Sweden Supreme Court rules against growing “pot” to self-medicate

Sweden Supreme Court ruled, in a case of a man with spinal cord injury, that it is illegal to grow cannabis to self-medicate even there was an emergency situation. According to the judgment he was fined kronor 5200 (around $616) for growing and consuming the oil of the plant.

Anders Thörn was paralyzed from the chest downwards after injured his spinal cord in an accident in 1994. Following the pain got worse, and medical treatments became ineffective, Mr. Thörn started growing cannabis in his house, which he ingested as an oil. He suffers from cramps and difficult neuropathic pains that occur in the damaged spinal cord. The medical care provided to him had either a bad effect or caused adverse side effects. In order to alleviate the suffering, he grew and has used cannabis.

He was acquitted by the district court which found that he had “been in an emergency situation and that his conduct could not be considered unjustifiable”.

The court of appeal decided quite opposite and said the situation was not severe enough to justify growing the cannabis. So, the court of appeal issued a suspended sentence and fine of kronor 11,700 for drug offence.

The Supreme Court took into account his circumstances but explained that this did not mean that he was allowed to grow cannabis. The top court also noted that “the drug has been intended for consumption and not supported by the doctor’s prescription” as well as the fact that home-grown cannabis contained minimal amounts of psychoactive substances.

The Supreme Court found the “emergency situation” and explained that it is not applicable in Thörn’s case because an emergency in regards to a criminal offense is not meant to deal with a permanent problem.

In the light of these facts the court decided that the crime constituted only a minor drug offence and reduced the fine applied by the court of appeal to 5,200 kronor.

Sweden has a “zero tolerance” approach to drugs, but it has become more permissive of using cannabis for medication purposes during recent years.

According to the judgment, this does not mean that the man will have to stop using cannabis. He became one of the first people in Sweden to be granted permission to use medical cannabis on prescription.


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