Free Rob Cannabis is free. At least for now.
The Glastonbury, England hemp shop owner and marijuana activist who won a civic floral display competition with a public planting of cannabis (see CC #25), was charged with marijuana cultivation, possession with intent to supply cannabis, and possession of DMT, hashish, LSD, Ecstasy, and mushrooms, in 1999.
Cannabis was an unusual defendant. He refused to be represented by an attorney, continued to operate his Free Medical Marijuana Foundation medpot dispensary while awaiting trial, and publicly proclaimed himself a “devotee of Shiva” and a “shaman” who viewed use and distribution of entheogenic drugs as a goddess-given right. He changed his name from Rob Christopher to Free Rob Cannabis in 1994.
In 1998, Cannabis brought cannabis into the halls of government in London. He previously served jail time for marijuana offenses, refuses legal representation, and also refuses to pay fines ordered by courts.
Last October, Cannabis was found guilty on all counts. No surprise, considering he told the trial judge that he would not stop providing marijuana or using entheogens.
“Everyone involved in this case, except the original police officer who arrested me, has been very sweet,” Cannabis told Cannabis Culture. “Most of the court personnel, the probation officers, police officers, and even the judge indicated they are supportive of what I believe in. The only nasty moment came when the prosecutor said during the trial, ‘Oh, Mr. Free Rob Cannabis? Isn’t that name a bit out of date? Shouldn’t it be Mr. Free Rob Cannabis LSD DMT Hashish Mushrooms Ecstasy?'”
At his sentencing hearing in November, Cannabis told the court he didn’t believe that drug laws are legal.
“People thought I was crazy,” Cannabis said. “They projected their fears on me, telling me I am going to prison. I don’t want to be imprisoned, but I don’t want to be bound by illegal laws. That’s a prison in itself.”
Judge Stephen O’Malley could have sentenced Cannabis to several years in prison. Instead, Cannabis was sentenced to pay 1000 pounds in court costs and to perform 180 hours of community service.
“I am grateful for not being sentenced to jail, but my belief system says I should not cooperate with drug laws at all,” Cannabis said. “I am questioning whether I should pay the costs or continue performing community service.”
While Free Cannabis wrestles with such dilemmas, he’s expanding his medpot dispensary, which provides free cannabis to indigent sick people.
“It is possible I might be sent to prison for refusing to fulfill the sentence,” Cannabis said. “If so, I’d like to receive donations for a sponsored hunger strike. I also would like donations now so I can continue my medical service.”
Cannabis sees a rosy future for cannabis in England.
“The Tories tried to propose a $100 pound fine for possession of marijuana. There would have been no police record or jail time. Even that was shot down as being too harsh, and some Tory leaders said they’d smoked marijuana and didn’t see it as a crime. Juries are acquitting marijuana defendants, and prosecutors are refusing to prosecute them in many cases. The campaign to free cannabis is quickly moving forward,” said Free Cannabis.