Darlington man with arthritis given suspended jail sentence for DIY cannabis set-up

Cannabis plants like these were found in an upstairs bedroom at Philip Newnham's home

Cannabis plants like these were found in an upstairs bedroom at Philip Newnham's home

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

A MAN who began growing his own cannabis in order to smoke the drug for pain relief has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Philip Newnham increased his intake of the drug to such an extent that he decided he would save money by growing it himself.

His barrister Kieran Rainey told Teesside Crown Court that Newnham picked up a viral infection which led to arthritis.

He explained: “It was already a frequent thing for him, but when he suffered this condition he increased his cannabis use in addition to the medication he was on to try and relieve the pain.”

Police found 35 cannabis plants in an upstairs bedroom at the defendant's home in November last year said to be capable of producing 487 grams of the drug worth an estimated £4,870.

Newnham, 44, of Barningham Street, Darlington, admitted a single offence of producing cannabis on the basis that he planned to store the majority of it for his own personal use.

However he accepted that he occasionally sold a small amount to fellow smokers in order to recoup some of the costs of his outlay.

Mr Rainey, who said Newnham paid £30 for the plant cuttings, claimed the defendant's cannabis intake had decreased enormously and his “debilitating” health condition had also improved.

Judge Peter Bowers said he accepted Newnham's explanation, but warned him and others about the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

He told him: “You have got to learn as have others that cannabis is not to be used for pain relief. It is a criminal offence.”

The judge said he was prepared to give Newnham – who has 19 previous criminal convictions - a chance and suspended a nine month jail sentence on him for 18 months.

He said: “You have been given a chance – it is the last chance you will get.”

Newnham, who was warned he would be jailed should he return to court in the next 18 months, thanked the judge as he left the court a free man.

Comments (14)

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9:15pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Homshaw1 says...

But the Police Commissioner wants to supply free drugs to hard drug users. Get together and make your minds up.
But the Police Commissioner wants to supply free drugs to hard drug users. Get together and make your minds up. Homshaw1
  • Score: 2

10:10pm Wed 16 Apr 14

behonest says...

Good decision by the judge. But why are we wasting time and taxpayer's money prosecuting people for minor 'offences' such as this? He's done no harm, so why the heavy hand of the State?
Good decision by the judge. But why are we wasting time and taxpayer's money prosecuting people for minor 'offences' such as this? He's done no harm, so why the heavy hand of the State? behonest
  • Score: -1

5:39am Fri 18 Apr 14

Dr Martin says...

because he broke the law
because he broke the law Dr Martin
  • Score: 9

12:29pm Sun 20 Apr 14

herbmanbob says...

Its all well and good saying its illegal and it shouldn't be used for pain, but many people don't understand that the suicide rate for chronic pain sufferers is an alarming 1 in 7. Cannabis is available on the NHS but just about ALL the prescribing authorities refuse to add it to prescribing formulas. My own pain specialist has said im on the last medication other than morphine which is highly addictive and is not intended for decades worth of use.

Instead of creating more criminals why aren't such judges challenging the government of the availability of cannabinoid based medications. If they didn't work people wouldn't be taking the risks we do to be free of pain..
Its all well and good saying its illegal and it shouldn't be used for pain, but many people don't understand that the suicide rate for chronic pain sufferers is an alarming 1 in 7. Cannabis is available on the NHS but just about ALL the prescribing authorities refuse to add it to prescribing formulas. My own pain specialist has said im on the last medication other than morphine which is highly addictive and is not intended for decades worth of use. Instead of creating more criminals why aren't such judges challenging the government of the availability of cannabinoid based medications. If they didn't work people wouldn't be taking the risks we do to be free of pain.. herbmanbob
  • Score: 8

12:32pm Sun 20 Apr 14

Polymathics says...

“You have got to learn as have others that cannabis is not to be used for pain relief. It is a criminal offence.”

When will the day finally come when uneducated, uninformed individuals such as Peter Bowers are no longer arbitrarily allowed to make judgements like this, on subjects that they know nothing about? Hollow, flat people simply applying the law ex litteris.

The same day, no doubt, when the clueless career politicians that make the law are replaced by those who actually know about the fields they make the law for.

Mr Bowers is the one who needs to learn something here.
“You have got to learn as have others that cannabis is not to be used for pain relief. It is a criminal offence.” When will the day finally come when uneducated, uninformed individuals such as Peter Bowers are no longer arbitrarily allowed to make judgements like this, on subjects that they know nothing about? Hollow, flat people simply applying the law ex litteris. The same day, no doubt, when the clueless career politicians that make the law are replaced by those who actually know about the fields they make the law for. Mr Bowers is the one who needs to learn something here. Polymathics
  • Score: 13

12:40pm Sun 20 Apr 14

piggletpoo says...

The law ain't always right..35 plants is in the jailable bracket. 9 would sufice and will only ever get you fine at worst a few hours community service. Cannabis heals - that can't be helped...
The law ain't always right..35 plants is in the jailable bracket. 9 would sufice and will only ever get you fine at worst a few hours community service. Cannabis heals - that can't be helped... piggletpoo
  • Score: 5

8:02pm Sun 20 Apr 14

NR23Derek says...

"Cannabis is not to be used for pain relief" - despite the fact it works. Denying an ill person in pain a medicine is a form of torture in more civilised countries. This is just sick..
"Cannabis is not to be used for pain relief" - despite the fact it works. Denying an ill person in pain a medicine is a form of torture in more civilised countries. This is just sick.. NR23Derek
  • Score: -9

2:02pm Mon 21 Apr 14

Robert_ says...

Morphine is pain relief. It is an opiate, as is heroin. Lets legalise heroin. That's the argument from dope smokers. It's illegal. Get over it.
Morphine is pain relief. It is an opiate, as is heroin. Lets legalise heroin. That's the argument from dope smokers. It's illegal. Get over it. Robert_
  • Score: 10

2:20pm Mon 21 Apr 14

NR23Derek says...

Robert_ wrote:
Morphine is pain relief. It is an opiate, as is heroin. Lets legalise heroin. That's the argument from dope smokers. It's illegal. Get over it.
Robert, heroin - known correctly as diamorphine - is legal and available on the NHS, but not everyone in pain likes becoming addicted and living the life of a zombie.

Just because something is illegal doesn't mean it's right that it's illegal, nor should people be made to suffer for the sake of maintaining a bad law.

Look up the legal term "Mens rea" - a "guilty mind", the intention to do wrong - and explain how someone seeking pain relief fits into that. Quite simply, they don't.
[quote][p][bold]Robert_[/bold] wrote: Morphine is pain relief. It is an opiate, as is heroin. Lets legalise heroin. That's the argument from dope smokers. It's illegal. Get over it.[/p][/quote]Robert, heroin - known correctly as diamorphine - is legal and available on the NHS, but not everyone in pain likes becoming addicted and living the life of a zombie. Just because something is illegal doesn't mean it's right that it's illegal, nor should people be made to suffer for the sake of maintaining a bad law. Look up the legal term "Mens rea" - a "guilty mind", the intention to do wrong - and explain how someone seeking pain relief fits into that. Quite simply, they don't. NR23Derek
  • Score: -3

4:06pm Mon 21 Apr 14

settheworldonfire says...

Robert_ wrote:
Morphine is pain relief. It is an opiate, as is heroin. Lets legalise heroin. That's the argument from dope smokers. It's illegal. Get over it.
Well said it is illegal and should stay illegal......lock up all druggies...
[quote][p][bold]Robert_[/bold] wrote: Morphine is pain relief. It is an opiate, as is heroin. Lets legalise heroin. That's the argument from dope smokers. It's illegal. Get over it.[/p][/quote]Well said it is illegal and should stay illegal......lock up all druggies... settheworldonfire
  • Score: -6

5:40pm Mon 21 Apr 14

Robert_ says...

NR23Derek wrote:
Robert_ wrote:
Morphine is pain relief. It is an opiate, as is heroin. Lets legalise heroin. That's the argument from dope smokers. It's illegal. Get over it.
Robert, heroin - known correctly as diamorphine - is legal and available on the NHS, but not everyone in pain likes becoming addicted and living the life of a zombie.

Just because something is illegal doesn't mean it's right that it's illegal, nor should people be made to suffer for the sake of maintaining a bad law.

Look up the legal term "Mens rea" - a "guilty mind", the intention to do wrong - and explain how someone seeking pain relief fits into that. Quite simply, they don't.
No bother... make everything that relieves all pain for all people legal. I don't see a problem with that at all.
[quote][p][bold]NR23Derek[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Robert_[/bold] wrote: Morphine is pain relief. It is an opiate, as is heroin. Lets legalise heroin. That's the argument from dope smokers. It's illegal. Get over it.[/p][/quote]Robert, heroin - known correctly as diamorphine - is legal and available on the NHS, but not everyone in pain likes becoming addicted and living the life of a zombie. Just because something is illegal doesn't mean it's right that it's illegal, nor should people be made to suffer for the sake of maintaining a bad law. Look up the legal term "Mens rea" - a "guilty mind", the intention to do wrong - and explain how someone seeking pain relief fits into that. Quite simply, they don't.[/p][/quote]No bother... make everything that relieves all pain for all people legal. I don't see a problem with that at all. Robert_
  • Score: 12

6:06pm Mon 21 Apr 14

NR23Derek says...

Right, not much point in trying to reply to that with an intelligent comment, life is much too short. But just to say, "lock up *all* druggies"? You've got a lot to learn about this subject Robert...
Right, not much point in trying to reply to that with an intelligent comment, life is much too short. But just to say, "lock up *all* druggies"? You've got a lot to learn about this subject Robert... NR23Derek
  • Score: -5

8:15pm Mon 21 Apr 14

behonest says...

Robert_ wrote:
Morphine is pain relief. It is an opiate, as is heroin. Lets legalise heroin. That's the argument from dope smokers. It's illegal. Get over it.
Yes, but just because it's illegal does not make it wrong.

The Tories lead the government, so any and every policy they introduce we should not question or criticise, we should just accept, right? Or just 'get over it' perhaps.
[quote][p][bold]Robert_[/bold] wrote: Morphine is pain relief. It is an opiate, as is heroin. Lets legalise heroin. That's the argument from dope smokers. It's illegal. Get over it.[/p][/quote]Yes, but just because it's illegal does not make it wrong. The Tories lead the government, so any and every policy they introduce we should not question or criticise, we should just accept, right? Or just 'get over it' perhaps. behonest
  • Score: 1

8:57am Tue 22 Apr 14

Robert_ says...

NR23Derek wrote:
Right, not much point in trying to reply to that with an intelligent comment, life is much too short. But just to say, "lock up *all* druggies"? You've got a lot to learn about this subject Robert...
I didn't actually say that.. you are quoting the wrong person. But for what its worth I know a bit about the subject....
[quote][p][bold]NR23Derek[/bold] wrote: Right, not much point in trying to reply to that with an intelligent comment, life is much too short. But just to say, "lock up *all* druggies"? You've got a lot to learn about this subject Robert...[/p][/quote]I didn't actually say that.. you are quoting the wrong person. But for what its worth I know a bit about the subject.... Robert_
  • Score: 20

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