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The War on Drugs - and the results of it A war against drugs, or against families?

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Old 04-08-2005, 09:20 PM
titantoo titantoo is offline
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Default Guardian:Cannabis case grandmother is spared prison

Cannabis case grandmother is spared prison
Martin Wainwright
Saturday April 9, 2005
Guardian

An unrepentant grandmother who cooked cannabis cakes, soups and casseroles for neighbours and friends escaped jail yesterday after a judge told her that he did not want to make her a martyr. Patricia Tabram, a 66-year-old who has developed recipes for chicken, leek and cannabis pies and cannabis curry since her arrest last summer, said she would continue to take the drug for medicinal reasons, although she would not supply it to others.

"It's far better than any tablets you can get from the doctor," she said as she left Newcastle Crown court for her remote bungalow in the Northumberland countryside. She will also continue negotiations about publishing her biographical cookbook Grandma Eats Cannabis.

Mrs Tabram, who has two children and has led "an eventful life" according to her legal team, was raided in May last year by police who found 8.5oz (242g) of potent "skunk" cannabis worth £854 in her fridge and on her bedside table. They also discovered a set of scales, wraps for taking the drug and 31 cannabis plants in the loft plus one on her hall table.

"Patricia became involved in cannabis in February 2004 as a result of suffering physical symptoms," Stuart Graham, prosecuting, told the court as Mrs Tabram sat quietly wearing her spectacles and a black cardigan and pearl necklace. "Somebody approached her and said cannabis might help her with her difficulties."

She admitted possessing the drug with intent to supply at a hearing in December which was told how she made regular visits to the Byker district of Newcastle before making arrangements for deliveries as large as a "nine-bar" from a dealer in Hexham, nearer to her home.

Carl Gumsley, defending, told yesterday's hearing: "She maintains she will continue taking cannabis and I do not suggest to the court that she has given it up. But notwithstanding her own views, she will not supply it to any other person."

Mrs Tabram has become a minor celebrity since her arrest, but Mr Gumsley said that she had suffered periods of mental illness as well as the physical ailments which prompted her experiment with drugs.

Judge David Hodson, the recorder of Newcastle, said the offence was so serious that only a jail sentence was appropriate, but he had no intention of making her a martyr.

Sentencing her to six months' jail suspended for two years, he said: "People in this part of the world cannot fail to have noticed that you have been caught up in a media circus. It might be that you have been trying to tempt the courts into making a martyr of you. I am not going to do this.

"This offence stems from your belief of the medicinal benefits of cannabis. It is not for me to make any judgment on the debate, which I acknowledge. The fact remains that it is an offence to possess cannabis with an intent to supply."

He warned Mrs Tabram that any repeat of the offence would lead to her serving the six months, and also ordered her to pay £750 legal costs and surrender her cannabis.

She complained after the hearing: "I'm a free woman, but fining me so much money - I am a pensioner and I get a little over £100 a week."

Mrs Tabram said that she had not supplied anyone else with the drug since her arrest and added: "I only got cannabis once for my friends who have similar medical problems. Now a young man has arranged for it to be delivered to their doors."

Northumbria police questioned Mrs Tabram's image as a cosy ex-chef doing a handful of doddery friends a good turn. A statement said: "The set-up at her home bore all the hallmarks of any sophisticated drug dealer. While it was not proven to whom she intended to supply the cannabis, we believe she is a drug dealer in the traditional sense."
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Old 04-08-2005, 09:32 PM
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seansgram seansgram is offline
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There are reports that it does help some illness, and if it is helping her with hers then let her be. Now the friends part I'm not sure of that. If for illness she truly was doing it, then thats a different story, but that could go either way.
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