A psoriasis sufferer who planned to turn home-grown cannabis into a ‘soothing balm’ to treat his condition has avoided jail.
David Whitham, 47, produced 58 cannabis plants worth £2,000 at his home in Great Harwood and was going to mix it with olive oil and nettle sap and also ‘reduce into into butter to put into cakes’, Burnley Crown Court heard.
Whitham, of Church Street, pleaded guilty to producing and possessing cannabis and abstracting electricity and was given an 18-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months.
He was also ordered to pay £250 costs.
Francis McEntee, prosecuting, told the court how officers executed a warrant at his former address on Park Lane in Great Harwood in November last year and found 22 mature cannabis plants and 36 sapling plants spread across the upstairs bedroom and attic.
The prosecutor said officers also found a quantity of cannabis bush in a bedroom and the fridge which were the ‘product of an earlier crop’.
Mr McEntee told the court: “He made admissions in interview to growing the cannabis with the assertion that he would reduce the cannabis into a butter for the preparation of cakes, or indeed into a soothing balm mixed with olive oil and nettle sap to act as relief for psoriasis.
“We might take the point for example that nettles contain histamine.
"I’m not doctor, nor am I a homeopath, but I do note the defendant has no other paraphernalia associated with dealing.
“The view of the Crown is the defendant does have some medical evidence in the form of a letter establishing a long-standing skin condition.
"He has no previous connection with drug dealing.”
Richard Prew, defending, said Whitham’s psoriasis is ‘acute’ and is a ‘very painful and debilitating condition’.
He told the court: “He tried virtually everything else and unfortunately he decided to try the illegal herbal route.”
Sentencing, Judge Beverley Lunt said: “I don’t think a spell in prison would do his psoriasis much good.
"That’s what he should have been thinking, not whether he should grow drugs.
There’s no excuse for growing illegal drugs, ever. It’s a nasty condition, I can see that.
"There are those who have it worse than you and those who have it better than you, but what none of them do is grow cannabis.
"You’ve learned the hard way how bad a decision this was.”