While those of us in the United States are very aware of the differences between legal and illegal cannabis because of the wide variations of laws from state to state, it’s also important to remember that the rest of the world – with a few exceptions – still suffers under full cannabis prohibition; which means no legal cannabis, not even for medical reasons.
Tadas B. is originally from Lithuania but now resides in England, where – according to a survey in 2014 – about 67% of all drug arrests are for cannabis. There, medical cannabis is restricted to a couple pharmaceutical extracts. From Wikipedia:
“Cannabis is illegal to possess, grow, distribute or sell in the UK without the appropriate licences. It is a Class B drug, with penalties for unlicensed dealing, unlicensed production and unlicensed trafficking of up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both. The maximum penalty is five years in prison. It is, however, worth noting that a ‘Cannabis warning’ can be issued for small amounts of cannabis (generally less than 1 ounce of herbal cannabis, or a slightly higher quantity of hashish) if it is found to be for personal use. This entails the police keeping a record, albeit one which carries no fine and does not show up on standard CRB checks. From 2004 to 2009 it was a Class C drug.”
Tadas knows both sides of the “legal” cannabis coin and his story reminds us that people are suffering all over the world.
The Marijuana Times: What ailments do you use cannabis to treat? How do these ailments affect your daily life?
Tadas B: I am a generally anxious person. I’m using cannabis to control my anxiety, depression, panic attacks. I used to control it with pharmaceuticals, but the side effects were much higher than the actual benefit of it. And my back pain I couldn’t ease with any pharma medications; until I replaced all my meds with cannabis.
MT: What were you told about cannabis growing up?
TB: While I was growing up I had been told that cannabis is an evil drug, that cannabis would lead to hard drugs use, etc.
In fact, cannabis has helped me get off hard drugs. I know for a fact that if I didn’t get my hands on cannabis I wouldn’t be able to beat my addiction and would be still using drugs I was addicted to such as heroin today. I’m clean for 7 years now for the first time in my adult life due to cannabis.
MT: What do you have to go through to obtain the cannabis you use and how does it make you feel to have to rely on the illegal market?
TB: To get my cannabis I have to go through hell and stress every day. I never know what kind or sort or quality of cannabis I will get. I work hard to earn my money and often I feel that I’m just throwing it away when I have to buy what I’m getting from the dealer because it’s illegal and I have no choice but to buy whatever I can get from dodgy dealers.
It’s always the problem. And often quality doesn’t meet my expectations and I actually do not know what I’m smoking.
MT: What is your preferred method of cannabis ingestion and why?
TB: Smoking. I’d rather use CBD oil or cannabis cakes, but due to illegality of it I just can’t get my hands on or it’s too expensive for me.
MT: How is your life different now that you have found cannabis?
TB: My life has changed totally. When I’m getting the good quality cannabis my back pain is gone, my anxiety and depression are gone, most importantly it makes me stay away from hard drugs, helps me to sleep good, which I couldn’t do without pharmaceuticals before. It basically has balanced my life, made me a better person, helped me to get my LIFE back on track.
MT: What prescription drugs, if any, were you able to stop using because of cannabis? How does cannabis work better than the prescriptions?
TB: I was using Diazepam, Xanax daily for my anxiety, Mirtazapine for my depression and as a sleeping aid, Co-codamol, Tramadol for my back pain.
The side effects of all these drugs were tremendous, I was always pale, always felt tired, have developed stomach problems from all those medications, the pain in my stomach was so intense that I couldn’t cope with it. And when I started to use cannabis instead — all side effects were gone; I got my own feelings back, good feelings of feeling alive, my depression and anxiety has gone down to a minimum, have raised up as a Phoenix from the ash and got a new chance to enjoy life. I’ve stopped being angry and become generally a better person.
And most importantly it helped me to kick off my heroin addiction which I have tried to do for many years in many hospitals and rehabilitations with all kind of medications and nothing has helped till I discovered the healing powers of CANNABIS.
MT: Have you had any encounters with law enforcement over your cannabis use?
TB: Yes. I have encounters with the law. I have been stopped by police while driving home after visiting the dealer with a smelly stash in my pocket. And police probably have smelled that and searched me and I have a record now. Which makes me feel very bad and sad. I’m not a criminal, I’m a hard-working man, family man, and I have been punished for getting my medication (cannabis).
MT: Are you involved in any sort of activism in your area or state?
TB: Yes, as much as I can. I am involved in activism on Facebook, signing petitions, writing to our MPs about this problem.
But no one seems to want to hear it.
MT: Have you ever thought about moving to another state to gain better access to medical cannabis?
TB: I had been living in Holland for 6 years, so I had no problem to get my cannabis.
At the moment I’m living in UK for the last 7 years and I have great problems and troubles to get my medical cannabis.
I’m always thinking to go back to Holland. I wish it was that easy. Always thinking about moving to where cannabis isn’t illegal. When I’m going on holidays first my priority is — can I get my medical cannabis there? And I choose my holiday destinations based on this.
I wish I could move where medical cannabis is legal.
MT: How important is it to you that legalization comes to your state?
TB: It’s really really very important to me. It basically would dramatically change the quality of my life and well-being and I wouldn’t have to make a criminal of myself, which I’m not.
Are you a medical marijuana patient who medicates illegally? I want to tell your story (anonymously, if you prefer)! Email me at email@example.com and I’ll send you our set of questions.
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