05 May Judge Isaacs Accepts That Growing Your Own Is A Victimless Crime

Ray Charles, a CLEAR member, received an unexpected visit from the police last September. His partner had been falsely accused of a crime by her employer but in the course of the visit, the police discovered his grow tent which contained 100 seedlings, each 12 – 18 cm tall.

Ray’s grow was actually a joint venture between three friends. Ray himself uses cannabis to treat his arthritis and one of his friends uses it to treat his MS. They’d successfully harvested twice before producing between 15 and 18 ounces on each occasion which they shared between the three of them.

There were two hearings in Halifax Magistrates Court and Ray was sent to Bradford Crown Court for sentencing. The CPS accepted the cannabis was for personal use and there was no question of supply or distribution.

Yesterday, Friday 4th May, Ray stood before Judge Paul Isaacs to learn his fate.

Judge Isaacs, a Crown Court recorder, said he was “astounded” at the number of cannabis growing cases coming before him. However he brushed aside the Crown’s assertion that Ray’s grow would have yielded up to a kilo and said his plants were “the cannabis equivalent of a bonsai tree”.

He then went on to say he was “…dismayed that these cases involving hard working normal folk are making it to Crown Court. Why are they not being dealt with at the magistrates court? It is costing the country fortunes”. He referred to another case he had heard this week involving a teacher and said “…these folk are growing their own rather than fund criminality”.

Judge Isaacs then sentenced Ray to a 12 month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work saying: “You must understand, and I hope the message goes out, even though it appears to be a victimless crime it is still against the law.”

The Halifax Courier reported the case here.

Ray Charles said: “I found Recorder Isaacs to be incredibly fair, impartial and in no way prejudiced by the ‘weed hysteria’. He is a star. I will perform the community service without complaint.”