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Chef claims cannabis used to treat Lyme Disease

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A Chef who suffers from Lyme Disease after being bitten by a tick told a court he was self medicating with cannabis to ease his pain and denied being a drug dealer.
Piotr Tomczak of 5 Woodland Drive, The Quay, Westport appeared before last week’s sitting of Westport District Court charged with the possession of €1,712.40 worth of cannabis and possession of cannabis for sale or supply.
Mr Tomczak denied the charge of possession for sale or supply and stated the cannabis was for his own use at the time as he suffered from migraines and the drug helped him sleep.
Garda Ciarán Naughton said he searched the defendant’s premises after receiving information that Mr Tomczak was in possession of cannabis which he intended to sell in the Westport region. The search took place on November 26, 2016 and he stated Mr Tomczak co-operated and showed him a large jar with 66.4g of cannabis. They also discovered 12.8g of ground cannabis, 17.2g of cannabis resin and a small plant. The total amount weighed 79.6g and was worth €1,712.40.
Garda Naughton said the defendant told him the cannabis came from a single cannabis plant which he grew himself and he took 0.2g a day. He said he found it hard to believe all the cannabis came from one plant as an average yield from a plant is 40g. He also stated there was over a year’s supply if Mr Tomczak only took 0.2g a day.
When questioned by Mr James Ward, solicitor for Mr Tomczak, Garda Naughton accepted he told them he used the cannabis as treatment for Lyme Disease and he had a sickly look when questioned. The court heard that he did not smoke the drug with tobacco but distilled it and vaped it like an e-cigarette. Garda Naughton said this was the first time he came across this method.
Garda Naughton added he was confident in the information he received from his informant.
Mr Ward told the court that Mr Tomczak had even written to the gardaí asking for the cannabis back and Garda Naughton said he asked if he could get a licence to grow cannabis under the ‘watchful eye’ of the gardaí.
Mr Tomczak said he was a chef who moved to Ireland in 2006 and had three children aged 19, 16 and seven. He said he spent all his savings on getting treatment for Lyme Disease in a private clinic in Cyprus as there was a two-year waiting list in Ireland. He accepted that self medication was not the way to deal with his illness and was no longer using cannabis.
Mr Ward said his client denied selling or supplying cannabis.
Mr Tomczak was cleared of the charge of sale or supply on a technicality. Judge Devins said she did not need a probation report but would adjourn sentencing for six months. She commented that she was in no doubt that Garda Naughton, who she described as a ‘supremo in drug convictions’, will keep an eye on the defendant.

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