A Newport man charged with possession of cannabis has said the drug provides him with significant pain relief.
Ciarán Ginnelly (39) of Castlebar Road, Newport, was before Westport District Court charged with the possession of cannabis with a street value of €466.90.
He pleaded guilty to the charge and told the court that ‘cannabis helps me sleep and helps me eat’.
“I get spasms on the right side of my body, and the only way I can get it to stop is to take a smoke. All the research I have done for the last 20 years finds that cannabis does help people with spinal injuries and with brain injuries,” Mr Ginnelly told the court.
“I think it is a brilliant and valuable medication and [that it] would stop people taking other medications which are so bad for them,” he added.
Judge Mary Devins remarked, “I don’t think you can be an authority on the benefits or not of prescription medicine.”
Defending solicitor Tom Walsh told the court Ciarán Ginnelly was involved in a serious road accident in 1997 and was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency services. Mr Walsh said Mr Ginnelly ‘made a miraculous recovery’ but spent 14 months in rehab in Dublin with a number of injuries, including head injuries.
Since the accident, Mr Ginnelly struggled with conventional medicine, Mr Walsh said, and ‘resorted to cannabis’.
Mr Walsh said Mr Ginnelly suffers from anxiety and depression and is often ‘in severe pain’.
Mr Walsh said that while recent changes that allow the legal use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in specific circumstances does not apply to Mr Ginnelly, he hopes the legislation would evolve further.
Judge Devins remarked that many people with drug-induced paranoia who had appeared before the court over the years started dabbling in drugs by smoking cannabis.
Mr Walsh replied that while some doctors were completely against the use of cannabis, others believed it could have benefits for certain conditions.
The drugs were discovered in Mr Ginnelly’s house by gardaí during house-to-house inquiries after a local burglary. A garda noted the smell of the drug and got a warrant, and when presented with the warrant, Mr Ginnelly showed him the drugs.
The case was adjourned to May 4.