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Cancer patient grew cannabis plants to 'save her life'

Jacqui Ritchie said she was disappointed at being charged for using the drug.

Charged: Ms Ritchie was charged for her use.
Charged: Ms Ritchie was charged for her use. STV

A cancer sufferer grew cannabis to self-medicate during chemotherapy, a court was told.

Jacqui Ritchie from Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, admitted growing four cannabis plants at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

The hairdresser hit out at being made to "feel like a criminal" for trying to save her life.

In 2014, the mother-of-two was diagnosed with triple negative metaplastic breast cancer, which only affects around 600 people in the world.

Ms Ritchie used oil from the cannabis plants - which she believes is a super food, not a drug - for medicinal purposes after being diagnosed with cancer.

Speaking after her court case, Ms Ritchie said: "I'm not angry about the outcome - it is illegal - but I am a bit disappointed."

Originally using the cannabis oil during her chemotherapy treatment, she found that it was the only thing that helped alleviate her symptoms.

"It helped with all the side affects going through the chemo", she said.

"It cut down my nausea, I could sleep at night, I managed to eat. Chemo, not very good for the appetite, I lost nearly 4st during treatment."

After a long and painful surgery to remove both breasts, Ms Ritchie continued to use the oil to help with pain management as well as the ongoing symptoms. She is now in remission.

The future is uncertain for Ms Ritchie, with her believing her only real option is to move to a country where it is legal.

"I can't stay in this country indefinitely with the way the law stands now," she added.

Ms Ritchie's defence agent solicitor advocate Ross Taggart said the sentencing was on par with what was expected.

He added: "Given the facts of this case, the circumstances that it was for personal use for medicinal purposes, we had rather hoped she would have been admonished. But a fine, although disappointing, was fair.

"I certainly believe that a change in the law needs to be made.

"It is a devolution issue and if the Scottish Government could obtain those powers, it would come sooner rather than later."

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