Pubdate: Fri, 13 Jul 2007
Source: Argus, The (UK)
Copyright: 2007 Newsquest Media Group
Author: Ben Parsons
Bookmark: (Cannabis - United Kingdom)


A wheelchair-bound drug dealer set up a giant cannabis factory in
his home and claimed it was all for his own use.

But Joseph Dymond was spared prison for growing and possessing the
class C drug - and immediately called for the cannabis laws to be
further relaxed.

Dymond, who was paralysed in a car accident aged 17, told Hove Crown
Court yesterday he smoked between one and a half and two ounces of the
drug a week to relieve pain and muscle spasms.

The 36-year-old described the factory at his home as a hobby that grew
out of control.

When police raided his house in Priory Road, Hastings, in January they
found 43 plants and 43 cuttings, as well as specialist lamps and
equipment used to grow cannabis.

DS Anthony Pike, of Sussex Police's Serious Organised Crime unit, told
the court the plants would yield up to 8,816 grammes, or 311 ounces,
of cannabis when fully grown.

He estimated the street value of the cannabis at between UKP5 and UKP10
for a sixteenth of an ounce.

The court heard the total value of the cannabis when harvested would
be between UKP24,000 and UKP49,000.

Dymond, who had four previous convictions for possessing and supplying
cannabis, told the court the amount he expected to successfully
harvest was much lower.

When police searched his flat on January 4 they found 61 grammes of
resin, 68 grammes of skunk and 78 grammes of herbal cannabis in
addition to the plants.

They also seized UKP1,000 in cash which Dymond claimed he was saving to
pay bills, hydroponic lamps, bags of seeds, timer switches and a
watering system.

When he was arrested he said: "I'm not a criminal, I only grow and
smoke my own weed."

But he denied growing the cannabis to sell to others.

Judge Richard Hayward handed Dymond a three-month jail sentence
suspended for a year but left him with a warning.

He said: "You are an engaging chap and the court feels sympathy for

"You can't push the system indefinitely.

"If you continue to grow and supply cannabis to others the courts will
say, 'Enough is enough'."

Dymond admitted possession of cannabis resin and being concerned in
the production of herbal cannabis at an earlier hearing.

He told the court he used the resin to make fairy cakes because he had
the early symptoms of emphysema and wanted to avoid smoking.

He said his prescribed pain relief medication had a "zombifying"
effect, and he preferred to use cannabis.

He said: "The medication is useless, people come round and you can't
even open the door, let alone talk to them."

The court heard he had gradually developed a 12-joint a day habit as
his tolerance of the drug grew.

Judge Hayward said: "That's the trouble, isn't it? You need more and

Dymond said cannabis cultivation had become a hobby.

He said: "I have gone through a few methods finding out what works for

"It evolved over two years. Being housebound, I got into it too

He described how his electricity bill reached UKP400 a quarter to power
the hydroponic lamps needed to produce the cannabis.

He used coconut husks to bed the plants, and bought expensive "guano",
or bat droppings, to use as fertiliser.

Judge Hayward said: "If you're only using one or two ounces a week you
might as well buy it. The cannabis you're smoking must be the most
expensive in the world."

Dymond was shown a notebook containing lists of names and figures
which the prosecution claimed were records of drug deals.

He maintained he did not know what they meant, but suggested they may
have been scores taken down in games of cards.

The notebook contained the names of websites such as
and lists of seed names such as Sharp Shock and Original Misty.

Judge Hayward paused on one page and commented: "Interesting doodle,
that's probably after you have had some cannabis."

Sentencing Dymond, he said the amount of effort and expense and the
number of plants found at the flat meant he did not believe growing
cannabis was simply a hobby.

He said: "I'm satisfied Mr Dymond was supplying others with

"I hope he has not been used by others to do their

"He's cocking a snook at the system, but he can't go on doing

After the hearing, Dymond said he would go on using cannabis rather
than his prescribed medication.

He advocated Amsterdam-style legal tolerance of the

He said: "Cannabis is 5,000 years old. If it popped up now it would be
considered a miracle drug.

"We've got a system that is breaking down. The prisons are full up and
they're trying to put potheads in prison. They let a paedophile out
and put a pothead in."
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