How much police and court time and public money went into convicting the cannabis granny? I don't know the answer but it obviously wasn't cheap.
Hands up who thinks that this was a wise use of what we're constantly told are limited resources? Nobody?
Hands up who thinks that the police and the CPS would have served the public interest more usefully if they'd spent that time and money going after the organised criminals who make huge amounts of cash importing crack and heroin into this country? Everybody?
But, of course, the cannabis granny was an easy target. She may not have been any threat to the public interest but a stress free arrest and conviction were in the bag from the start. Crack dealers on the other hand are difficult to catch and dangerous too.
This story might be amusing on one level but it also shows that there's something fundamentally wrong here.
On yesterday's news coverage of the trial, an expert warned that long term use of cannabis can cause serious mental health problems. This is undeniably true and it is right that the fact should be publicised. As an argument for maintaining possession of cannabis for personal use as a criminal offence however, it just doesn't stand up. Heavy, regular, long term consumption of Red Bull would undoubtedly also cause serious mental health problems. (Anyone who doubts this hasn't drunk enough of it over a long weekend.)
There's a report out today on illegal drug use. I've not read it yet but intend to do so later this afternoon and then hopefully update this post with some further thoughts.
In the meantime, here's something to think about. George Best drank himself to death; thousands of less well known alcoholics do the same thing all the time. Where are the politicians calling for possession of alcoholic beverages to be criminalised?