A widower caught growing 50 cannabis plants says he was “prepared to go to prison” to ease his dying wife’s suffering.
Stephen Hakes was turning the plants into cannabis oil after seeing the positive impact it had on his wife Caroline, who was just 56 when she died of a tumour in her head three years ago.
He also used the oil on his 90-year-old mum, who had breast cancer, and even his dog, who had aggressive bone cancer.
However, the cost of buying the class B drug proved pricey at £220 an ounce and he simply could not afford to keep to doing it – so he started growing his own marijuana.
But the law caught up with him and he found himself before Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court yesterday, February 11.
Mr Hakes has admitted producing cannabis, a controlled class B drug, at his home in Sutton Lane, Hilton, between January 1, 2019, and May 30, 2019.
However, he was spared prison when magistrates were told why he had committed the offence.
Speaking outside his home today, the 62-year-old explained how the oil was “1,000 per cent” effective.
He said: “I’m not proud of my actions but I am proud of the outcome for my wife.
“All my family could not believe how well she looked after taking it – they were astonished.
“I’m glad the court case is over now. I ask people ‘if it was your family, would you do the same?’.
“I would 100 per cent recommend it. My wife had a better quality of life.
“She was having 15 seizures a month and after taking it she went nine weeks without one.
“She went from being in a wheelchair to being able to walk and from no speech to putting words together.
“It made a big difference.”
When his mum was diagnosed with breast cancer and would not have chemotherapy or radiotherapy, her tumours shrunk after treatment with the oil, Mr Hakes said.
He told Burton Live the same was even the case for his springer spaniel, while he also used the oil to treat his own arthritis.
While so-called “CBD” oils are now available to buy over the counter, the oil Mr Hakes produced contained THC – the main psychoactive component in cannabis – and he says it killed the cancerous cells.
He said even medical professionals have been surprised by how well the oil worked.
Mr Hakes was with his wife for 43 years after they first met in a bar in Torquay, saying it was love at first sight.
It was 20 years later she was first diagnosed with the tumour, which doctors could not operate on.
She went into remission a couple of times, but in 2014 it became aggressive and her husband desperately tried to find ways to help her.
He said: “I was her carer for the last six years, getting her out of bed and showered and changed.
“What does anybody know about what you’ve been through?
“I’d get up at 5am and think ‘today I’m going to come up with something to help her’ – and then I came across (Hollywood set decorator) Rick Simpson, who says he cured his own cancer with cannabis.
“I got in touch with him and he told me to put her on a gram as soon as possible.”
After his court appearance, magistrates sentenced Mr Hakes to a 16-week curfew, from 10pm to 7am, as well as £85 costs and £90 victim surcharge.
Having been warned he faced the possibility of prison, he today described his sentence as “compassionate”.
How the case unfolded
Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court heard how police attended Hakes’ house after being told cannabis was being grown at the property.
Peter Bettany, prosecuting, told the court how officers found more than 50 plants were being grown and being turned into cannabis oil.
Three rooms had been turned into a place for producing drugs.
A back bedroom was a cutting room with jars containing cannabis heads and other drug paraphernalia.
One room was found to have 24 mature cannabis plants and two other rooms had healthy immature plants growing, which were in the early stages.
Mr Bettany said 146 grams of the cannabis oil would last three months.
Asif Munir, defending, told how Hakes would give one gram to his mother, half a gram to his dog, who had aggressive bone cancer, and has since died, and took a quarter of a gram himself for arthritis in his hands.
He said: “There is no suggestion he was producing it for his own gain – it was all for medical use.
“One officer attended the address on information received and a number of plants were found in and around the house.
“He (Hakes) attended the police interview on a voluntary basis.
“Fifty-plus plants were found at different stages of growth and he fully admitted supply for himself, his mother and dog.”
Magistrates ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the plants.