A judge has warned of the dangers that potent cannabis can cause to users’ mental health after sentencing a man for brandishing a fake gun in public.
Judge James O’Mahoney said the link between skunk cannabis and mental health problems “couldn’t be any clearer” during the sentencing of 24-year-old Harry Regan today.
Regan, who suffers Mixed Type Schizoaffective Disorder (MTSD) was arrested after pointing a fake gun in the direction of a car in Faversham Road, Faversham.
Those who suffer MTSD typically show schizophrenia, depression and mania symptoms during an episode.
When the driver called 999, police discovered Regan was carrying a blade alongside the gun and other weapons on October 14.
Regan pleaded guilty to carrying an imitation firearm, carrying a bladed article, and two counts of carrying an offensive weapon at a previous hearing.
Judge O’Mahoney placed him on curfew and sentenced him to nine months in prison, suspended for two years.
Today, having obtained two psychiatric reports, Judge O’Mahoney said he was “very concerned” about Regan’s cannabis use.
He said: “People who say cannabis is pretty much harmless need to look at cases like this.”
Skunk is a super-strength strain of the drug linked to a higher risk of mental health episodes.
“People who say cannabis is pretty much harmless need to look at cases like this...” - Judge James O’Mahoney
Judge O’Mahoney added: “In the face of it, pointing any kind of weapon is a very serious matter.
“I’m very concerned about this continued use of strong strength cannabis.
"If he does anything else like this regardless of his difficulties he will go inside.”
The court heard that Regan was admitted to a mental health hospital before the crime, but released the same month without his family being informed.
Prosecutor Caroline Knight said the victim, who wished to remain anonymous, was "concerned for his family and himself if he was identified”.
Mitigating, Paul Hogben told the judge Regan claimed he was trying to shoot lampposts.
He added his client was now medicated for MTSD and receiving help to manage the condition.
He told Regan: “There are lots of people around you trying to help you.
“You have to help yourself.”