A man caught with £10,000 of the class-B drug has escaped a 15 year jail sentence after hundreds of patients submitted letters to the court in his defence.
Andrew Baines, 46, was arrested after police found him with more than a kilogram of cannabis, including 30 plants with a street value of £10K.
Baines, a father-of-two and a cancer patient himself, supplied hundreds of patients with medicinal cannabis oil and faced a possible charge of possession with intent to supply and production of a controlled drug.
But in a landmark ruling at Grimbsy Magistrates' Court, Baines was spared a 15-year sentence after the CPS decided not to pursue charges, instead giving him a six-month community order, the lowest possible punishment.
Giving her ruling at Grimsby Magistrates’ Court, judge Sue Fortune said: “If the law was different, Mr Baines would have been applauded, not punished. I take the view that a community order is justified in this case, not because of you, but because of the message we must send.”
The ruling comes after hundreds of testimonials were written in support of Baines from people who had used his oil to help with cancer symptoms.
The Independent reports that Belinda Williams was diagnosed with incurable liver cancer but says she was given all clear after using Baine’s oil.
Her husband Russ told the publication: “I made contact with Andy and our lives have not been the same since. Andy did not hesitate and set about helping us. We offered to pay him, but he refused point-blank. We are now 13 months on, and I am pleased to report that all six of my wife’s tumours have gone, and just this week we were given the all-clear.”
Baines, from Lincoln, is a 'Cancard' holder - a medical cannabis card recognised by police. Cannabis-based medicines were made legal in November 2018, to be prescribed only by specialists for patients who cannot be helped by other available drugs. Because it is rarely prescribed on the NHS, patients are known to actively seek it from online and often illegally.
Speaking after the ruling, Mr Baines said: “The outcome was good, but it’s just frustrating that it’s not legalised yet.”
His solicitor Hannah Sampson, said: ‘’I have never seen a six-month community order imposed. If you steal a sandwich from Tesco you get 12 months.’’
“Cases like this are fundamental in taking this back down to grassroots so the police and the prosecution are making the right decisions. They have to differentiate between the medical cases and the county lines cases, where people are trying to profit on the black market of illegal substances, and at the moment the law doesn’t allow for a difference between the two to be drawn.”
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Topics: UK News