cannabis resin,
cannabis oil, cannabis in a raw form as there’s no medicinal value at all in it. If you get caught with it, cultivation with intent to supply,
you’re looking at up to 14 years. I grow me own cannabis because.. ..a few reasons really. One is because I don’t like
the stuff you buy off the street. You don’t know what it’s been contaminated
with, you don’t know what kind of strain it is. It’s also very satisfying, it’s like
if you grow your own vegetables. You plant the seed, you grow the seed. You look after that plant until it’s readied for harvest. Then you chop it down, and there’s nothing more
satisfying than eating your own grown product, or smoking your own grown product. You stand there and you look at it and you think: ‘That’s my medication, I grew that.’ I always grow 9 or less because
of the sentencing guidelines. And it’s never enough, it’s never
enough. It always runs out. So I end up having to go out and get it on the streets, which then I don’t know what I’m getting. I don’t like to break the law, it’s just a case of having to
break the law to get a medicine that I know works for me. EU residents are allowed to come into our
country with their prescribed medical marijuana, but it’s not OK for UK residents to do it. I’d love to have an import/export license, so I can go over to Holland and
pick it up, and legally bring it back. I would like my doctors to prescribe it, so I
could go to my local pharmacy and pick it up. When I contacted the Home Office, they said to me you do not need an import/export
license if it’s under 3 months supply, you just need a letter from your prescribing doctor. We’ve just flown in from the UK to Amsterdam with my private prescription. It’s for 60 grams of Bedrobinol. Well, they’ve got the cameras
on the go at the moment, so we’re getting really bad in a minute. I’ve just picked up my medication today, and, when we fly back tonight,
I’m going to openly declare it to HM Customs in the UK The documents I’ll be taking
to the airports with me are: my private prescription from my UK doctor, a medical passport, another form that the Dutch doctors
give me so it can clear customs, and all my doctors’ reports and
diagnoses of my condition. I’m hoping to get through, that’s
the flip of a coin, it’s heads or tails, you know, heads you win, tails you lose. The worst they could do is probably
confiscate the medication. And if they arrest me, then they arrest me,
but I think that’s the worst they can do. It’d be better if I could come through because then I can now let other people
know that they can go ahead and do this. So that’s my motivation for coming over and doing this, it’s just for myself because I’m sick and ill, and for the other sick people across the country. “Where have you come from now?” “Amsterdam.” “What is it that you’ve got?” “I have got…” “So it’s medicine yeah?” “Medication, yeah.” “Right, and it’s prescribed by a doctor?” “By a doctor.” “Have you got a prescription with you?” “Where have you got this prescription from?” “Prescription is from my English doctors.” “What medicine is this? It’s not
like a Class A, or anything?” “Not heroin, cocaine, or anything like that?” “It’s herbal cannabis?” I had to phone on the Red Channel, and then the customs officers from
Southampton airport come through. They searched my bag, took all my paperwork. Just kept us waiting and waiting. After about two hours they’ve come
out and said they’re confiscating it because it’s illegal in this
country, it’s a Class B drug. Even though it’s for medical
matters and not a criminal matter. I’ve just spent a whole week in
Amsterdam trying to get this medication. It cost me 500 euros to get the medication. I’ve come back on the plane,
I’ve cleared all the other customs, but when I come back into the UK, they just.. ..take it off me. Signed a few papers, and they said you’re free to go. But, if it happens again, we will
arrest you, and you’ll be prosecuted. I openly declared it, I can’t understand. I’m hoping the outcome of all this,
what I’ve done over the last few months, regarding trying to get my medication from Holland, is that hopefully they will open
their eyes to this now, and realise that we need this as
a medication, we need this. It’s barbaric the way the laws are in
this country regarding marijuana. Yeah, lovely out here.

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