‘Is it better to be illegally alive or legally dead?’
Cornwall, UK – A man who was arrested for growing cannabis plants for medicinal purposes believes the law will kill him, when the Class B drug is keeping him alive.
Philip Antony Bevington, who goes by the name Tony, started growing cannabis plants in his garage to extract both CBD and THC compounds in the plants’ oil as he believes it is what keeps him functioning as a human being.
The 80-year-old, from Camborne, was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney failure two years ago, a condition for which there is not cure and is terminal.
In the face of having to go on dialysis for the rest of his days, the former farmer and horticulturalist, did some research into the so-called medical benefits of cannabis as a pain relief.
When CBD oil purchased legally from shops did not work out for him, he decided to grow his own plants.
“I know I am breaking the law but the law as it stands is an ass. I don’t deal drugs. I have been very open about it and when police officers came to my house and asked me if I grew cannabis, I admitted it and led them straight to it. I don’t even fiddle the electrics like drug dealers do. It was all above board.
“To those who say that cannabis is an illegal drug, I say is it better to be illegally alive or legally dead?”
Tony was a farmer in Helston for 20 years until his first wife died, leaving him and their two children. He says cannabis, which he used to smoke as a younger man, eliminates the pain and balances out his body.
The public school educated man, who worked in Bostwana and Papua New Guinea as a VSO volunteer and on government-funded projects helping build farms for local people, said he tried hydroponics but reverted to good old fashioned soil-in-pots horticulture when the technique favoured by drug dealers failed.
“I’ve grown my own medicine to save my life. There are far more harmful drugs in Camborne to deal with than both an old man who’s dying anyway. I accept that I’m doing something that most people would not do. But I do enjoy life and this is medicine that helps me do that.”
Tony, who met his second wife in Papua New Guinea and had two other children with her who live with him, said it is high time cannabis is decriminalised in the UK when there more than 1.5 million users of the stuff for medicinal purposes and other countries like Canada have already gone down that path.
“Alcohol and tobacco which are perfectly legal drugs are far more harmful to people’s health than cannabis,” he said. “But they are both taxed by government. There is such hypocrisy about it. That’s why I don’t have much qualms about breaking the law.
“For me this is the most moral and ethical route to take.”
Tony believes the Class B drug could prolong his life by 10 years but now that police officers, whom he believes were alerted to his activities by a neighbour, have confiscated his kit and pulled up some 60 plants, he risks a prison sentence if he grows again.
“At my age prison is not an option but I was prepared to be arrested because as it stands I have more to lose than to gain if I don’t take cannabis.”
Asked if he will start growing the stuff again, he added: “The police were prepared to caution me the first time they came round my house.
“But when they came a second time, they were quite aggressive and told me that if they had to be called out to my house again they’d come at 3am and smash my door down.
“I have friends who also grow cannabis so I will have to rely on them. I just hope for a change in the law soon. But sooner rather than later would be better as I don’t have much time left.”
Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed they have visited Tony’s home twice since November last year.
A spokesman for the force added: “During the two visits made by officers in November and January around 60 plants, believed to be cannabis, were seized.
“Police officers carry out their duties following the law which states that it is a criminal offence to possess, cultivate or supply drugs and as such we will take appropriate action.
“While we understand that the legalisation of drugs for medical reasons continues to be subject of many discussions nationally, it is a matter for the Government, not police.
“At this time three people remain under investigation for a range of drug related offences, therefore it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.”