Pensioner Eric Mann given suspended jail term for cannabis

By Chris Bovey

Eric Mann, 71, is given a suspended jail term after admitting growing and supplying the drug

Eric Mann outside Swansea Court.

An OAP has been given a suspended jail term and told to seek a legal means of pain relief.

Eric Stanley Mann, a former coal miner and construction supervisor, also admitted one charge of supplying cannabis to people suffering a variety of conditions including cancer.

According to Wales Online, Mr Mann was forced into retirement in the 1980s by crippling arthritis but “self medicated” using cannabis he grew himself claiming it relieved his pain and allowed him to function when previously he “could not put his socks on”.

Speaking outside Swansea Crown Court, Mr Mann explained he uses cannabis to stop the pain from arthritis, which has has had for 20 years and said that now because of the law he would “have to go back to being in pain”.

The fact the Courts did not send Eric Mann to prison might be seen as a result for some, and I suppose it is perhaps in the same way some might have considered it a result that Alan Turing was not sent to gaol in 1952 for being gay and only had to endure chemical castration at the behest of the British Courts.

While Judge Paul Thomas has shown a degree in compassion in only handing out a suspended prison sentence and admittedly his hands are tied by the law, he has still shown a level of ignorance in his assertion that there is a very good medical opinion why people shouldn’t take cannabis, although he fails to specify what that is other than a vague reference to mental health.

Judge Thomas states week in week out he and others “see the effects cannabis has on people, particularly their mental state”. However, while cannabis can have a negative effect on a very small percentage of the population with underlying mental health issues, the truth is the vast majority of people can take cannabis without adverse effects on their mental health. This is proved by the fact that cannabis usage rates have increased substantially over the last 50 years, yet for example schizophrenia rates are broadly the same. There are millions of people who regularly consume cannabis in the UK – if it has such negative effects on mental health then where are all the people so badly affected?

Throughout the globe there are countess medical professionals and patients who would vehemently disagree with Judge Paul Thomas’ misguided belief that cannabis has no medical value and should not be taken.

Judge Paul Thomas, Swansea Crown Court

Judge Paul Thomas QC

Judge Paul Thomas says he hopes Mr Mann will now look at alternative methods of pain relief, presumably because he doesn’t want him to be in pain, yet what he is essentially saying is instead of using cannabis as a medicine to alleviate pain, he should use less effective pharmaceutical drugs that may have unpleasant side-effects. This is insanity.

I don’t blame Judge Paul Thomas for his misguided beliefs, he has been spoon fed a diet of lies and misinformation about cannabis over the last few decades from politicians and certain elements of the press. He obviously has some compassion in that he didn’t send Eric Mann to prison and says that he hopes he finds pain relief. Let’s hope he can spend time to research effective medical cannabis programmes in countries such as Israel or the USA so maybe next time he lets off patient with a so-called lenient punishment, he can also call on the Government to change the law, rather than make absurd claims worthy of the gutter press about the dangers of cannabis.

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