A cancer sufferer who was prosecuted for growing four cannabis plants for medical use today said she was “disappointed” after she was handed a fine rather than an admonishment.
Jacqui Ritchie, 49, was appearing at Aberdeen Sheriff Court for sentencing after admitting producing the plants.
The offence took place at her home in Stonehaven’s Redcloak Drive on March 8 this year.
Mum-of-two Jacqui was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, which turned out to be a rare and aggressive form – triple negative metaplastic breast cancer, with only an estimated 600 others affected around the world.
Jacqui also said she suffered from HER2 cancer and BRCA1 gene mutation.
She needed a double mastectomy and later used cannabis to help combat the side-effects of chemotherapy, mainly using the oil.
During the sentencing hearing yesterday before Sheriff Morag McLaughlin, defence agent Ross Taggart said: “I’m sure you have taken into consideration that she acted with some degree of desperation.”
He went on to say: “She was in extreme pain and anguish.”
On imposing a £450 fine Sheriff McLaughlin said she took into account the “significant mitigation” .
Jacqui had previously said that treatment left her with nerve damage and post traumatic stress disorder.
She is now hoping for a change in the law and was even invited to Holyrood earlier this year to take part in a meeting, along with politicians and other groups, looking at the medicinal use of cannabis.
Speaking after the court hearing, Jacqui said: “I’m a bit disappointed I wasn’t admonished.
“The law does need to change, it’s not fair putting patients through that when using it as a medicine – it’s classed as a superfood.
“I have had lots of support from the medical community in Scotland ever since I first went to Holyrood in April.
“They were all looking at this to see how it was going to go.”
And Jacqui will continue calling for a change in the law, saying: “I’m going to keep on campaigning, I’m not going to change that.
“I need to see if I’m going to live in this country first, because I need treatment and I can’t stay here if this is the way it is going to be.”
By Karen Roberts Evening Express