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April 1996 Cannabis News


April 6th


Two country PCs made a drugs swoop after spotting pot in a window and seized a PLASTIC cannabis plant. Willie Ross and Ian Shepherd thought they had found a big time dope baron when they spied the plant. But when they returned with a search warrant all they found was a plastic replica. A colleague told The Sun that "the poor guys are having their legs pulled over this at every possible opportunity. We doubt if they'll ever be allowed to live it down."
The drugs raid made a column in the British Police Federation magazine where bobbies make fun of themselves. "It's become big news among police forces all over the UK. The boys in Auchterarder are brilliant at telling the difference between Aberdeen Angus and Fresian cows, but we've had to advise them to be more careful when they try to identify illegal plants."
Friday 12th April


A man who imported and supplied cannabis free of charge to sick people in the north of Scotland has escaped a jail sentence. Martinus Van der Lee, 50, was sentenced to three years probation, after pleading guilty to possession and supply the previous week.
Van der Lee was busted in Fochabers, returning from a regular trip to Holland, with a kilo and a half in the engine compartment of his car. When police searched his house they found a further quarter kilo. The police received an anonymous tip-off which the defence believed came from a Peterhead drug dealer angry that his market had been undercut by charity.
Van der Lee is a dedicated carer for his disabled wife Kathleen, who suffered suffered horrific and permanent injuries in a car crash in 1991. He began buying cannabis to treat her violent mood swings and uncontrollable shaking.
The couple lived in the north east fishing town of Peterhead. Word spread quickly, and people with stomach cancer, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis came to Van der Lee, a former merchant navy chef, to obtain free cannabis. Soon he was supplying free medical cannabis to sufferers all over the north-east and highlands.
The defence pleaded that there were exceptional circumstances. If Van der Lee were jailed his wife would have to go into care, and he would lose his carer's allowance. Van der Lee also worked for a number of organisations caring for the disabled, and in 1993 met the Princess Royal, who congratulated him on his work.
After the case Van der Lee vowed to end his involvement with drugs. "I regret what I have done and am grateful for the chance of freedom. I only did it because I love my wife. I have been given the opportunity to stay with Kathleen, and I won't let the judge down." Since the bust he has given her tobacco, and pretended it was cannabis. This still has a positive effect on her mood swings, but now her tremors must be controlled by powerful prescribed drugs with severe side effects.


A north-east man has been taken to court for possessing cannabis with a street value of 10p! Stephen Daly, 24, from Inverurie, pleaded guilty by letter to possessing 0.02 grammes of the drug. He was admonished by Sheriff Graeme Warner at Aberdeen Sherrif Court.
Local police caught Daly with a joint when they searched his home last December. He had only been in the cottage for 5 days - the police had a search warrent for a previous occupant. His friend Richard Strathdee was also caught, with cannabis worth £83. He also pleaded guilty by letter and was fined £100.
A local drugs worker described the prosecution as “ridiculous” and condemed the decision to bring the case before the court. Ian Hyslop of Aberdeen Drugs Action, told the Press and Journal that police time was too valuable to be taken up with investigating the possession of such small amounts of drugs. “If someone had stolen 10p worth of goods from a shop I doubt that a prosecution would follow. Prosecutions are supposed to be in the public interest, but where is the public interest in this case?”
However the fiscal depute Brent Lockie said that Daly had been prosecuted because of a previous drugs conviction. He claimed there was no additional cost to the taxpayer because Daly was prosecuted with Strathdee. But an editorial in the Press & Journal disagreed, and slammed the waste of police and court time. They said the “case would be laughable were it not such a ridulous waste of the efforts of public servants.”


A young Aberdeen mother has been fined £15 for possessing £5 of cannabis. Jacqueline Still, 31, used cannabis for pain relief in preference to prescribed painkillers which left her “doolally” and unable to function as a mother. Just under a gramme of resin was found in Still’s home last December. She has two previous convictions for possession. After the court case she slammed the waste of money in taking her to court and called for cannabis to be legalised.
Still, who has a six year old daughter, has suffered from a degenerative illness all her life. She had her foot amputated when she was 7, and her lower leg amputated when she was 19. Her mother told the Press and Journal she supported her daughter’s cannabis use. “She was allergic to the pills. They made her stump go black, and she was in a lot of pain. I am not very pleased about her using cannabis, but I feel if it gives her relief it is all right. The pills that she gets just make her feel terrible. She is not much good to herself or to her daughter.”
Martinus Van der Lee, the disabled voluntary worker and medical cannabis “good samaritan” slammed the “obscene” case. “I think this is absolutely disgusting. To put an ill woman through something as harrowing as this is beyond belief. Her life is probably unbearable - so why should she not use cannabis to ease the physical and mental pain? It’s time cannabis was legalised in this country, not only for therapuetic use, but also personal.”

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