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February 1996 Cannabis News

19th February FIFE MEDICAL USER JAILED
20th February ORKNEY MEDICAL USER HAS SENTENCE CUT
25th February CAITHNESS LIGHTHOUSE GROWER’S CD GETS JUDGE’S BEST WISHES


hemp!
19th February

FIFE MEDICAL USER JAILED

A Fife man who used cannabis to relieve stress has been jailed for 12 months. Graeme Crawford, 35, from Kingsbarns was caught with 38 plants in a well equipped growroom. At the High Court in Forfar, Crawford admitted production, supply and possession of resin, and was sentenced by Lord Cameron. He claimed he began growing his own cannabis plants to save money and stay clear of the criminal drug culture.
Crawford had to give up working offshore in 1992 suffering from anxiety, depression and ME. He said these were post-traumatic stress, as he had been close to both the Piper Alpha and Ocean Odyssey disasters. He had worked as head chef on various offshore vessels and rigs, and had been on ships that had been closely involved in the rescue operations.
hemp!
20th February

ORKNEY MEDICAL USER HAS SENTENCE CUT

A Kirkwall man who used cannabis to relieve symptoms of ME has returned to jail after his appeal failed. The appeal judges did show some mercy by cutting his original six-month sentence in half. Martin Dowell, 26, was caught with a small-scale growroom last July. In December at Kirkwall Sherrif Court he admitted producing cannabis. Taking into account time served before he was freed pending the appeal, he will only spend another few weeks in jail.
Dowell, suffered from ME and had to stop taking prescribed medication because he reacted badly to it. He discovered that cannabis alleviated the symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. The judges agreed that he had not grown cannabis simply to give himself enjoyment but because it eased his suffering. Dowell was a first offender and these mitigating features meant that the original sentence by Sherrif Colin MacKenzie was too long. However Lord Ross and Lord Morrison thought that alleviating ones symptoms was not a justification for breaking the law.

hemp!
25th February

CAITHNESS LIGHTHOUSE GROWER’S CD GETS JUDGE’S BEST WISHES

A musician has had his sentence for growing cannabis deferred for 12 months for a second time. John Sutherland, 51, a local character who campaigned against hard drugs, wrote 13 songs in the past year. They will be included in a new CD to be released in May, and Lord MacLean hopes that it will be succesful!

Sutherland has been a cannabis user for 26 years and considers himself a cannabis connoisseur. He has campaigned for cannabis legalisation in the past and done as much as possible to discourage hard drug use in his home town of Thurso. In July ‘95 he wrote an article for the local John O’Groats paper, which advocated making cannabis more available, so that young people would use it instead of hard drugs.

He lives in a cottage beside the disused lighthouse at Dunnet Head. A search of his cottage uncovered two bags of grass, and sniffer dogs led police to a growroom in the engine room of the lighthouse. It contained 192 plants which were valued at £6690. Last February Lord MacLean deferred sentence for a year, warning Sutherland not to re-offend.

A year later Sutherland returned to the High Court in Edinburgh. He had been of good behaviour in the past year. Lord MacLean pointed out that there had been cannabis growing cases before the courts in that year. Therefore he felt it would be wrong to make a final decision about Sutherland now. Sutherland will be back before the court in February ‘97, but Lord MacLean thought that a years uncertainty will not impose any great hardship on Sutherland.

hemp!


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