Alex Massie

Our Crazy Drug Laws, Part XVI

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As legal entertainments go Man facing jail after reporting his cannabis plants stolen is a pretty good one. The Edinburgh Evening News reports:

Police were called to David Williamson's home to investigate reports that he had been assaulted and robbed.

But after Williamson volunteered that it was two of his prized cannabis plants which had been stolen, suspicious officers got a warrant to search the 34-year-old's Edinburgh home and discovered a further 20 plants.

Williamson was immediately arrested.

The case caused barely disguised mirth among lawyers and officials at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today, when Williamson admitted producing a controlled drug at his Sighthill home in May this year.

Sheriff Isabella McColl gave a wry smile as she asked Williamson's defence agent Robbie Burnett for his client's side of the story.

Mr Burnett offered no explanation for Williamson's unprompted confession to the police who went to his home.

But he revealed his client, who suffers from Hepatitis C, was an authority on cannabis.

"During the course of the interview with police my client demonstrated a remarkably detailed knowledge of cannabis – the different strains and the different purposes to which it could be put," he said.

"Mr Williamson discovered that if he grew a particular strain he could suppress the Hepatitis C.

"His position is that when he is given the opportunity to do so he is hoping to live in Holland, where all these activities are lawful and where he can treat himself without breaking the law."

Let us suppose, however, that there are no such grounds and instead accept Mr Williamson's claim that his plants are for his own use alone then what business is that of the state's or, indeed, anyone else? Mr Williamson's sole "crime" - if we accept his account - is to seek solace from the pain and unhappiness caused by his medical condition. And this is to be thought grounds for incarcerating him? Where does justice lie here?

Of course, the argument does not rest upon Mr Williamson's desire to seek relief from pain. Even if he did not suffer from Hepatitis and was instead only concerned with pleasure what greater business does the state have in relieving him of his freedom for the crime of cannabis cultivation than if he were brewing his own beer for his own personal consumption?

[Hat-tip: the Peat Worrier]

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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