A magistrate has told a Victorian man he is in a “serious situation” after the chronic pain patient was fined $1500 for growing cannabis to treat his pain.
Michael Polytorasky was arrested on April 24, after police executed a search warrant at his Scarsdale home. The 47-year-old pleaded guilty to charges of cultivating and possessing cannabis in Ballarat Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
Police told the court they found 11 cannabis plants at Polytorasky’s home, including 8 in his back shed and 3 in a spare room. Police also found another shed containing cannabis seedlings, partially dried cannabis and an unnamed quantity of cannabis in bags and bins.
Polytorasky’s defence lawyer, David Tamanika, has argued Polytorasky was growing the cannabis for medical reasons and was in the middle of seeking a medicine exemption from a doctor. Polytorasky suffered a severe workplace injury in 2018, while working as an industrial spray painter. His injury was so severe he cannot work and lives with mental health and financial issues.
Polytorasky began using cannabis as an alternative to prescription pain medicine, with his defence lawyer arguing his low-value crop was proof he did not intend to traffic the drug.
Although Magistrate Ron Saines sympathised with Polytorasky’s situation, he believed the financial benefits of cannabis selling acted as a temptation towards “serious criminality”. Saines also criticised Polytorasky’s cannabis set up as being the product of “time and thought”, as Polytorasky’s cannabis was of a high-quality. Saines told the chronic pain sufferer:
Your cannabis use is a serious detriment and makes treatment in respect to psychological challenges more difficult and complicated.
The magistrate warned that Polytorasky that he was a “long way” from legally accessing cannabis. On average, cannabis medications cost Australians $384 monthly.
While Polytorasky was growing cannabis illegally, advocacy body Painaustralia recently released a statement supporting the use of cannabis for chronic pain patients. Read that story here.