Free Cannabis, a gentleman known as Rob Christopher until changing his name by deed poll in 1997, has confessed that for 18 years he has covertly grown cannabis in one of his town’s public flower displays. Cannabis seeds were planted in a tub outside his shop, Hemp in Avalon, on Glastonbury High Street. He remarked that he and others put the seeds in tubs and “They get watered by nature – and the council.” The council waters plants in public displays.
How he got into activism
Cannabis took to activism after his mother died in 1991. Cannabis, the plant, could have saved her: “She would probably still be alive today if cannabis was legal medicine.” He has organised marches, pot giveaways and protests outside police stations. He claims that one police chief inspector admitted a cannabis-smoking habit to him.
In 1997, Cannabis was convicted of possessing 0.05 ounces of the drug and refused to pay the resultant £140 fine because that would be supporting a corrupt system. He earned himself a seven-day gaol sentence. Locked up for 23 hours a day, he witnessed “huge queues” of prisoners waiting to be given drugs: “That’s how the prisons kept control of people: by drugging them. I coined the phrase: ‘It’s not drug-free prisons, it’s free drug prisons.’”
Cannabis’ latest activities came to light after a complaint was made to police on August 16 2016. This TRULY SICK INDIVIDUAL posted to the Facebook page of the Glastonbury community, complaining of the “typical police,” to whom xe had reported the presence of cannabis in a plant pot in front of Cannabis’ shop, leading to a phone call saying the matter would be investigated, but “surprise, surprise, it’s still there.”
The council actually swung into action within 24 hours. Constable Stuart Ball, Glastonbury’s beat manager, informed the Indie that a single small plant had been taken away by agents of the council. Cannabis found this “sad and shocking,” given the length of time cannabis plants had been there.
Cannabis commented that he was “amazed” that people could be “so excited” about such an affair, terming it “a sad reflection of society’s hemp-phobia.” Cannabis, he added, has so many desirable properties: “It’s a food, it’s used for fibre and fuel. It basically gives you everything you need.”
Cannabis called the illegal status of cannabis “insane,” considering how many illnesses can be relieved by it, oh, yes, and that no deaths result.
At Hemp in Avalon, Cannabis sells hemp, a variety of cannabis which is unfun and consequently legal, for medicinal use, in addition to hemp-based clothes and food, pipes and more. In 1998, he won the council-run Glastonbury in Bloom award for a display which included cannabis vegetation. On that occasion, he was given a 12-month conditional discharge when it was realised just what the plant was.
This individual has featured in several British newspapers, not to mention European television and radio channels. He has made a number of court appearances, where he finds it amusing to hear, “The Crown Versus Free Cannabis.”
In his defence, Cannabis stated that he was not actually growing cannabis because he didn’t water the plant. He also got into trouble in 1998 when he attempted to give a cannabis plant to then-Home Secretary, Jack Straw, whose son caused a ruckus when he sold cannabis to an undercover journo. While Cannabis spent time in gaol, Straw minor escaped with no more than a caution.