Photo of a judge's gavel with a cannabis leaf

Photo of a judge's gavel with a cannabis leaf

By Akash Hashmi

A 63-year-old plasterer from Falmouth was caught with 19 cannabis plants and sentenced for two months in prison, suspended for six months.

Stephen Barnes, 63, said he used cannabis for arthritic pain relief, a widely known use for cannabis.

The judge stated to have empathy in this case but still insisted on sentencing him for what was established quite clearly as personal use.

Seems like someone wanted an example to be made, and news outlets love picking up these stories at the courts.

Cornwall Live reported the judge as saying; “There are medicinal cannabis products available from doctors and this is the right way to do it.

“Growing it yourself is the wrong way”.

The judge also mentioned that every time you light a joint you’re breaking the law, which is a little inaccurate considering punishment is for possession and not for consumption.

It’s also extremely ignorant of the fact that a huge population of medicinal cannabis users won’t smoke any of their medicine.

Not all cannabis consumers smoke their medicine

Some users don’t even choose to vaporise cannabis and opt instead to make tinctures, oils, oral solutions and edibles among countless other methods and vectors of consumption.

With all due respect, I don’t think anyone fighting an ailment would deem access to medicine right or wrong simply by their means of access.

With regards to the law, sure it is currently illegal to do so, but the law can be callous to the needs of individuals when money is to be made.

It’s just an awful message given the current state of cannabis in the UK.

The right and wrong way to grow cannabis

Pic of herbal cannabis with a bottle of cannabis oil and pipette.

Saving you and the NHS money by growing herbal cannabis that is not produced by the Tories could land you up before a judge in a British court.

Growing your own medicine is the ‘wrong way’ but spending thousands of your hard-earned pounds on a consultation and a prescription for access to something that might be unsuitable for your needs is the ‘right way’.

Even if we see real decriminalisation of possession and further legalisation of cannabis within the UK, the likelihood of being able to grow your own may slowly be slipping with many leaders in the industry opting against these rights, for obvious reasons.

The cannabis that is correct according to the judge is grown by friends of current and ex-government ministers and huge companies who have somehow managed to gain access to an elusive Home Office licence to produce medicinal cannabis.

It’s all a bit rotten, to be honest, but when hasn’t drug policy in the UK been like this?

The plasterer’s supply would have lasted him six months.

Saving the NHS money with a safer and more effective medication

This is six months’ worth of equivalent medicine such as painkillers going unclaimed from the NHS, which he did mention in a police interview.

His sentence was suspended by six months, but the fact that he’ll have to suffer without proper access to his medicine of choice for up to a couple of months feels quite wrong.

It’s all getting very tiresome, and stories of patients being terrorised are popping up all over the place.

I spoke to Jeff Ditchfield from Bud Buddies who said: “If you are fortunate enough to be able to afford up to £900 for an ounce of bud on private prescription then you don’t have to worry about the Misuse of Drugs Act and Crown Court Judges. It is UK drug policy that should be on trial, not Mr Barnes.”

Photo of Akash Hashmi, journalist.

Akash Hashmi is a Journalism MA student from Sheffield with an undergraduate in Forensic Science. You can follow him on Twitter: @Akashmash.

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