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Protests over eviction of market trader after medical cannabis arrest



Campaigners are protesting the eviction of a London market trader after police found what is thought to be medical cannabis on site.

Hughie Crawford, who runs Artz Designwear in Tooting Market in London, is facing eviction from the market following a police raid on Saturday 5 September.

During a search of the stall, officers found a quantity of cannabis, which Hughie claims he was using for medicinal purposes.

The 60-year-old, who is suffering from incurable prostate cancer, says he has been using cannabis for several years to treat chronic back pain and now believes it is helping to manage his symptoms.

He was arrested on suspicion of possession of intent to supply class B drugs and has since been released under investigation.

Hughie was later served an eviction notice by the market’s management and asked to leave by Friday 25 September.

A petition has since gathered over 500 signatures and protesters outside Tooting Market on Friday 18 September called for the decision to be revoked due to Hughie’s ‘mitigating circumstances’.

Speaking to Cannabis Health, Hughie said: “I’ve got no chance of doing anything else at the moment. I have just redecorated the unit and my business had actually picked up quite a bit after covid.

“We only reopened in June, having to leave is going to kill me.”

Hughie, who was diagnosed last year, has been told by doctors at Guy’s Hospital that there is no cure for his cancer and surgery is no longer an option.

But he believes that cannabis has helped to prevent it from progressing further.

“I know it’s helping because my PSA levels [the blood test used to screen for prostate cancer in men] used to be very high,” he said.

“It is still high but not as high as should be under the circumstances, and I’m not having any other treatment.”

He believes the law is too harsh on patients who rely on medical cannabis, but can’t afford to fund a private prescription.

“I don’t see myself as a drug user, it’s a medicine for me,” said Hughie, who having given up smoking now blends the plant into smoothies or sprinkles it on his food.

“We get pumped full of drugs every day, people get hooked on prescription drugs that are actually given to you by your doctor.

“Alcohol is one of the worst drugs because it does more damage than anything else.”

He added: “It’s a shame that the Government can’t see a way past this. Other countries have been using cannabis to treat lots of ailments for years.”

In a statement, Wandsworth Police said: “On Saturday 5 September officers from the South West Command Unit executed search warrants under section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act on two stalls at Tooting Market, SW17.

“This followed information received that drugs were being sold at the venues. A warrant was applied for and granted at a magistrates’ court.

“A quantity of cannabis was found at one of the stalls and a man was arrested on suspicion of possession of intent to supply class B drugs; he has since been released under investigation.

“At a subsequent search of a residential property, a quantity of cash was found – this has been seized as part of the investigation.

“In relation to the second stall, no drugs were found and no further action will be taken by police. The stallholder was not arrested.”

Superintendent Roger Arditti from the South West Command Unit added: “Successful neighbourhood policing relies on trust between our officers and the community they serve; this is something we continually strive to maintain.

“In this instance we received concerns that drugs were being sold at a stall in the market. We acted upon this information and our investigation remains ongoing. I would urge anyone who has information about drug dealing, or any other criminality, to contact police so these concerns can be acted upon.”

A spokesperson for Tooting Market commented: “At present, Hughie of Artz Designwear has been asked to leave the market. This is the result of police action. Campaigners for Hughie may not be in possession of all the facts.

“As the investigation is ongoing, we cannot comment further.”







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