Hartlepool dad avoids jail after growing cannabis to treat long-suffering back pain

A dad risked being sent to prison after growing his own cannabis to relieve long suffering back pain.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 7:00 am

Mark Douglas turned his hand to the illegal activity to self medicate after his GP was unable to help, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The court heard he had suffered over an extended period of time with pain and discomfort and his doctor has been unsuccessful in curing it.

But when Douglas’s daughter went missing and police attended his home they found 40 plants growing in two rooms.

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The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

Paul Cross, prosecuting, said: “As they were on the way upstairs he admitted there was something there which shouldn’t be there and they discovered a cannabis farm.”

“Two rooms were being used. There were 20 plants in each room, a certain amount of equipment; lighting, the meter was bypassed.

“One room full were nearly mature, the others less mature.”

According to a standard police calculation of how much cannabis the plants could have produced, they had an estimated street value of between £11,200 and £33,600.

But the prosecution accepted there was no evidence of any dealing by Douglas, of Waldon Street, Hartlepool.

He told police it was for his own use and he grew a second crop as he thought the first was not succeeding.

Douglas, 49, admitted one count of producing a class B drug November 18, 2019.

Judge Jonathan Carroll said he had sympathy for his condition but told him: “Just because your GP can’t fix it doesn’t mean there’s nothing medical services can do.

"What you don’t have the option of doing is growing significant quantities of cannabis in your own home because it’s illegal to do so and it’s illegal for good reason.”

Apart from the potential danger to Douglas’s property and his neighbours from tampering with the electrics, Judge Carroll said home grown cannabis was also damaging to a person’s mental health.

He added: “You might make your back a bit more comfortable but at the cost of messing with your head.

"You have put yourself on the edge of a custodial sentence because of the amount of cannabis you were producing.”

Douglas was given a 12-week jail term, which was suspended for 12 months, with probation supervision and a three-month tagged curfew between 8pm and 8am.

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