A woman who grew cannabis worth £34,000 ($51,612 USD) to extract hemp oil to act as a painkiller for her dying husband has been sentenced to an 18-month community order after a judge accepted she was not embroiled in a commercial enterprise.
Jeanette Hurst, 58, produced the oil to be used as treatment for her cancer-suffering husband, Roy, Burnley crown court heard.
The hearing was told that Mr Hurst, a former prison and drugs officer, ate the oil with chewy fruit sweets to mask the taste. Hurst said she grew the drug after hearing it would help his condition.
She pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and two counts of possessing cannabis with intent to supply.
Sentencing her to an 18-month community order with supervision and a specified activity requirement, judge Jonathan Gibson said: “It seems to me that the vast majority of cases that I have to deal with involved the growing or possessing with intent to supply with a commercial or similar element and it was sold for profit. This is not that sort of case.”
However, Gibson warned her that if she were to do it again she would likely face a substantial custodial sentence.
Police attended Hurst’s home in Waterfoot in June last year after a tipoff and found a “strong smell of cannabis”. The court heard officers found 1.7kg of cannabis plant material worth £25,000 ($37,950 USD) and another 16 plants were seized that could produce up to £9,100 ($13,814 USD) worth of cannabis.
When interviewed, Hurst told police she was wholly responsible and her husband was “not supportive of her actions or living at the property”.
Prosecutor Louise Cowen said Hurst was upset and said her husband was “dying of cancer and she was trying to make cannabis oil as it was her belief it was proven to help”.
Anthony O’Donnell, defending, said Hurst made “full and frank admissions”. He told the court she had dried and ground the cannabis to ensure the psychoactive THC content was removed and her husband was not left “high or stoned”.