80-year-old caught twice growing dozens of cannabis plants

An 80-year-old who grew cannabis to self-medicate pain stemming from kidney failure has been sentenced in court.

Philip Antony Bevington, who goes by the name Tony, claims he started growing cannabis plants in his garage to extract both CBD and THC compounds in the plants’ oil.

Bevington, of Carnarthen Street in Camborne, appeared at Truro Crown Court for sentence having pleaded guilty to two counts of cultivating cannabis.

Prosecuting the case, Ed Bailey described how on November 4, 2019, two police officers went to Bevington’s home after complaints of a strong smell of cannabis.

While there the defendant admitted having a small account of cannabis on him (3.67 grams) and when it was explained to him his home would be searched, he took the officers to the garage where there was a “sophisticated” grow of 30 plants, as well as a ventilation system, lamps and plastic sheets.

It was estimated the grow was worth as much as £12,600 with the potential for three grows a year.

Bevington, who told officers from the start that he grew the drug for pain relief, was placed under investigation.

Then, on January 27, 2020, police again attended Bevington’s home and found a similar grow of 44 plants and some cannabis resin.

Bevington said that he didn’t smoke the cannabis but converted it to oil for medicinal purposes.

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Defending Bevington, Ramsay Quaife told the court how Bevington is not in good health but has since turned to the legitimate prescription of medicinal cannabis from his GP to ease the pain.

Sentencing, Judge Simon Carr said: “Police officers attended your address due to a strong smell of cannabis and you took them to your garage.

“You explained the cannabis production was for your own personal use to alleviate pain. Police placed you under investigation and returned some weeks later to find a second grow.

Tony Bevington, 80, from Camborne was arrested for growing cannabis despite being for medical use for his stage 3 kidney failure. He says it's better to be illegally alive than legally dead in the great debate on decriminalisation
Tony Bevington, 80, from Camborne was arrested for growing cannabis despite being for medical use for his stage 3 kidney failure. He says it’s better to be illegally alive than legally dead in the great debate on decriminalisation
(Image: DCM / Simon Heester)

“You are 80 years old, of effective good character and there is no doubt you suffer from kidney failure and mobility issues and were self-medicating with the cannabis you grew.

“Since then, wisely, you have gone through your GP to get cannabis prescribed.”

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Bevington was given a two-year condition discharge.

In an interview with Cornwall Live after his arrest, Bevington said that when CBD oil bought legally from shops didn’t work, he decided to grow cannabis himself.

He said last year: “I know I am breaking the law but the law as it stands is an ass. I don’t deal drugs. I Have been very open about it and when police officers came to my house and asked me if I grew cannabis, I admitted it and led them straight to it. I don’t even fiddle the electrics like drug dealers do. It was all above board.

“To those who say that cannabis is an illegal drug, I say is it better to be illegally alive or legally dead?

“I’ve grown my own medicine to save my life. There are far more harmful drugs in Camborne to deal with than both an old man who’s dying anyway. I accept that I’m doing something that most people would not do. But I do enjoy life and this is medicine that helps me do that.”

Cornwall Live