A Catawba County substance abuse counselor is speaking out about his own arrest on drug possession charges.
Narcotics officers said they seized $16,800 worth of marijuana and two guns from the home of Sidney DeRamus on Monday.
DeRamus told Eyewitness News it was a single marijuana plant he was growing inside his home, which he uses for medicinal purposes.
DeRamus said he makes the pot into butter, and cooks with it, to alleviate intense back pain caused by osteoporosis.
"Obviously I messed up. I did something that in this state is illegal," DeRamus said.
DeRamus was convicted on drug possession charges in Watauga County in 2000.
He said he knew he should not have had guns in his home, but said his house has been burglarized three times, and that the guns were necessary for protection.
DeRamus mentors men with substance abuse issues at a halfway house in Hickory, and said he is worried his arrest will negatively affect the good work the employees are doing there.
"Whatever I've done or perceived to have done, it should be no reflection on the home," DeRamus said. "I have a philosophical difference between what addiction and drug use are, on this matter, obviously."
DeRamus is facing multiple felony drug charges and possession of firearms by a felon charges.