Man offering a cannabis joint

NSW man convicted for selling “medicinal” cannabis

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A NSW court has convicted a Eureka man who sold cannabis for medicinal purposes, with the Magistrate warning other NSW citizens they cannot call cannabis “medicinal” and sell it legally. 

Andrew Richards, 55, faced Byron Bay Local Court last week on charges of possessing cannabis and magic mushrooms, supplying cannabis oil and dealing with the proceeds of crime. He pleaded guilty to the charges with the defence arguing he was “not a criminal” and only sold the drugs for “medicinal purposes”. 

Richards was arrested after police executed a search warrant on his home in July 2020. Officers found $3,750 in cash in his home, along with cannabis resin, leaves, and oil. The oil had been divided into capsules and was organised into numbered, resealable bags.

Richard’s defence solicitor John Weller argued in court that his client thought cannabis was a healing drug. Richards is said to have stopped using cannabis since his arrest and has seen an improvement in his mental health.

Magistrate Karen Stafford told the court that Richards was still engaging in “criminal behaviour”, even if he sold cannabis for medicinal uses or with good intentions. She reminded the court that the current NSW government has previously rejected motions to legalise cannabis.

Ms Stafford has also warned that other members of the Byron Bay community have started selling cannabis for medical purposes, arguing it puts the community at risk. She argued Richards and other cannabis sellers have “no medical background or expert overview” and may cause unintended harm to their customers.

There has to be a strong message to people in particular in this area; they must stop supplying ‘medical’ cannabis.

Richards forfeited the $3,750 in cash and received a nine-month-long intensive corrections order. 

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