Jeff Ditchfield is probably the most popular Cannabis activist in the UK, primarily because of the kind of risks that he has taken to make cannabis available to patients who were in dire need. Over the years, he has been threatened with legal action several times, but it has not stopped him from fighting for the cause in which he believes very firmly. A highlight of his career as an activist was to start an organization called Bud Buddies UK Medicinal Cannabis. The organization has emerged as the most promising pressure group that campaigns for the legalization of medical cannabis throughout the UK.
Initial Days Of Activism
Jeff Ditchfield, often called the poster boy of medicinal cannabis, started this journey with a small members-only group that operated for about 5 years before expanding. The group remained in touch with severely ill patients suffering from joint conditions, neurological impairments, systemic diseases, etc., and ensured that medicinal cannabis was supplied to them regularly.
Besides supplying cannabis, the group also played an active role in educating the patients and their families, while also offering all support possible to help them sail through these tough times. These attempts were beneficial in making people self-sufficient and making them realize that cannabis is much more than an addictive psychoactive substance.
Bud Buddies UK Medicinal Cannabis Organization
When the Bud Buddies UK Medicinal Cannabis Organization was formally started, Jeff already had several peers who knew how to cultivate cannabis and distribute it among patients. The only problem was that the government did not acknowledge the positive impact of this cultivation and supply on the patients’ lives, just because cannabis consumption was prohibited as per law.
Even then Jeff and his organization continued teaching others to grow cannabis and make preparations with different concentrations for different medical conditions. It was this training that he provided, along with the constant support, that a community of cannabis cultivators got created who could further help others in doing so.
As stated before, the chances of prosecution were always high because cannabis consumption is liable for a jail term of five years, and supplying it can put you behind the bars for a maximum of 14 years. Even with so much risk involved, Jeff Ditchfield did not back off and continued his members-only group that operated in a small cafe in Rhyl, Wales. Jeff’s role as the mentor of this group was very crucial because none of the patients were formally prescribed cannabis by a doctor, and all of this was self-medication only. While patients were aware of the Misuse Of Drugs Act, their condition was so grave that worrying about legal action was not an option for them either.
From 2004 onwards, Jeff has been fighting legal battles regularly because of being prosecuted for giving cannabis to patients without any supervision. The first case against him was in a Chester court, where he was prosecuted for supplying Cannabis to a multiple sclerosis patient. The prosecution believed that cannabis could have put the patient’s life in danger, as Multiple Sclerosis is a serious neurological condition. Ultimately, the case was closed and Jeff was acquitted because he could prove that cannabis consumption was a ‘necessity’ for that patient, otherwise the condition would have gone out of control.
Court cases continued from thereon and his problems with the police kept on increasing. Frequent raids were made to stop the cultivation and supply of cannabis. In 2007, more cases were filed against him. These cases forced him to stop the operations of the Bud Buddies Medicinal Cannabis Organization in the UK and move it to Spain. However, the organization remained active and conducted a lot of research to support their cause.
After 2015, the legal stance in the UK changed quite a bit, such that the sale of certain CBD products meant for medical use was permitted. Cannabis oils are the most popular products these days. However, the authenticity of the cannabis extracts used in making oils is under question. To ensure that people consume pure cannabis only, the Bud Buddies Medicinal Cannabis Organization has taken up a lot of research activities to prepare cannabinoid concentrated oils that can be beneficial in a range of medical conditions. Jeff Ditchfield himself is at the center of all these activities.
Jeff is touring across the globe in search of the optimum cannabis strains that can be used in preparing concentrated oils. Jeff believes that only one or two strains are being used to prepare oils in the UK today. Moreover, companies are making false claims of using new cannabis extracts just to sell their products. More than 5000 strains of cannabis are being studied by Jeff and his team to isolate at least a few more strains that can have varying effects. This will help in promoting cannabis as a medication for several medical conditions besides anxiety, pain, etc.
In an interview, Jeff said that he is currently in the Caribbean, trying to procure a Cannabis research license from the government. His objective is to find strains that have a higher number of extracts like THC so that a single strain can be used to prepare different mixtures. Moreover, research on all kinds of strains available in a particular region is an ongoing process, which is carried out in the labs of the Bud Buddies Medicinal Cannabis Organization.
Currently, maintaining consistency in research work is the biggest problem faced by Jeff and his team. Jeff also speaks about the lack of interest from big seed companies in carrying out research work. He claims that it’s just a marketing strategy for them to claim that they use hundreds of stable strains for preparing their oils, while in reality they only use one.
Jeff Ditchfield is the Robin Hood of cannabis activism, who has educated people and supplied them with medical cannabis even after being prosecuted several times. It is a proven fact that cannabis is useful in treating hundreds of medical conditions. However, prosecuting patients for using it is a senseless move that makes their condition worse. Activists like Jeff Ditchfield are still actively involved in creating awareness about medical cannabis and ensuring that quality does not get compromised in an attempt to commercialize CBD as a medical product.