Long-term cannabis activist Winston Matthews has been given a 16 month prison term for cultivating cannabis to treat his chronic back pain.
Mr. Matthews, a 55 year old grandfather who uses cannabis to manage chronic back pain incurred in an industrial accident 33 years ago, was convicted for both possession and cultivation of cannabis. He uses cannabis due to negative side effects from other treatments. Due to prior convictions for cannabis possession and cultivation, and Mr. Matthews’ refusal to stop medicating with cannabis, Judge Matthews handed down a sixteen month sentence. This is despite draft sentencing guidelines being published last week that seek to recognise the growing scientific consensus on the use of cannabis to control chronic pain.
Winston Matthews is a long-term cannabis campaigner and was a prominent member of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance, a pressure group to legalise cannabis, standing as a candidate in several local elections. He has produced much art and poetry and was involved in the setting up of several Dutch-style cannabis “coffee shops” in Britain in the early 2000s.
Winston Matthews himself stated concerning his case: “the Crown Prosecution Service inferred [because I was growing cannabis outdoors] that I was growing for profit. I need that like a hole in the head – this is the first time this has ever been suggested, and it’s not true. I grow for me!”
A spokesperson for the Re:Vision Drug Policy Network said: “Winston Matthews is a dedicated and cannabis campaigner who has used cannabis to treat his painful condition and harmed no-one. He has stated that he has grown cannabis for his own medicinal use, and for this, he has been sent to a Category B prison with prisoners with convictions for burglary and robbery who will be out sooner than Winston himself. This is many things, but it is not justice.”
A Facebook group in support of Mr. Matthews has already gained over 800 members in the last 24 hours. Cannabis campaigners from all over Britain and abroad have been expressing their support for Mr. Matthews, and dozens have already sent letters and emails to the prison where Mr. Matthews is being held.
The Re:Vision Drug Policy Network is a national network of young people speaking out to create the belief that a drug policy based on the ideas of human welfare and human rights is both possible and necessary. We believe in the control and regulation of all drugs, and the democratic control of communities over the availability of drugs in their areas.
- Contact Andi Sidwell for more information:Phone: +44(0)751 712 8024
- Please join the FREE WINSTON MATTHEWS Facebook group here:https://www.facebook.com/groups/327222800656077/
- Mail and money can be sent to:
Winston Matthews A8167CK
HMP High Down Prison
High Down Lane
Surrey SM2 5PJ