Judge doesn’t share ‘benign’ view of cannabis

May 15th, 2021 7:05 AM

The judge fined the defendant €500

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A SCHULL resident who was convicted of cultivating cannabis has received a suspended jail sentence.

Ronan Quinlan (40) of Barry’s Road, Schull was charged with possession of cannabis and the cultivation and possession of the drug for the purposes of sale or supply on November 21th, 2019, at Griselina, Inglenook, Schull.

At a sitting of Bantry Court, Judge Colm Roberts heard that the gardaí had seized what was described as ‘one particularly bushy plant’ with a value of €3,788 and €800 worth of cannabis leaf.

Judge Roberts was also told that, at the time, Mr Quinlan’s view was that the drug was ‘benign.’

Solicitor Eamonn Fleming told the court that his client had pleaded guilty to all matters on November 26th.

Judge Roberts said that while a probation report was ‘very positive’ it was still a concern to the court that just because Mr Quinlan might find growing cannabis a benign act it did not mean that he could break the law. ‘I question that as a reasonable explanation,’ he said.

‘There is a big connection between cannabis with high THC content and mental health. Anyone who disputes that is not dealing with the facts,’ the judge added.

Mr Fleming told the court that his client was not thinking straight at the time. ‘The influence of drugs on the thought process would lead them to rationalise it in that way,’ Mr Fleming said. ‘He was in a haze at this stage.’

Judge Roberts said that only for the guilty plea and the probation report the defendant would be facing a custodial sentence.

He fined him €500 for possession of the drug and sentenced him to a three-month sentence, suspended for two years, with the charge of having cannabis for sale or supply taken into consideration. ‘Benign views do not always have benign consequences,’ Judge Roberts commented.

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