Cannabis Campaign: 'Pot eased my anxious son's mood swings'

Why the law is an ass ...
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The Independent Online
IN THE week that saw Jack Straw's son let off with a caution for supplying cannabis, a woman in Sussex is coming to terms with a less lenient ruling, writes Tarquin Cooper.

She too has a 17-year-old son, only he uses cannabis to alleviate terrible mood swings and anxiety, not for recreational purposes. She supplied him with the drug and now fears her conviction for possessing 13 plants with intent to supply will devastate their lives.

Jane Huckell explains: "Last Thursday I was sentenced to 18 months' probation for supplying him the drug. I was told I needed guidance, not punishment, and should be grateful for the light sentence. Now I worry whether I will be able to do a legal executive course I had applied for.

"What has been really unfair on my son is that the court failed to keep his name secret. I promised him all along that it would not be mentioned and my barrister asked that he be protected.

"His name was plastered everywhere. He found out in the press that his father had committed suicide when he was young. I'd never told him because I feared for his condition. Last weekend he was depressed about going back to college. He fears what the other students are going to make of him."

The case highlights the discrepancy in how charges relating to cannabis are dealt with across the country. It also demonstrates how the law fails the people who need the drug for medicinal purposes.

"Cannabis calms him down," Jane continues. "He suffers from mood swings three to four times a week and has difficulty sleeping and eating. His problems are so severe I can't work. At one point I was afraid to leave the house to go to the shop. He has missed so much school.

"Within seconds of smoking cannabis, however, he'd calm down and, quite simply, function. I couldn't afford to buy cannabis off the street so I decided to grow it. This is also safer - I only give him grass which is cannabis in its purest form.

"Since the case he's stopped using it and been put on nasty drugs, which make him look like a junkie."