FORMER gamekeeper Russell Seymour, who grew his own cannabis plants because he could not afford street prices, was placed under 6 months’ supervision on Friday.
Seymour, 39, took the drug to relieve the pain he was suffering in his back and arm, St Albans crown court heard on Friday.
Prosecutor Charles Judge said the police could smell cannabis when they raided his home in Eagle Court, Hertford, on 20 July last year. He showed the officers a brown wooden box containing cannabis. In the garden there were two tubs also containing herbal cannabis.
When arrested he said: “It is all for my personal use for my back and arm. I cannot afford street prices.” He said the pain-killers prescribed by his GP were not working.
In an interview he said the pain-killers were opiates that were causing him to suffer “personality changes” and said that taking cannabis was “the better of two evils.”
Seymour appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis at an earlier hearing.
Jeremy Lynn, defending, said Seymour had originally pleaded not guilty to the charge thinking that a jury might be persuaded that his complex medical condition would have given him a legal reason for growing cannabis. But he said he now accepted he was guilty of the offence.
He went on: “He was not in the position of being able to pay for cannabis and started growing it himself. He had no intention of growing it for anyone else. It was for his own use to relieve the pain. “
He said Seymour lived in “modest circumstances” and received £87 a week in benefits.
Judge Stephen Warner told him: “You have got to understand that it remains illegal to grow cannabis, sympathetic though I am to the difficulties of your medical condition.” He passed a 6 month community order with supervision and told him to keep out of trouble.