Extremely tall chemist grew cannabis for his back pain

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A 6ft 8in. research chemist was growing a year-and-a-half's supply of cannabis for medicinal use at his Burnley house, due to the agony caused by being so tall, a court heard.

Omar Anwar had 20 plants on the go in an empty house on Ellis Street, which he had bought six months before and was renovating.

The 29-year-old suffers from gout and also persistent, chronic back pain, believed to be because of his height. He thought pills from the doctor didn't work for him, self-medicated by smoking two grammes of the Class B controlled drug a week and didn't want to buy it off a street dealer anymore.

Anwar, at the time a microbiologist, spent £300 online on equipment to grow the plants. He didn't attempt to by-pass the meter, the town's magistrates heard.

The defendant told a probation officer: "I am the worst Muslim ever," when he was interviewed. He also admitted he was "terrified" at the prospect of jail.

Anwar, who now lives at Park Road West, Wolverhampton, pleaded guilty to producing cannabis last July 31st. He was given a 12-month community order, with 150 hours unpaid work by the Bench, who said they accepted he was growing the drugs for his own use. The defendant must pay £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

Prosecutor Mrs Tracy Yates told the hearing police executed a drugs warrant at the property. They found 12 cannabis plants growing in the basement and another eight in an upstairs bedroom. On August 4th, the defendant rang the police to say he owned the property and the plants were his.

Mrs Yates said Anwar told police in interview he found out how to set the equipment up on YouTube. She added: "He said he suffers from gout and a bad back and didn't have any appetite. Smoking cannabis makes him eat.

"He feels quite strongly for the decriminalisation of cannabis for medicinal purposes, because that is the only reason he was intending to use this drug. He's an intelligent and articulate gentleman who is deeply ashamed to find himself before the court for this matter."