by Craig Borland

A CLYDEBANK woman who admitted producing cannabis at her home in the town has told social workers that she has no intention of stopping her use of the drug.

Jaclyn MacLaren appeared in court for sentencing on Thursday after a background report was requested on her circumstances.

At a previous hearing she had pleaded guilty to producing the class B drug at her home in Montrose Street on August 29 last year.

Her solicitor, Phil Lafferty, told Dumbarton Sheriff Court that a GP’s report assessed her as not being suitable for a sentence of unpaid work.

Mr Lafferty said that left the court with only one realistic option as a punishment – a restriction of liberty order confining MacLaren to her home address for certain hours each day.

Mr Lafferty told Sheriff Simon Pender: “I understand the court’s serious view of the offence, and I understand your Lordship’s view of the fairly significant quantity concerned here, although the expert opinion was that this was at the high end of ‘personal use’.”

Sheriff Pender pointed out a line in the social work report which states that MacLaren “has no intention of stopping” her use of cannabis.

Mr Lafferty replied: “She regards her use of cannabis as therapeutic. You will struggle to find any medical practitioner who would endorse that, but there seems to be plenty of anecdotal evidence that persons before the court consider cannabis to be an effective means of dealing with certain symptoms where conventional medicine doesn’t seem able to assist.

“It can’t be condoned, because the use of cannabis is unlawful, but she is being candid with the court that she continues to get the benefit, in her mind, of the therapeutic effect. But she is no longer producing her own.”

Mr Lafferty pointed out that 32-year-old MacLaren was a first offender and had admitted her guilt at the first opportunity.

But Sheriff Pender said he remained concerned over whether restricting MacLaren’s liberty would be a severe enough punishment.

Mr Lafferty said that a curfew order would have a considerable effect on MacLaren’s personal life and would represent “a very significant penalty upon her.

Sheriff Pender told MacLaren she will have to stay in her home between 7pm and 7am every day until September.