Mike Cutler, a 63-year-old retired builder from Hastings, East Sussex, made the UK’s most popular newspapers in the summer of 2014. He had been in a fight with cancer for five years at that point, and he was telling those newspapers that it was cannabis that finally cured him.
Let’s back up to 2009, the year Mike was first diagnosed with liver cancer. In November of that year he was given a transplant, and all appeared to be well. However three years later the cancer returned, striking at his replacement liver.
The second time around doctors told Mike that no more could be done. He was sent home to die with a big bag of morphine.
“Finding out I could die was terrible,” Mike later recounted to the Daily Mail. “All I had in those dark days was my laptop, and that’s when I began searching for something else that could help me – I couldn’t accept I was going to die.”
On his laptop he found a movie called “Run from the Cure”:
Says Mike of Run from the Cure: “I found a guy called Rick Simpson who cured his own cancer with cannabis oil.”
So Mike found a supplier of cannabis and started making capsules with the extract. Within three days Mike’s excruciating pain had gone, and he was able to stop taking his morphine.
For the next few weeks Mike’s health continued to improve, until one worrying day when Mike began coughing up what appeared to be blood. Mike went back to his doctor, who told Mike it wasn’t blood… but the doctor couldn’t tell Mike what it was. Mike again took to the internet to solve the mystery, and was shocked when he found the answer: he was coughing up dead cancer cells.
When Mike went for his next biopsy he was told by the doctor that no tumour could be found. He was cancer free.
“When I found out I was cured I was just completely shocked,” Mike told the Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail’s report of Mike’s story chose to omit what Mike said next. The Daily Express, however, did use the quote: “I can’t believe cannabis oil isn’t being used regularly as a treatment. It is a miracle cure. The NHS should use it.”
Mike Cutler: Cannabis Campaigner
In order to legalise this “miracle cure” Mike went to the press with his story, and told anyone who would listen what had happpened to him, and how other cancer patients could heal themselves. Mike also joined the United Patients Alliance where he made this speech in June of 2014:
United Patients Alliance Announcement
During the second half of 2014 Mike’s cannabis-assisted recovery was reported by many other news and health websites, but I heard no more about the man himself until the first week of December. That news, made on the United Patients Alliance Facebook page, was devastating:
“We’re sorry to tell everyone that one of our most outspoken founding members Mike Cutler Passed away today.
Many of you knew and loved Mike – he was a true hero and inspiration for us with out Mikes input the UPA wouldn’t be what it is today. Although mikes liver cancer had gone he developed lung cancer more recently and was not able to get medicine in time.
THIS IS A CALL TO ARMS. Mike would want us to renew our efforts and keep fighting. So many people need this medicine and we have to fight as hard as we can, never forget it is our whole lives we are fighting for!
Please share in Mikes Memory.
RIP MIKE YOU WILL ALWAYS HOLD A PLACE IN OUR HEARTS.”
At first my reaction was shock, naturally, but that shock quickly turned to anger.
Mike had been unable to get hold of more cannabis oil in time and so he succumbed to lung cancer. UK prohibition policies – the UK government’s stubborn refusal to concede that cannabis has medicinal benefits – had killed Mike as much as the lung cancer.
Here is a direct quote from the UK Drugs Minister in 2011, James Brokenshire MP: “Cannabis has no medicinal value”. And here is a home office quote from 2014: “This government has no plans to legalise cannabis or to soften our approach to its use as a medicine.”
So there you have it. The UK government is lying about the medicinal benefits of cannabis, and is complicit in the death of Mike Cutler. We hold them accountable.
Déjà vu: The Tragic Death of Peter McWilliams
This recent tragedy has reminded me of the desperate circumstances surrounding author Peter McWilliams’ death. Peter suffered from AIDS-related non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and found that a few tokes on a joint relieved his severe nausea. However a judge decreed that this particular medicine of choice was unacceptable, and Peter was forced to go without the one thing that helped. Under his bail conditions Peter was also forced to submit to weekly urine tests, to prove he wasn’t using cannabis. On one of those cannabis-free days Peter choked to death on his own vomit.
Peter McWilliams died in 2000, victim of a callous, inhumane system. And now in 2014 Mike Cutler has fallen prey to the same entity. In the 14 years between their deaths, countless others have suffered and died needlessly due to a barbaric law that defies human rights and science. Worse, it denies compassion to those in our society who most deserve compassion: the sick and dying. In the years to come, how many more will suffer and die as a result of this law?
The true crime in Mike Cutler’s case is not the buying and consumption of cannabis – the true crime is an act of brutality by the UK government against a man dying of cancer.
Mike asserted that he would fight to legalise medical cannabis in the UK, and he devoted himself to that goal until the end – but now the baton passes to all of us. We mustn’t let him down.
Lastly, I ask you to please sign this petition.