By GEMMA SOMERVILLE
TYNEDALE’S “cannabis gran” Patricia Tabram visited one of the country’s most prestigious universities on Monday to talk to students about cannabis.
The 69-year-old grandmother from East Lea in Humshaugh was invited to address the Oxford Union, the university’s world famous debating society.
Steeped in history, the union was founded in 1823 as a forum for the free exchange of ideas.
Mother Teresa, Sir Ian McKellen, Diego Maradona and Yasser Arafat are among the speakers who have addressed the union over the years.
Mrs Tabram said: “I was absolutely blown over when I got a phone call inviting me to Oxford and I consider it a great honour.
“My lecture was entitled ‘Cannabis – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ and I spoke about my experiences and beliefs before the students asked questions.”
Mrs Tabram, who claims cannabis relieves her pain and depression, narrowly escaped being sent to jail in March after being found guilty at Carlisle Crown Court of possessing and cultivating cannabis.
This was her second conviction for possessing and cultivating the drug and she was sentenced to a 250-hour community service order.
The convictions prompted Milecastle Housing, with whom she is a tenant, to apply for a possession order on the property which is suspended for 24 months. This was granted by a judge at Newcastle Crown Court in July.
Mrs Tabram can continue to live in her home unless she breaches her tenancy agreement through the cultivation or possession of cannabis during that period.
She is still campaigning to legalise the drug, and has made several high profile media appearances.