There seems to be an absence of Justice in many UK courts when it comes to cannabis cases ("Man Grew Drugs in Bid to Cure Back Pain", News and Star, Feb 11)
Surely the mis-use of drugs act was not meant to stop people from growing plants to ease their pains, although the law does seem to give preference to pharmaceutical businesses that produce expensive pills and potions, including the whole-plant cannabis medicine Sativex, sold at too high a price for most people or NHS regions.
In this case, the "guilty" party (guilty without victims), Michael Richardson, according to the News and Star report, was growing cannabis for his own use but had said he may supply excess to his friends. However, the plants were not mature enough so why is the CPS talking about a street value of £6000 and " the prosecution intended to use the Proceeds of Crime Act to claim back any profit Richardson might have made from his crimes" whilst at the same time saying " the prosecution accepted it was not done on a commercial basis" - that does not make sense.
In a Just society, cannabis would be available to people that need it and people would be allowed to grow their own for their own use in their own homes provided no threat or harm was done to others. Take it off the streets and out of the hands of uncontrollable dealers - allow commercial cultivation and supply to adults and control the quality, protect consumers, tax profits and save a fortune on policing.
This case must have cost the taxpayer a lot of money and it has achieved nothing but forcing Mr Richardson to take pills for his back.
Man grew drug in bid to cure back pain
News and Star, Carlisle, Feb 11 2012
A MAN who grew cannabis plants in his bedroom because he thought the drug might cure his backache has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Police found 25 plants in two rooms when they raided Michael Richardson’s home in Barbara Plains, Eden Hall, Penrith.
He told them he had grown them from seed given to him by a fellow trader at Penrith market in the hope that they would help alleviate the back pain he had suffered intermittently since being injured playing rugby for Penrith 30 years ago.
Prosecutor Alan Lovett told Carlisle Crown Court yesterday that Richardson, 53, had grown the plants in an “unsophisticated” propagation system involving fertilisers, timers and lights from his tropical fish tank.
If they had been allowed to mature they could have produced cannabis with a street value of £6,000, he said.
Mr Lovett said the prosecution accepted it was not done on a commercial basis.
He said Richardson had started off growing the plants for his own benefit, but would have gone on to supply some of the drugs to his friends.
Richardson, who still works as a market trader when his bad back allows, pleaded guilty to a charge of producing the Class B drug.
In mitigation his barrister Marion Weir said he was on a cocktail of three painkillers and had hoped that cannabis might be able to help.
He had not had a chance to sample the drug he had produced by the time the police arrested him, she said.
Richardson was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 200 hours’ unpaid community work.
He was also put under an electronically tagged curfew to keep him indoors at home from 8pm to 5am every night for the next 15 weeks.
Mr Lovett told the court the prosecution intended to use the Proceeds of Crime Act to claim back any profit Richardson might have made from his crimes.
But Judge Peter Hughes QC urged him to think again since such action would cost more than the £6,000 that Richardson could be made to pay.
“I strongly urge you to consider whether the benefit to the public of the course you are seeking to take outweighs the possible cost that may be incurred by so doing,” he said.
The judge said that if Richardson had to pay such a bill he might lose his home – with the state then having to pay to find him somewhere else to live.