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Torquay man who grew cannabis for pain relief given conditional discharge

A MAN who used cannabis as pain relief has pleaded guilty to growing the class B drug in his Torquay flat.

Stephen Raines, 47, of Willow Avenue, had 29 cannabis plants growing in his utility and airing cupboards when police entered the premises with a drugs search warrant in December last year. Magistrates sitting in Torquay were told Raines admitted the offence at the police station.

He said he did it because cannabis helps him deal with the pain he gets from a medical condition.

Raines suffers from a degenerative back condition called neurofibrosis and was prescribed medicinal cannabis by his doctor until the law was changed in late 2008.

Defence solicitor Paul Dentith said Raines used cannabis purely for medicinal pain relief.

He told the court Raines’s doctor had been prescribing him with cannabis, but at the end of 2008 the law changed and doctors were no longer able to do this.

Mr Dentith said: “He found the cannabis had a greater effect at pain relief than the other drugs he had been given, and he was suffering from an increasing addiction to the opiate-based drugs he was taking.” He added: “GPs were providing this drug when they felt it was appropriate, because of an anti-drugs campaign they can’t.

“This is not one of those cases which warrants a penalty.”

Raines was given a six-month conditional discharge and told he didn’t have to pay any costs.