A DISTRICT judge hit out at calls to legalise cannabis as he handed a community order to a drug addict.
David Taylor, sitting at Burton Magistrates' Court, ordered Imrad Hussain to complete a Drug Rehabilitation Requirement after he was caught in possession of the Class B drug for the third time this year, breaching a conditional discharge.
Hussain, of Uxbridge Street, Burton, admitted cannabis possession and breaching his order and appeared in court yesterday for sentencing.
The court heard police had been alerted to the 24-year-old on June 30, after they suspected the car he was driving had no insurance.
Emma Thompson, prosecuting, said: "It was just before 5pm when an officer stopped the defendant. He smelled cannabis and found two small bags."
Hussain, who works part-time at B&Q, admitted the offence. He has previous convictions for cannabis possession and in December last year was given a 12-month conditional discharge for possession, and was then found with cannabis again on June 9.
A pre-sentence report compiled by probation said Hussain 'feels remorse and regret over his actions. He knows the effects of substance misuse and has been using cannabis since he was 16. There was a significant rise in his use when he was 18 when he started earning. He does recognise it is an addiction because it has been going on for a significant period and it has led to him breaking the law.'
The defendant, who represented himself in court, agreed that a Drug Rehabilitation Requirement would suit him.
Passing sentence, Judge Taylor told Hussain: "Many people think cannabis possession really shouldn't be a criminal offence. I don't think that and neither does the law. And you are continually breaking the law.
"This is sufficiently serious for a community order to be in place.
"You will have a 12-month community order, with supervision and a rehabilitation requirement for six months."
Hussain was also fined £75 and told to pay £85 court costs and a £60 victim surcharge.
Judge Taylor added: "I do hope this is a chance to stop what is becoming a big problem in your life."