Cannabis oil with apothecary jar and wooden judge hammer.

Cannabis oil with apothecary jar and wooden judge hammer.

By Richard Shrubb

Justice in the UK is often luck of the draw. Guy Friedberg, 49, a jeweller from Ayr was lucky with the judge who punished him for growing cannabis plants – she agreed with his plea in mitigation and gave him a reduced punishment. The fact is the law here is an ass.

So, what happened?

Friedberg had just moved from Cornwall to Scotland with his son to run a jewellery shop when his son was diagnosed with cancer. He did his reading as most families do when cancer hits them. This is why he grew cannabis.

The plan for the grow was to produce cannabis oil for his son, who had been using it as an adjunct to his doctor-prescribed medicines and chemotherapy.

Cannabis oil makes you hungry and in getting hungry you put on weight even as the cancer does its damnedest to make you waste away. More flesh – a bigger fight on the cancer’s hands to kill you. Cannabis oil also helps tackle chemotherapy-induced nausea – again, if you’re not chundering your food, so you keep in shape to fight that bastard inside you that’s trying to do you in. It can also aid sleep which is good for the recovery process. These examples are so good even our bonkers government allows pharmaceutical preparations to be used for these symptoms – as long of course, as the money goes to Theresa May and her mates. Any other source is illegal.

Guy Friedberg, a jeweller from Ayr, was punished for growing cannabis plants to make oil for his dying son who has cancer.

Old Friedberg was no super-criminal and left the window to his grow open, right above the busy shopping street where his shop is. The smell of weed makes police snort and squeal with excitement as they can catch someone less ‘clever’ than them so they did a raid. According to the Daily Record, “Police found 28 plants in various stages of growth, depute fiscal Ed Sheeran told the court. They also found grow tents, heat lamps, a water filtration system, an extraction fan, circulating fans, ducting, thermometers and plant food.”

What our porcine pals couldn’t find was evidence of dealing. Friedberg’s defence lawyer said, “It was a misguided, altruistic plan on his part but it did not constitute commercial activity. There were no scales and no tick list.”

Good judge – poor law

Anyone who has had dealings with the police and judiciary here in the UK will soon tell you that there are some great judges and police out there who can be very enlightened. You also get total duffers who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the Bench or the streets.

It seems that Sheriff Mhari Mactaggart is a good type. She could have nailed poor old Friedberg to the wall and chucked him in prison for ‘dealing’ as so many judges have done over the years, no matter the evidence that it wasn’t for commercial use. Instead, she said that the usual baseline fine for the offence is £,1500 but she reduced that to £1,000. For the next 10 months, Friedberg is going to be £100 lighter – no doubt a struggle at times – but he really got off lightly compared to what could have happened.

This reflects the world that cannabis users live in today in the UK. At a NORML UK conference a few years back I was regaled with stories of how people had walked past policemen with lit joints in their hands in Bristol and not one snout twitched – let alone anyone busted. You come to Dorset and they’re so desperately fighting the War on People, er hum, Drugs they’ll have you for a spliff in your house. My father is a retired magistrate and member of the anti-prohibition criminal justice organisation LEAP UK, as are at least two Police and Crime Commissioners I know about.

Thanks to our corrupt laws that basically state cannabis is only safe if our Prime Minister Theresa May sold it to you, you really do rely on having either a cool policeman or a decent judge when hauled before the beak. Wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper just to change the law?

Richard Shrubb

Richard is a marijuana, water sports and electric vehicles writer based in Dorchester, Dorset. Living in Prince Charles model housing estate, Poundbury, he is an avowed republican, community and Labour Party activist. Visit his website at for more about what he does.

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