Pubdate: Fri, 11 Jul 2003
Source: Lancashire Evening Post (UK)
Copyright: 2003, Johnston Press New Media
Author: Aasma Day


The former operational head of Scotland Yard's drug squad today praised a
woman who uses cannabis for medicinal purposes for speaking out saying he
backs the argument for legalising all drugs.

This week, the Evening Post has highlighted the plight of Sybil
Lucas-Brewer, of Preston, who relieves her crippling pain with marijuana.
The 48-year-old mum spoke out to defend her right to use the "God given
herb" and appealed for a change in the law which currently labels people
like her as criminals.

Mr Ellison, 59, retired 10 years ago after a varied career in the police

The former pupil of Kirkham Grammar School said: "I am very proud of Sybil
for making the huge step of being so frank and open about her drug use.

"It is just illogical that if someone has found a way of treating their
pain, they are branded as criminals. I personally would like to see all
drugs legalised. But having said that, I am very strongly anti most drugs.
However, I do not approve of the effects of using the criminal law to deal
with drug use.

"Legalisation does not mean we'll all have to take drugs. It doesn't mean
that we even encourage drug taking. It doesn't even mean I approve of drug
use at all.

Originally from Lancashire, Mr Ellisonapplied to join Lancashire
Constabulary, but was turned down after being told he was half an inch too

He joined London's Metropolitan Police and quickly progressed his career
working for the murder and drug squads.

Since retiring, Mr Ellison has been involved as the trustee of a drug
charity and is a patron of a lobby group for changing the drugs laws.

Mr Ellison said: "All the legalisation argument does is present an
alternative policy for reducing the problems caused to society by the
growing use of drugs."

He says keeping drugs illegal causes all sorts of problems such as
presenting a supply monopoly to criminal organisations with high levels of
illegal profits and maintaining a high crime rate.

He said: "In spite of the many years of repetitive official claims, drugs do
not kill.

"Bad drugs kill, bad use of drugs kills, competition between criminal drugs
suppliers kills and lack of supporting resources kills.

"But the evidence is clear, most drugs do not kill and with a more
compassionate, supporting and informed approach, we have a clear chance to
reduce the harm that using drugs can cause to both the user and the wider

"As far as punishing people who use drugs for pain relief, I think it is

"In the UK, almost half the cannabis is home-grown and some people who have
an excess supply it to medical support groups to distribute it to whoever
has an acknowledged medical problem. This is illegal and these people are
labelled serious drug supplying criminals. The system is all wrong." 
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