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Gardener who grew cannabis 'needed drug for his osteoarthritis'.

A LANDSCAPE gardener who grew cannabis told a court that he needed the class B drug to help with the pain of his osteoarthritis.

Simon Christopher Raison, 46, admitted producing cannabis and possessing herbal cannabis and cannabis resin when he appeared at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court.

Raison, of Glancammarch, Beulah, Llanwrtyd Wells, was only caught when he overtook a car only to end up in the path of an oncoming police vehicle on the night of March 6. Officers pulled their car around and when they stopped Raison in his Ford Fiesta they could smell cannabis coming from the vehicle.

On finding herbal cannabis inside the car they then searched his home to reveal an unsophisticated and amateur small-scale cannabis factory. There was herbal cannabis with a street value of between pounds 4,000 and around pounds 7,000 and resin with a pounds 55 value.

There were 18 cannabis plants being grown in Raison's garage.

"The set-up was basic and amateur," said Richard Ace, prosecuting.

"He said that he smoked it for his arthritic back condition because the medication was making him ill."

Raison admitted having grown cannabis for three years, but only through the winter because the summer was too hot, and using it to alleviate pain for up to 10 years. Ieuan Rees, defending Raison, said: "His condition has worsened over the years and he has been foolish enough to seek to alleviate the pain by smoking cannabis and has been doing that in ever increasing quantities."

He said Raison was now drug-free and was being taught how to manage his pain.

Judge John Curran jailed Raison for nine months, suspended for two years, with 12 months' supervision and ordered him to carry out 150 hours' unpaid work.

A proceeds of crime hearing has been set for November 25.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 15, 2011
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