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French court rejects sick man's cannabis plea

Dan MacGuill · 13 Mar 2013, 10:20

Published: 13 Mar 2013 10:20 GMT+01:00

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“I’ve been condemned – my disease is incurable, and only cannabis can give me any relief,” Dominique Loumachi told French TV TF1, before Wednesday's verdict.

The 40-year-old man has suffered from myopathy – a condition that causes muscular degeneration and chronic pain – since the age of eight, but was put on trial last December for the ‘use and possession’ of cannabis, and had his homegrown plants seized by police.

Loumouchi has been smoking, eating and drinking tea made from cannabis in a ‘state of necessity’ – a legal defence in France which means that a person has no choice but to break the law in order to “escape present or imminent danger” or harm.

But on Wednesday a court in the eastern city of Belfort were unsympathetic to his plight and handed Loumachi a €300 suspended fine.

Loumachi describes himself as a reluctant cannabis user, and told TF1 he was dismayed to be forced to contribute to an “underground economy” in order to buy the drug, since his plants, which were for personal use only, were taken from him by police.

Before discovering cannabis in 1992, Loumachi, who walks with a limp and with the aid of a cane, was a self-described “guinea-pig for science”, undergoing years of onerous medical treatment and taking medications which he claims were ineffective and had dozens of negative side effects.

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Today's verdict might not however be the end of the matter as Loumachi has vowed to take his case to the highest court.

“I will fight to be recognized by the courts, even if it means going to the European Court of Human Rights,” Loumachi told TF1.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

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