Being arrested for possession of marijuana or cannabis oil happens to many people in the United States. While some people receive life in prison, laws are becoming more lenient every day thanks to the legalization of weed. But, in other countries, the punishment for possessing weed can be much more severe, and some people even face the death penalty for it.
Using cannabis oil to reduce pain and help with different conditions is something many people advocate for this day in age. We all know its benefits and sometimes it is the only thing that can really help people without being addicted to opioids. But that does not make it legal in many areas, and when people cross that line, it is hard to take back what they did.
That is the very problem Pip Holmes, a 45-year-old man from Cornwall is dealing with as we speak. Holmes was in Denpasar, the capital of Bali for roughly two months before he was arrested for possession of marijuana. The arrest came after Holmes had someone send him 31g of cannabis oil in the mail.
Holmes uses the medical cannabis oil to help him deal with the pain from arthritis. While Medical marijuana is legalized back in his home country, in Bali it is not, and the punishments for possession are very extreme.
According to Trip Savvy, the Indonesian island has three categories for substance use, possession, and trafficking. Group one is seen as the worst offense because they feel these substances are addictive and have no medicinal value- marijuana falls into this category.
Group 1 drugs are viewed by the Indonesian government as therapeutically useless with a high potential for causing addiction. Group 1 drugs merit the weightiest sentences - life imprisonment for possession, and the death penalty for convicted drug traffickers. Possession is punishable by 4 to 12 years' imprisonment, and fines of IDR 800 million to 8 billion (US$89,600 to US$896,000). If the drugs exceed 1 kilogram (for raw drugs like marijuana) or 5 grams (for processed drugs like heroin and cocaine), a maximum punishment of life imprisonment may be imposed. Trafficking is punishable by 5 to 15 years' imprisonment and fines of IDR one billion to ten billion (US$112,000 to US$1.2 million). If the volume of drugs exceeds 1 kilogram (for raw drugs) or 5 grams (for processed drugs), the death penalty may be imposed.
Drugs in Group 1, a partial list: heroin, cocaine, marijuana, hashish, mescaline, MDMA (ecstasy), psilocybin, mescaline, LSD, amphetamine, methamphetamine, opium and its derivatives.”
While Pip Holmes only possessed 31 grams, a little under an ounce, he was caught trafficking marijuana and Bali has been known to crack the whip harder on foreigners who are visiting because they are the ones who abuse the laws more. But it seems that the true amount that Holmes possessed was dramatized by the press, as stated by his family and friends.
On a fundraiser page to help get Pip back home, it is stated that the bottles weighed 28 grams, meaning that Holmes only had 3 grams of cannabis oil at the time. This is a very crucial fact because possession under 5 grams could allow Holmes to spend only a year in a rehab facility and then he would be able to go home.
Pip Holmes has made comments on his current situation since his arrest. While he is currently in a rehab center, depending on his sentence, the father of two could be facing 5 to 15 years in one of the worlds toughest prisons, or even the death penalty.
Holmes said, “I’ve been in Bali for the last two months, exploring this beautiful island. It's been an amazing trip and I’ve been creating some wonderful art. On Monday 3rd December however, it all went terribly wrong when I was arrested for possession of a tiny amount of THC oil. Stupid much? Yes very, very stupid. Marijuana makes a considerable difference to the pain - it's not a leisure activity for me.”
This simple lapse in judgment of bringing marijuana into Bali could potentially cost this man his life, or 15 years of it, and he has two young children waiting for their dad to come home. The fundraiser page shows Holmes with his two kids and really pulls at the heartstrings. It says that there is a team in Bali ready to help Holmes get into a rehab facility, but they really need financial help to make it happen.
There is a heartbreaking message from Pip Holmes on the website as well.
I so wish I could spend this Christmas exchanging gifts and pulling crackers with my loved ones too but as I write these words, I have recently been moved from a cramped Balinese police cell to a rehab facility and although things are looking up, I have no idea what is going to happen to me next. [My family] keep on saying I’m the strongest person they know and I can get through this…But the truth is, I’m afraid. I’ve never been so afraid. It’s hard to be strong when you read the words “death penalty” in the paper in relation to your story. For the last few days, each morning I have woken up in a terrible nightmare. I still can’t believe that I’m here and I feel sick with fear.
Pip Holmes goes on to ask everyone who can to donate to help him be able to see his children again and live the rest of his life. This is an important story that shows how awful the prohibition against marijuana truly is and that the laws need to change, not just in the U.S., but everywhere in the world.
1.Katie Wright Briton 'faces up to 15 years' in Bali jail over cannabis oil. Retrieved December 18, 2018 from https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-46583564
2. A British man arrested in Bali for allegedly smuggling cannabis oil has admitted he has been "very stupid" as he could face the death penalty.. Retrieved December 18, 2018 from https://news.sky.com/story/briton-arrested-for-tiny-amount-of-cannabis-oil-in-bali-could-face-death-penalty-11584507
3.Michael Aquino Drug Laws in Bali and the Rest of Indonesia. Retrieved December 18, 2018 from https://www.tripsavvy.com/drug-laws-in-indonesia-1629332
4.Amy Fleming Cannabis health products are everywhere – but do they live up to the hype?. Retrieved December 18, 2018 from https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/oct/15/cannabis-health-products-live-up-to-hype-cannabidiol-cbd
5.Thomas Conlin Briton held over ‘medicinal’ cannabis oil faces 15 years in Bali jail. Retrieved December 18, 2018 from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/briton-held-in-bali-over-3g-of-cannabis-oil-could-face-death-penalty-l2zrvkdnc
6. Briton held in Bali after being found with cannabis oil admits he was 'stupid'. Retrieved December 18, 2018 from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/british-man-pip-holmes-held-drug-smuggling-bali-cannabis-11042710
7. Help us raise $100,000 (US) for Pip’s legal and rehabilitation fees so we can get him back home to his children.. Retrieved December 18, 2018 from https://getpipbackhome.co.uk/