A grandad endured the shame of facing court for growing cannabis to ease the pain of sciatica and arthritis.
At the age of 70, Malcolm Voce had never been in trouble before and was caught when his home was burgled, city magistrates heard.
He turned to the illegal drug after using ibuprofen to reduce the pain of sciatica which had affected him for 40 years, said Emma Wyborn, mitigating. Later the former sign erector developed rheumatoid arthritis in his left hand.
“When he met a friend, there was discussion of their various ailments and he was someone who also suffers from rheumatoid arthritis.
“He said ‘have you tried self-medicating with cannabis for release from those ailments?’ Mr Voce said ‘I am not even a smoker.’ He said that you didn’t have to smoke it. You can put it in your food,” said Miss Wyborn for Voce of Bestwood Road, Bulwell.
Voce began to buy cannabis and found that it worked “almost immediately,” allowing him to stop using ibuprofen. He then decided to grow plants to provide his own supplies.
Miss Wyborn said: “It was not a pleasant experience to go and buy cannabis at an unsavoury location from an unsavoury sort. It was very embarrassing.
“He took the decision to research it online and took the decision to grow it at home. He was very honest and very candid with the police.
“Now he has been brought to court he is very ashamed and embarrassed by the whole situation.
“He has found an alternative source from Holland and Barratt which contains cannabis oil and is a legal substance.
“He has tarnished his character and I don’t believe he will be before the courts again. He has found a legal alternative,” added Miss Wyborn, who said that he had not even told his children.
Voce was given a one-year conditional discharge but must pay £85 prosecution costs and a government surcharge of £20.
Presiding magistrate Roger Speakman told him: “I think the embarrassment and shame are the least of your worries right now. However, we have decided to take into account the circumstances.
“We accept you have been foolishly growing this for personal use. We accept you recognise the error of your ways and accept, perhaps unusually, that you have no intention of repeating this mistake.
“I am sorry you have found this a distressing experience but you brought it upon yourself. There were alternatives and you could have researched that before you broke the law.”
Voce pleaded guilty to producing a controlled drug in Bulwell on December 30 and having 280 grams of it.
Sarah Sanderson, prosecuting, said Voce was away on holiday when police had reports that a burglary was taking place.
“Police attended the property and discovered a cannabis set-up with all the equipment but no growth at that stage. He said that he had been growing it for 18 months,” said Miss Sanderson.
There was no evidence to suggest he was supplying other people and told officers about his arthritis, added Miss Sanderson.
The JPs ordered the destruction of the cannabis and equipment.
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