LEYTON: 'Medicinal' cannabis user in High Court challenge (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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LEYTON: 'Medicinal' cannabis user in High Court challenge
A DISABLED MAN who claims to use cannabis to alleviate constant pain and nausea will launch a High Court challenge to his prosecution for growing the drug.
Edwin Stratton, 43, of Leyton High Road, suffers from hypersensitivity caused by coeliac disease, which causes an allergy to gluten protein found in wheat.
His condition is so severe that the mere smell of bread is enough to make him severely ill.
Mr Stratton says he found cannabis relieved his symptoms more effectively than prescription drugs, so he started to grow his own plants rather than buy from dealers.
However his small crop, which he insists was only ever for personal use, was discovered by fire investigators when a fire in a wine bar below spread to flats above.
He was later charged with producing cannabis, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years behind bars.
The challenge will claim that the law is contrary to Article 14 of the Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on any grounds.
Speaking after a hearing at Waltham Forest Magistrates’ Court, which was adjourned pending confirmation of the challenge, Mr Stratton explained his stance.
He said: "Drugs legislation intends to protect us from harmful drugs, I absolutely agree with that aim, but the present policy is a disaster.
"It is hardly in the public interest to prosecute a disabled man for mitigating his symptoms.
"I smoke for my health, not to jeopardise it.
"Everybody knows that alcohol is more powerful than cannabis, yet somebody who drinks a glass of wine is not breaking the law, while a person who smokes cannabis to relieve symptoms is."
Mr Stratton formerly played drums in heavy metal band One Minute Silence, but can no longer play because of his condition.
He is due to return to Waltham Forest Magistrates' Court on November 6.