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Life in the sleepy village where cannabis-fan gran enjoys the green, green grass of home.

Byline: By Simon Armstrong

Neighbours of cannabis gran Patricia Tabram have expressed surprise at the attention her choice of cooking ingredient has brought to their sleepy Northumberland village.

As the Chronicle exclusively reported yesterday the 66-year-old is facing jail after she admitting making cannabis cakes to relieve the pain of multiple sclerosis.

In a police interview she admitted she clubbed together with others in a group of elderly people to get cannabis for various medicinal reasons.

Her activities have brought the remote location of Humshaugh into the spotlight as the picturesque hamlet became the subject of a police investigation.

But Mrs Tabram has been boosted by the support she has received from villagers who are sympathetic to her plight.

With attractive stone houses lining the winding road, Humshaugh boasts few amenities to speak of.

A combined post office and shop, the Crown Inn and a church nestle alongside a school, doctor's surgery and village hall.

Fewer people still were venturing outside into the cold weather yesterday, but those who did said they were amazed that one of their residents had been charged with dealing drugs.

The Rev Michael Thompson from St Peter's Church points out that few startling events take place in Humshaugh.

He said: "It's a small village. I've been living here eight years and nothing much happens, to be honest.

"It's a friendly place and fairly tight-knit, I suppose. I wouldn't like to comment on the court case, though, as I don't know anything about it."

It is an opinion shared by the many other villagers as well, as one after another declines to speak out on the record about recent events.

However, many are surprised by the fuss that has been made of the former restaurant owner's drug use.

One middle-aged woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "I don't think in this day and age using a bit of cannabis is such an offence. I can see why someone would take it if it acts as pain relief.

"Humshaugh isn't a place where there's much trouble and you rarely see a police car."

DivorcAe Mrs Tabram says she received widespread support once news of her arrest became public knowledge.

Officers seized 31 cannabis seedlings from the attic of her small bungalow with a street value of pounds 850 and she admitted supplying cannabis to friends who also wanted it for medicinal reasons.

She claims it worked wonders for her MS as well as whiplash injuries that followed a car crash. She also suffers pain from a back injury and arthritic knees.

One friend said: "I absolutely back what she was doing.

"I think cannabis should be legalised for medicinal purposes.

"Although it's illegal, I don't think in this day and age it's the most serious thing to be guilty of using.

"I think the police have been heavy-handed. There are other criminal offences which should be their priority.

"It's not like she was standing on the street, pushing drugs to kids. She was very responsible in the way she used it."

Another friend echoed such sentiments.

He said: "How can a 66-year-old woman be classed as a drug dealer? It's ridiculous. Being arrested and taken to court is a bit much. There's no way it should have gone that far."

Mrs Tabram is due to be sentenced on March 11 after pleading guilty at Newcastle Crown Court last month to possession of cannabis with intent to supply.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 26, 2005
Words:571
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