Cannabis Campaigners' Guide News Database result:
UK: Cannabis grandmother sentenced
Wednesday 07 Mar 2007
A 68-year-old grandmother who cooked with cannabis to ease her
depression, aches and pains has been ordered to carry out 250 hours'
unpaid work after she was convicted of growing and possessing the drug.
Patricia Tabram walked free from Carlisle Crown Court, despite being
convicted for a second drugs offence which could yet see her evicted
from her housing association bungalow in Humshaugh, Northumberland.
Judge Barbara Forrester told the grey-haired pensioner she must pay
£1,000 costs as well as carry out 175 hours' unpaid work for cultivating
four cannabis plants and a further 75 hours for possessing powdered
cannabis which she stored in her kitchen and added to cakes, curries,
casseroles and soups.
Outside court, the grandmother of two insisted she would defy the judge
and continue to take cannabis. She said: "I am still going to medicate
with cannabis. This court is not fit for purpose and I am taking up an
appeal and putting in a complaint about the fact I was not allowed to
have a defence. The law and justice do not exist in this country any more."
Tabram, flanked by well-wishers, said she would continue the fight and
was prepared to go to jail. Carlisle Crown Court heard she used the drug
to fight the depression she has suffered since 1975 when she discovered
her 14-year-old son dead in his bed.
It also eased aches and pains which persisted as a result of two car
crashes, she said. She said that adding cannabis to a cup of hot
chocolate gave her five hours without pain. "Five hours - that is better
than relief you get from morphine," she said.
She said she did not want to take prescription drugs, which she claimed
had caused her up to 15 side-effects. Earlier, the judge said she
accepted that Tabram was only growing the drug for her personal use, and
was no longer supplying it to others. She was given a six-month jail
sentence, suspended for two years in April 2005.
But only five months later, officers acting on a tip-off raided her home
and found four cannabis plants growing in her wardrobe. The judge said:
"It is accepted that the cannabis was for your personal use and you used
it to self-medicate. In those circumstances I am satisfied it is not
necessary to impose a custodial sentence, either immediate or suspended."
But she reminded the defendant: "Possession, cultivation or supplying
cannabis, or being concerned with any of those actions, except where
authorised, is a criminal offence which may lead to imprisonment."
The mother of three is a tenant of Milecastle Housing, which said it has
had several meetings with her about breaching her tenancy agreement. A
spokesman for the organisation said a meeting would be held after the
court case to decide whether she should be evicted.
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