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Man gave up ?60k job to develop cannabis cream 23 Mar 2005 bbc.co.uk
A computer consultant gave up his ?60,000-a-year job to develop a cannabis cream as pain relief for his mother, a court has heard.
Stephen Renton, 38, grew more than 770 plants, with a potential street value of ?77,000, in the attic of his flat.
His mother Sheila has suffered from chronic nerve end damage for 10 years, while Renton has chronic joint pain.
He pleaded guilty to producing and supplying cannabis and sentence was deferred for background reports.
Firefighters discovered the crop, the largest ever found in the Lothian and Borders area, when a blaze caused by an electrical fault broke out at Renton's flat in Midlothian.
When police raided his home they found a stack of books on growing the crop, a sophisticated hydroponic system worth up to ?6,000, a generator and extensive lighting. In the garage were seeds and plant cuttings stored in bin bags.
Advocate Depute Alex Prentice told the High Court in Edinburgh that when his flat went on fire, Renton panicked about his illegal crop and fled, but later returned.
He was arrested and told officers that he "was experimenting with the drug to help his own ailments and those of others for medical purposes".
When questioned he admitted giving some of the buds to five friends as well as the finished creams to his parents.
Solicitor-advocate Jim Stephenson said that Renton, who is now again employed as an information technology consultant in Manchester, had turned to cannabis after becoming disillusioned with NHS treatments and alternative medicines for pain.
The lawyer said that his client was devoted to his parents and, after giving up his profession, channelled all his energy into developing the perfect plant and the perfect medicinal cream. "It became an obsession," he said.
Mr Stephenson said the scheme had not been a commercial venture and "there was no sign of a lavish lifestyle".
Following the flat blaze, Renton was in debt but is now once again earning a good wage and has recently married, he added.
The accused pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of and producing cannabis between May 2002 and May 2004.
Lady Dorrian deferred sentence for background reports and set a date for a hearing on the confiscation of crime proceeds.
Man who grew cannabis to ease mum's pain sentenced April 19, 2005 scotsman.com
A MAN who tried to create a cannabis cream to ease his elderly mother's chronic pain was today sentenced to 240 hours community service.
Stephen Renton, 38, grew up to 770 cannabis plants in the loft above two bungalows in Newtongrange, Midlothian, occupied by him and his parents.
The court heard Mr Renton had given up his job as an IT consultant where he earned more than ?200 a day, to devote all his time to cultivating the drug into treatments for his 67-year-old mother, Sheila.
Mrs Renton has suffered from chronic pain caused by nerve-end damage for more than ten years, and her son got the idea of developing a cream made from cannabis after sampling some during a trip to Amsterdam.
However, his 'crusade' to perfect a recipe for a pain-relieving lotion caused a fire which ruined his and his parents' home, plunged him into debt and saw him facing serious criminal charges.
Mr Renton's crop - estimated to be worth ?770,000 - was discovered by firefighters called out to tackle the fire sparked by powerful hydroponic lighting equipment in the loft of his home.
At the High Court in Edinburgh, his solicitor, Jim Stephenson, argued that the monetary value the Crown had placed on the plants did not take into account their viability or the number of plants lost to disease.
He added that Mr Renton was "inexperienced" at growing the drug, and his huge crop was not a commercial enterprise. Mr Stephenson told the court: "This was an enterprise by him to create a cream to assist his mother."