A man who claimed to have started smoking cannabis when he was just eight years old has told a court he now spends up to £100 a day on the drug.
Until now Lee Maddison, 27, has insisted that, despite mental problems that could have been caused by it, cannabis wasn’t doing him any harm and he could give it up any time he liked.
But in court he admitted for the first time that he needed help to give it up.
As Judge Peter Hughes QC was telling him that if he thought cannabis was harmless he was wrong, Maddison interrupted from the dock at Carlisle Crown court and called out: “I realise that I do need help.”
Maddison was arrested after police found cannabis in the caravan in which he lives in Coalfell Avenue, Raffles, Carlisle.
In court he pleaded guilty to simply possession of the class B drug.
A probation officer told the judge that in the past it had been impossible to help Maddison give up drugs because he would not admit he had a problem.
“He doesn’t believe he needs help to get off cannabis because he thinks he can do it at any time he chooses,” he said. “But until he does it is more likely than not that he will keep reoffending.”
After hearing that Maddison suffered from psychiatric problems Judge Hughes told him that they were probably caused – or made worse – by his prolonged use of cannabis.
“You say you don’t need help in dealing with your dependency, but I strongly believe that you do,” he said.
“Cannabis isn’t just simply a harmless soft drug, Cannabis has huge long-term consequences, particularly when it is taken in quantities as large as those you take. You would be very foolish indeed not to recognise your need to have assistance to get yourself off cannabis.”
Maddison was put under a community order, which will include 12 months of drugs rehabilitation and regular checks to make sure he was not using any illegal substances.