By Declan Brennan
A meals on wheels volunteer who began cultivating cannabis herb at home to treat pain has been spared jail.
Noel Tobin told Judge Pauline Codd that he wanted to use cannabis to treat his pain but wanted to avoid having to interact with drug dealers.
He said he was in an awful lot of pain after twice breaking his wrist but was concerned about becoming addicted to painkillers.
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Mr Tobin said he bought the seeds and growing equipment, including heat lamps and silos, all legally from head shops when they were operating in the capital.
Tobin, 46, of Tonlegee Road, Raheny pleaded guilty to cultivation of cannabis at his home on December 14, 2016.
He also admitted possession of cannabis for sale or supply at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
The married father-of-three told Judge Codd: “I knew what I was doing. I didn’t want people coming to the house selling me cannabis.”
Judge Codd imposed a four-year prison term but suspended it in full, stressing that she was not condoning his behaviour.
She said she accepted as genuine his reasons for deciding to use cannabis but said this was improper and criminal.
“The court cannot endorse that. Half the country would be using it as painkillers if that was a proper use for it. It is an improper use,” she said.
Tobin told gardaí that he produced cannabis herb from the plants he had. He said this for his own use but said he did share it with some friends and that people knew he was growing it because “word gets around”.
Garda David Moran said when gardaí went to search the house they found nine plants with an estimated value of €7,200. They also found two jars of cannabis herb, valued at around €4,800.
Tobin has a previous conviction for possession of drugs for sale or supply and in 2007 he received a prison sentence after he became addicted to cocaine and ran up a drugs debt.
Defence counsel said Tobin – who was involved in supplying meals on wheels during the lockdown – has a blind cleaning business which had just reopened.
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