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Spalding man was growing cannabis for 'medicinal and therapeutic purposes'

A Spalding man growing 150 cannabis plants at home was doing so for his own "medicinal and therapeutic" purposes, a court has heard.

Magistrates in Boston were told today (Wednesday) that Stuart Higgins had lost both his parents to cancer and was producing the drug for its oil, not for smoking or supply.

Nick Todd, prosecuting, said police attending Higgins' home in Matmore Gate on January 21 found two locked bedrooms upstairs. In one was five adult plants with "the usual drug paraphernalia"; in the other was ten seed trays with 150 cuttings.

KIng's Lynn Magistrates' Court (16126066)
KIng's Lynn Magistrates' Court (16126066)

"The police drugs expert declined to examine or do a report," Mr Todd told the bench. "With the number involved he was invited again to look. There has been no reply. So you are left with no expert evidence on weight, value or whatever."

He added: "I can't say he's producing these plants for commercial sale but I must say 150 plants seems a bit like a commercial grow."

Although the flowering top is the "prized" part, the whole plant can be smoked, said Mr Todd.

Police found cannabis plants in Stewart Higgins' home (16126070)
Police found cannabis plants in Stewart Higgins' home (16126070)

Higgins (48) pleaded guilty to producing a class B controlled drug. The court heard that he had a previous conviction for supplying cannabis, for which he was given a suspended sentence in 2015.

Dav Naghen, mitigating, stated the drugs expert did not carry out the examination due to the size of the grow and lack of evidence of supply.

Higgins, he said, was growing the drug for his own personal use and benefit, adding: "All he wants to produce is the oil from it, not the flowering tops. The plants are being grown not to produce that flowering top.

"He's had a health scare, a history of cancer in his family and there's evidence that cannabis oils may be of benefit.

Court news (16126068)
Court news (16126068)

"The oils you can get from Holland and Barrett are quite low strength, so you pay quite a lot for quite a low strength. He was trying to produce stronger oils for his own personal use."

Mr Naghen referred to recent press reports about cannabis oils legitimately being produced in Lincolnshire and said Higgins was growing hemp lawfully under licence for the health industry.

Higgins was given a 12-month community order for 200 hours' unpaid work, fined £530 and ordered to pay £170 in costs and victim surcharge. An order was made for the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and paraphernalia.

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