dopey sums | 

Judge 'sparks' debate after claiming man caught with 700g of cannabis could make 4,000 joints

According to those in the know he's made a 'hash' of his sums

Raymond Myers

Steven Moore

A judge has 'sparked' a 'dopey' debate after calculating a man caught with 700 grams of cannabis could have made himself 4,000 joints.

District Judge Michael Ranaghan 'joint' the hotly contested subject at Dungannon Magistrates Court after claiming the Coalisland man was lucky not to be facing a charge for dealing the Class B drug.

He reacted after a lawyer for the Public Prosecution Service said there was not enough evidence to charge 38-year-old Raymond Myers with supply.

Judge Ranaghan pointed out that 700 grams of cannabis could make 4,000 joints and said: "The amount is usually enough for a charge of supply."

But according to those in the know he's made a 'hash' of his sums.

In 2015 a global drug survey conducted by academics found that most users get about three joints from a single gram of marijuana, or roughly 0.33 grams per joint. That means Raymond Myers, from Mountcairn Court in the Co Tyrone town, would have been able to make himself 2,000 joints with his 700-gram stash.

Either way, the father of one was convicted of possessing cannabis and handed a suspended jail sentence last week.

The judge heard how on March 19 last year police raided the house where Myers lives with his partner.

At the time it was reported the search was part of a cross-border PSNI-Garda operation and £15,000 worth of cannabis was seized.

Myers, who is originally from Kerry, has been living in Coalisland for a number of years.

He was originally charged with possession of cannabis with intent to supply but that charge was later dropped, and he admitted possession of the Class B drug.

Defence barrister Fintan McAleer explained Myers volunteered the drugs to the police when they were searching the residence.

He admitted they were in his possession but said the package arrived the previous day without his prior knowledge on why it arrived and he put it in a cupboard under the stairs.

Mr McAleer told the court that he did nothing with the drugs other than put them under the stairs and did not dispose of them or alert police.

He also said the defendant was in full-time employment but is currently medically unfit to work.

Mr McAleer added: "He has no record in this jurisdiction."

Judge Ranaghan said: "I really don't believe his explanation. There is a real suspicion around these drugs but I will deal with the charge."

Imposing a three-month jail term suspended for two years, the judge added: "I am flagging up my query around simple possession. I am warning him now, if he appears before the court again he will get that sentence on top of any other sentence.

"The representation of the barrister is the only thing that saved Mr Myers from an immediate custodial sentence."

How much cannabis is used to make a reefer has been a bone of contention for decades with some studies saying it took around 0.66 of a gram per joint, but the US government had reckoned only 0.43 grams were required.

In 2015 academics in the US set about finding out definitively.

The study, an analysis of federal drug arrest data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, found the average amount of weed in a joint to be much smaller than those estimates: just 0.32 grams.

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