|01-22-2004, 10:03 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2001
Man Killed by 23,000 Spliffs
MAN KILLED BY 23,000 SPLIFFS
Jan 20 2004
`First Brit' to die of dope poisoning
By Richard Smith
A YOUNG man has died from cannabis poisoning after smoking around 23,000 joints.
Experts believe Lee Maisey, 36, is the first Briton to die as a direct result of taking the drug.
Cannabis will be downgraded from a class B to a class C illegal drug by the Government on January 29. The move meansmost small-scale users will be let off with a warning.
Leesmoked around six joints aday for 11 years, aninquest heard. A pal found him dead last August on the living room floor of the house they shared.
Lee had complained of a headache the day before. But coroner Michael Howells said hewas free from disease.
The cause of Lee's death was listed as ''cannabis toxicity'' after a post mortem revealed high levels in his blood. The inquest recorded a verdict of death by misadventure because of his illegal drug use.
Experts warned after the case in Pembroke, Wales that cannabis can be much more powerful than users think.
Dr Philip Guy, an addictions expert at Hull University, said yesterday: ''Cannabis is not the nice hippy drug it used to be. It is a lot stronger nowadays.''
Dr Guy added that people who ate the drug rather than smoked it were more at risk.
''If you eat a large amount of cannabis it can be deadly, '' he said. ''I would not be surprised if in this case the deceased had ingested a fatal amount.''
Cannabis has been linked to suicides and fatal accidents. But Lee's case is the first where it has been listed as a direct cause of death.
The Government has always insisted that cannabis is harmful and should not be used.
But Home Secretary David Blunkett says he is downgrading it to class C to help police focus on more dangerous drugs like heroin and crack cocaine.
Blunkett said this week: ''I want to get people off trying cannabis, but I want the education message to be clear: Don't pretend cannabis and crack are the same. They are not.''