A Donegal man who watched YouTube videos for advice on setting up a cannabis grow-house in his rented home, did so to self-medicate for anxiety and insomnia and to avoid having to buy the drug from dealers, Dundalk Circuit Court heard on Friday.
Peter McGlanaghey (35) told Judge Michael O’Shea he was glad the garda raid had happened as his addiction to prescription tablets and marijuana was ‘way out of control’.
Gardai acting on confidential information obtained a warrant to search the defendant’s rented home on Barrack Street, Dundalk on November third last year and forced open an upstairs bedroom door that was locked.
Inside they found 10 cannabis plants, specially insulated walls, heating lamps and other cultivation equipment.
The unemployed plumber - who weighed just 8 stone at the time - took immediate responsibility for the plants, and told detectives he was a habitual cannabis smoker who suffered from anxiety and had been prescribed tablets by his GP for insomnia.
The Defence barrister told the court her client had discovered his partner had begun a new relationship and his life took a downward turn after he moved out of the home they shared.
He self-prescribed cannabis and, as he had very little left over after buying the drug and paying his rent, he sought to make himself self sufficient and “rid himself of dealers”.
She said it was an amateur effort and explained that the accused had watched YouTube videos for advice on growing the plants, which the court heard had not reached maturity or been harvested.
Judge O’Shea was told the accused was 16, when his 19 year old sister died in a collision for which a neighbour was convicted.
The father of two – who self-referred for counselling and is on a medically controlled detox from benzodiazepine tablets - told the court the past 10 years of his life have been upside down and he’s glad the garda came in and stopped what he was doing. He added “I was way out of control with the tablets and smoking marijuana and I want to go back to being a contributor to society”.
Judge O’Shea imposed an 18 month suspended sentence for the cultivation offence and a €200 fine for the unlawful possession of cannabis.