Alex Massie Alex Massie

More Drug Law Madness

It is the very ordinariness of this case that makes it worth mentioning. From this week’s edition of our local paper, the Southern Reporter:

Unhappy with conventional treatments, Jean Sherlow turned to cannabis in a bid to relieve her pain, Selkirk Sheriff Court heard on Tuesday. The 59-year-old decided to cultivate her own supply at her home, where police found eight plants with an estimated value of £150 each, along with 56gm of the illegal drug, worth £300… “It is not contested by the Crown that she suffers from glaucoma and Crohn’s disease, and it would appear that through her dissatisfaction with conventional treatments, she began to cultivate cannabis at her home,” explained depute procurator fiscal Alasdair Fay. He said Sherlow was fully co-operative with police, admitting she used the illegal drug to help her illness. Defence lawyer Mak Harrower said “rumour” led to police calling at his client’s home as she hadn’t told anyne avout the cannabis plants which were kept in a bedroom cupboard. “This was small-scale and purely for her own use…Her lengthy medical history is the background to ths,” continued Mr Harrower… “She tried cannabis and it seemed to work to relieve her considerable pain, explained Mr Harrower.

The upshot of all this? Ms Sherlow was fined £300. I suppose we should be thankful that the sentence was not more severe than that. But still, what point is there to this kind of prosecution? Even the most zealous drug warrior might be compelled to admit that in as much as there’s a crime committed here it’s a victimless one. Have justice and the interests of society been served? Hardly. Instead, we must presume, this woman now faces a choice between living in pain or sourcing her cannabis elsewhere and, of course, risking a return to the courts.

Is there no end to Drug War absurdity? Seemingly not.

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