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U.K. man avoids jail time for growing four cannabis plants in his bathroom

Oct 4, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

Man told that if he reoffends, ‘You’ve got a six-month prison sentence waiting for you’

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A U.K. man with previous drug convictions who has reportedly turned his life around apparently showed enough progress that the court opted against any jail time for growing cannabis in his bathroom.

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Jersey Evening Post reports the 52-year-old accused who pleaded guilty to growing cannabis was handed a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years after four plants were found in his St. Helier home on Apr. 16.

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The man had previous drug convictions for possession of cannabis and other banned drugs, the Magistrate’s Court heard.

  1. As for the toilet-stuffing incident, investigators had warrants issued on charges of trafficking marijuana, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

    Man’s ploy to flush over 20 kilograms of cannabis down the toilet leads him straight to jail

  2. Hidden within the commodes was more than six and a half tons of marijuana. / Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

    Holy crap: Border patrol finds $3 million-plus of weed in shipment of toilets

  3. While searching the residence on Dec. 20, the officers found almost 77.1 kilograms of marijuana, estimated to be worth $174,795, hidden inside a restroom shower. /

    U.S. border guards find cannabis in the can

The accused was cautioned to not reoffend within the suspension period. “You’ve got a six-month prison sentence waiting for you,” the court ruled.

The man’s advocate told the court “there was no commercial aspect to this offence,” and added the plants were solely for personal use.

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Maximum prison terms for possession, cultivation unlikely

Personal use or not, though, recreational cannabis remains illegal throughout the U.K. Possession of a Class B drug like cannabis — other substances in this group include amphetamines, codeine and ketamine — carries a maximum prison term of five years and 14 years for production or supply.

But these maximums are rarely ordered. The U.K.’s Sentencing Council states that factors taken into account to determine an appropriate term include the offender’s role and the harm caused.

The potential sentence for the category offence of growing seven cannabis plants — about twice what the accused was cultivating — and having a leading role in the offence has a starting point of 18 months custody and a category range of 26 weeks to three years custody, the sentencing guidelines note.

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Arguing for a sentence below the custodial threshold, the defendant’s advocate noted in court that his lifestyle had dramatically changed, with the man now abstaining from alcohol and cycling 40 kilometres every two days.

St. Helier appears not to be a hotbed of drug activity, with related offences not cracking the police’s top three reported crimes for July. There were nine assaults without injury, nine miscellaneous violence events and seven shoplifting reports.

The Sutton & Croydon Guardian did report way back in 2015 that a thriving cannabis factory was shut down after police came across the illegal grow. Five years later, Jersey Police arrested two men in Jersey on suspicion of growing and possessing cannabis plants with the intent to supply the drug.

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Legal medicinal marijuana tough to get

Although medicinal marijuana is legal in the U.K., the National Health Service (NHS) notes “due to the limited evidence base and their unlicensed nature, prescribing of cannabis-based products for medicinal use is restricted to only those clinicians listed on the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council.”

NHS further reports “very few people in England are likely to get a prescription for medical cannabis,” pointing out it is currently prescribed in limited cases relating to epilepsy, chemotherapy and Multiple Sclerosis.

Results of a new poll from YouGov show Londoners support decriminalizing cannabis within the boundaries of the capital city by 50 per cent to 33 per cent. Politically, though, 64 per cent of the capital’s Labour voters would support such a move compared to almost half that, 34 per cent, of Conservative voters.

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Support for legalization is higher than indicated in a countrywide Redfield & Wilton Strategies survey released in early 2022. “While a narrow plurality of 38 per cent opposes such a change, 35 per cent conversely say they would support the legalization of cannabis for recreational use,” the poll found.

Courts not always convinced by ‘personal use’ argument

The “personal” use argument has been used in other cases but has mixed results in terms of avoiding jail terms.

A then-50-year-old man in the U.K found that out in early 2022 when he was handed 12 months in jail after pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply.

Beyond the sentence, the man found with a kilogram of weed, also received a stern talking-to from the judge, who reportedly said the man’s motivation for dealing drugs seemed to be greed, not personal use.

Another two U.K. men, one with previous offences on his record, received more than two-year sentences after claiming the approximately 15 kilograms of weed found in a vehicle and private residence in early 2021, most of it contained in vacuum-sealed bags, was for personal use.

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