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UK: Granny Faces Jail Over Cannabis Casseroles
Wednesday 26 Jan 2005
A pensioner who put cannabis in her casseroles to ease back pain became an
unlikely drug dealer after friends developed a taste for her cooking.
Former restaurateur Patricia Tabran, 66, laced her hotpots, cakes and soups
with the drug, professing that it soothed aches left over from injuries she
sustained in a car crash.
Her specialities were chicken and leek pie and lemon and lime cheesecake.
When friends and neighbours in her Northumberland village sampled the fare
they were so impressed they begged her for recipes and a supply of the key
Tabran, who had been using her pension to buy UKP20 bags of cannabis from a
dealer in a Newcastle pub, succumbed to their pleas and took UKP150 each
off a group of friends to do business on their behalf.
Acting on a tip-off, police raided her stone-built cottage and found 242
grams of skunk, a potent type of cannabis, and a quantity of selfsealing
bags. They also seized 31 cannabis plants she had been trying to grow in
her attic. 'They weren't very pleased when I said they couldn't take the
soil or the huge pots because they were mine,' she said yesterday.
Last night Tabran was facing a possible jail term after admitting
possession of the drug with intent to supply.
She has refused to name the friends she was buying for. 'They wanted the
stuff to help them relieve pain,' she said. 'I'd been going on the bus to
Newcastle to get small amounts. It was all I could afford as a pensioner.
That was used in the cooking.
'When I got a chance to get more and help out my friends, I met a
supplier.' She said she was scared. But after a series of rendezvous with
the dealer in coffee shops, he arranged to hand over the drugs.
'I took the envelope with the kitty money and gave it to him. He pulled out
a package from under his coat. It was similar to a gun holster. 'I asked
him if he wanted to count the cash. He said I didn't look like the sort of
person who would want to cheat anyone. He gave me a little bit extra of the
loose stuff.' Bespectacled and wearing a black cardigan, Tabran, from
Humshaugh, near Hexham, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court this week after
pleading guilty at an earlier hearing. She will be sentenced later this
year after probation and psychological reports. Last night she told how the
cannabis helped combat pain from a car crash in which she suffered whiplash.
She also suffers pain from a lower back injury, and arthritic knees. She
said the cannabis even helped relieve tinnitus and the depression she has
suffered since the death of her son in 1975.
'NHS medicines bring me out in a rash,' she said. 'I've been using cannabis
to eat and bake in my food for months since I was introduced to it in
February last year. I am sure the whole village knows about it now.
'I'm a good cook and I used the stuff I'd bought from a pub in Newcastle to
put in stews, soups, curries and chocolate cake and desserts. 'I believe
cannabis should be made legal for medical reasons. It's a natural herb. It
has given me natural pain relief, as it has for my other friends who are
suffering from MS and other conditions.
'If they send me to jail I am going to write a book about the merits of
medicinal herbal cannabis.
'I want people to know NHS medicines are poisoning them instead of treating
'If Jeffrey Archer can write a book in prison, so can I.' Tabran ran the
Zodiac Centre restaurant in Edinburgh with her husband, whom she later
divorced. The couple had two children, a boy and a girl. Her depression
started after the death of her 14-year-old son, Duncan, in 1975. She found
him dead in bed face down in his pillow.
She remarried and had a second son, Colin, now 25, but her husband, David,
died from cancer.
She has two grandchildren but has not had contact with them or her daughter
for several years.
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