Taoist monk who claimed he grew drugs to help him quit is back in court over profits

Taoist  monk Mike Martin
Taoist monk Mike Martin

A TAOIST monk who claimed he grew cannabis worth thousands of pounds to help him quit the drug was back in court as prosecutors tried to seize any illegal profits.

Michael Martin, previously made the bizarre claim that he intended to overload his body with the weed to help get off it for good.

The 40-year-old was given a 12-month community order and unpaid work by Teesside Crown Court last September after he admitted growing 28 skunk cannabis plants at his Hartlepool home.

The martial arts teacher was back at court yesterday for a proceeds of crime hearing.

Such hearings are held to determine the amount an offender has benefited by from their criminal activity and how much they have available to pay back.

Prosecuting, David Crook said it had been established that Martin benefited by £8,900 – the lowest estimated value of the cannabis that could be produced by the plants.

But the court heard his only asset was his car worth £150.

The vehicle has since been scrapped, but Judge Tony Briggs made a confiscation order for Martin to pay £150 to the authorities within the next 56 days.

He faces seven days in prison if he cannot pay the money.

The cannabis plants were seized by police and the court later ordered them to be destroyed.

Police uncovered the plants growing in a bedroom when they raided Martin’s home in Wilson Street on April 20 last year.

The court previously herad how they were capable of producing up to 6,300 joints.

The first crop would have been ready in five to six weeks later.

But Martin, who smoked up to 20 cannabis cigarettes a day, said he had planned to beat his addiction by overloading his body with the Class B drug and meditating.

He said he had done the same thing previously with alcohol.

He said that he did not sell cannabis, and it was for his own use.

Martin’s lawyer Martin Scarborough, told the court on the last occassion: “He is a Taoist monk, and as part of his faith the way he would see ridding himself of his addiction is to overload the body with the substance.

“Through that and meditation his body would go through a tunnel, and come out cleansed the other side.”