Cancer survivor grew cannabis for pain relief

Stephen Young outside the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday. Picture: Courtpix

A lung cancer survivor who said he grew cannabis plants partly for pain relief has avoided going to jail.

Stephen Young, a 46-year-old father of one, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to cultivating cannabis at Glasslynn Apartments, Howth Rd, on October 15, 2012.

The court heard that Young, of Red Archers Close, Baldoyle, went to “elaborate lengths” to shield his daughter from the drugs by renting a room in a different house to grow the plants.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring suspended a two-and-a-half-year sentence on condition Young is of good behaviour and carries out 75 hours of community service.

She said there was “some substance” to Young’s claim that he used the drug partly to deal with pain, as it is administered for pain relief in some countries.

After imposing sentence, she ordered that the crop be destroyed “if they haven’t died already”.

Garda Niall McDonnell told Fiona Murphy, prosecuting, the flat was empty when gardaí raided it. They found 14 cannabis plants, worth €11,200 in total, ready for harvest in an en-suite bathroom, along with drug-cultivation equipment.

A week later, Young went to gardaí and took responsibility for the plants and cultivation equipment, saying the cannabis was for his own use.

Young said smoking cannabis gave him relief from cramps he had after an operation, but that he mostly used it “for recreational purposes”. He said he smoked three or four joints a day.

James Dwyer, defending, said his client was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008 and underwent chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and a lumpectomy. He used to work in construction but is now on disability and suffers from nerve pain.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring noted none of the doctors condemned Young’s use of cannabis as a painkiller.


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