“My missus got fed up and left. That was three years ago.

“I have been married 50 years this year and now I am going through a divorce. I have got to sell my house and move out.

“That’s life and it’s not easy. But there you go.”

He said that his wife, Bridget, had put up with his long campaign for nearly three decades but finally decided she had “had enough”.

“The house kept getting raided and being searched,” Eric said.

“People were talking all the time and she did not like it.”

Eric has received a string of convictions since he began his campaign.

The convictions began in 1997 when he was handed a nine month suspended sentence for growing and using cannabis.

In 1999 he was locked up for using the drug.

“I did about six or seven months,” he said.

“I quite enjoyed it actually. I went to an open prison with my own room and a key. I helped a young boy to read and enjoyed the company of people.

“I came out and just got on with my life. They left me alone for about nine years.”

This week he was given a 12-month suspended sentence at Swansea Crown Court after pleading guilty to producing cannabis oil.

Judge Paul Thomas told him to find legal pain relief.

Eric redoubled his campaign after his sister died from multiple sclerosis 10 years ago.

“That made me determined to fight for its use as a medicine,” he said.

“I’m not screaming about social use. I just want it to be made available as a medicine.

“She was drugged up and lying there in pain and was like that for a year until she died.

“It just made me determined to get people to understand cannabis is a medicine.”

Video: Eric Mann outside Swansea Crown Court

 

 

 

Eric, from Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, did not know about cannabis oil when she died.

“I would have given June the cannabis oil if I could have,” he said.

“It would have stopped her being in pain. It could have given her a better quality of life. That’s what it does for me.”

Without cannabis he would be “long gone”.

“I contemplated getting rid of myself because I was in so much pain,” Eric said.

Eric discovered cannabis after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. He believes it can be used in treating a range of conditions, including cancer.

In 1990 it was so bad he could hardly move from his chair.

“It was hard to stand that pain,” Eric said.

“I was taking medication but it was getting worse. Then someone said, ‘Have you tried cannabis?’”

It did not take the pain away but it “was more acceptable.”

“And it meant I could get a night of sleep, which I could not do before,” Eric said.

The pensioner has given it to “loads of people.

“They have always benefited,” he said.

“It makes me angry to think people are suffering because of this stupid law.”

He insisted he was not “a druggie” and was not going “to shout defiance” after his latest conviction.

“That would attract attention and I would be penalised,” he said.

“So whatever I do I am going to keep secret.”

Official information about cannabis was “all lies.”

“The problem is that judges and people like that believe it,” he said.

It worked better than legal medicine for him. I’ve not taken pharmaceutical medicines since ‘92,” he said.

“All I take is my cannabis oil. I don’t have flu jabs or anything.”

He has “helped a lot of people” including “friends, family and people I don’t know.”

“I was not selling it,” he said. “I was just giving it to people.”

The dad-of-two was adamant he was not a festival-going hippy.

“I use oil and I mix it with honey. I take a little bit in the morning and some in the afternoon and some at night,” he said.

“I just have it on the end of a tea spoon. I don’t take a lot. I don’t walk around zonked-out all day.”

He did not expect the law to be changed “in my life.”

“I’m not too bad, I keep OK,” he said. “But there is going to be a time when I have to go to hospital or a home. And I don’t intend to do either of those.

“I’ll die before I go in there. I don’t trust doctors because I’ve had lots of problems with them. I’ve lost my faith in the medical profession.”

His run-ins with the law have not left him timid.

“I’m not frightened of policemen or judges,” he said. “I’m not frightened of anyone.”

He called Britain “not a fair society because it has unjust laws.”

But he still appreciates it.

“If I was in the US I would have been sentenced to life in prison,” he said.

“I’m grateful for the place I live in.”

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