UK: Pro-Cannabis Groups Condemn Gran's Trial
Source: The Shields Gazette
Date; March 12 2007
Author: David MacLean
PRO-cannabis groups have slammed the conviction of marijuana martyr Patricia Tabram.
The Legalise Cannabis Alliance (LCA), which campaigns for the full legalisation of cannabis, condemned her trial as a 'gross misuse of the law'.
Mrs Tabram 68, originally from South Shields, was last week sentenced to 250 hours' community service and fined £1,000 after being found guilty of possession and cultivation of cannabis plants, which she used in food preparations to ease her medical symptoms.
Alun Buffry of the LCA said: "This is an inevitable but gross misuse of the law – obviously the Misuse of Drugs Act was not created to punish people for growing plants to ease pain.
"Mrs Tabram ought never have been prosecuted, however, once she was at court, where the jury are told by the judge they cannot even consider the medical use of cannabis, they had to return a guilty verdict based on the evidence alone.
He added: "The legal system in this country has let us all down when it punishes people for simply growing cannabis to relieve their suffering, especially when nothing else works as well, as in this case."
Despite a jury taking only 15 minutes to convict her, Mrs Tabram defiantly vowed to continue using the drug.
It was her second drug conviction after she was given a suspended jail sentence for supplying cannabis in curries, casseroles and cakes which she distributed to other elderly and infirm people near her bungalow in Humshaugh, Northumberland.
Police and the Crown Prosecution Service backed the decision to take her to court and she was warned she will be imprisoned if she continues to flout the law.
Tabram said outside court: "I am still going to medicate with cannabis. This court is not fit for the purpose, and I am taking up an appeal and putting in a complaint about the fact I was not allowed to have a defence."
Carlisle Crown Court heard she used the drug to fight the depression she has suffered since 1975 when she discovered her 14-year-old son dead in his bed.