OAP (73) arrested for growing 40 cannabis plants at home says he won’t quit smoking weed

“It’s a ridiculous waste of state money and for what? It won’t stop me from smoking.

Former jazz drummer and fish industry worker Richard Goldfrap, whom Gardai describes as a “nice man”, was arrested with 40 cannabis plants he was growing for his personal use at his home in the remote area of Kilcoe near Roaringwater Bay near Skibbereen in West Cork on June 11 last year.

Judge Helen Boyle this week handed him a three-year suspended sentence at Cork Circuit Court, but warned him he could face a custodial sentence if arrested again because he was of his second conviction for such an offence.

Mr Goldfrap told The Sunday World this week that criminalizing cannabis users is a complete waste of state resources.

“It’s a ridiculous waste of state money and for what? It won’t stop me from smoking.

“My lawyer sent me a letter saying please don’t start growing it again because you could be in big trouble, even though I have big health issues and am 73.”

He said that although he had smoked weed most of his life in recent years, he used it for pain relief.

“I took it mainly for the pain. I have a lot of health issues and a lot of pharmaceutical drugs don’t handle them very well and there are a lot of side effects, but with marijuana the side effect is you get a good high.

“There’s no difference between a guy having a few pints of Guinness after work. It’s a crazy law.

A growing number of countries around the world have legalized or decriminalized cannabis for personal use, and German lawmakers recently unveiled plans to decriminalize possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis and allow the substance to be sold to adults for medical purposes. recreational activities in a controlled market.

“I think Ireland should catch up,” Mr Goldfrap said.

“For me the heart of it all is that they are criminalizing young people and they are being forced into the hands of the dealers because it’s illegal then they go to the black market and if the dealer doesn’t have that they want, they go away.” them something else.

“If they legalize it, they can do what they do in America, which is tax it. They can use that tax to build hospitals, roads, infrastructure, and they can monitor its purity. .

He said he doesn’t approve of high-strength marijuana which is specifically bred to have high levels of THC, but sees nothing wrong with low-strength strains.

If he wants to smoke cannabis now, he will have to buy it rather than grow his own.

“I’m just going to mark it on the black market. I know people who grow it and they don’t genetically modify it and make a naturally growing plant and it’s a very good success to put it into common parlance. Skunk is a horrible thing. Even people of my generation say to stay away.

When he appeared in court this week, Garda Detective Andrew Manning described Mr Goldfrap as a ‘pleasant man to deal with’ who co-operated fully with the investigation.

The feeling was mutual.

“The guard who stopped me, Andrew, was very nice. He said I didn’t bother him at all.

“Funny enough, people of my generation who smoke are nice people. We don’t bother people; we don’t get angry and start fighting people.

“I have no animosity towards the gardai. They are employed to do a job that they do and they have to pay their mortgage and raise their children like everyone else.

Originally from the UK, Mr Goldfrap, who had ancestors from Carlow, came to Ireland in 1997 after being made redundant from a job in the fishing industry in Cornwall.

“I came in an RV and drove around and ended up here [in west Cork]. I thought the river was beautiful and it is close to the sea. I came from Cornwall and I like to be close to the sea.”

He bought land in Kilcoe in 1999 and has lived there ever since.

He said that aside from his cannabis plants, the only other time he got in trouble with the law was when he was arrested protesting the Vietnam War in the early 1970s.

“It was the only time I was put against the wall,” he said, adding that he hadn’t even been sentenced for it.

“I’m just a normal person.”

“Actually, I have an art degree, but I make a living out of it. [is hard].

“I think there’s a lot of rebels in us art students.”

He said he used to play drums in a band when he was younger.

“I was more into jazz than rock and roll. I can’t read music, so I didn’t get very far, but it was fantastic. I used to have regular concerts on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon as a trio.

Her sister Alison has had more success in the music industry and is the lead singer of multi-platinum band Goldfrapp – adding ap to the end of their name for effect.

Mr Goldfrap said he was unsure how he came across Gardai’s radar. He didn’t sell cannabis and grew it naturally rather than using special lighting, tents, or hydroponics that might attract attention.

He had suspicions about two people who once wandered onto his land saying they had gotten lost while he was repotting his cannabis plants.

“Something about them didn’t ring true. One of them was a lady who kept her head down all the time. I was actually potting them up on an open table when they came to my yard saying they were lost. I said “Well, you can walk by my house and walk out that way”, which they did, but I think they shouted or whatever.

He also said it could have been someone else. “It could have been, but you just don’t know.”

He said he had no idea what the plants were worth

“It was ridiculous. I don’t know [how much it was worth] I had 40 very young plants and they seemed to value their value a lot. Apparently, an adult plant is worth so much money. it’s crazy.”

He said cannabis grown using specialized equipment can be lucrative.

“They can charge a lot of money and make a fortune. They can grow a crop that ripens after three months. It has been tweaked and tweaked to have as much THC as possible, which is driving people crazy.

“That’s why they care a lot about what it’s worth if you sell it. Said I don’t know what it’s worth, I don’t sell this fucking stuff. Why would I grow it for myself and sell it, because then I would have to restock it on the black market. »

He said legalization would lead to better controls around drugs.

“If they legalize it, they can control the quality and the strength.”

“The money it costs the police could be used for much more useful purposes.”

Possession of cannabis is currently illegal in Ireland, except for those with a Minister’s license to use cannabis products for medical purposes.

However, since late 2020 gardai have been allowed to deal with simple cases of cannabis possession through an adult warning rather than through the courts, leading to a sharp drop in prosecutions. .

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