A Queensland judge has handed a surprisingly lenient sentence to a 67-year-old man who was caught growing over 1,000 cannabis plants for “personal use”.
The man was arrested by Queensland police last year after they searched his remote property in Rossville on August 25th, 2020. Rossville is just over 312 kilometres northwest of Cairns. At the property, police located 1,053 cannabis plants across two plots that were irrigated with water from a local reservoir.
The fresh cannabis plants police found were not the man’s first crop. Police also located roughly 800 grams of dried cannabis from the previous season. The dried cannabis is worth at least $14,400 in Brisbane.
Although the man was caught with such a large cannabis crop, he was reportedly cooperative and honest with the police. He denied selling the cannabis or supplying it to anyone else. The police charged the 67-year-old with producing and possessing cannabis. He later pleaded guilty to both charges in Cairns District Court.
In court, his defence lawyer Brydie Bilic explained that he was using cannabis to alleviate chronic lower back and neck pain. The man obtained these in 1980 through a “significant workplace injury”.
According to the Cairns Post, Crown Prosecutor Rachel Boivin told the court that the crown accepts that the 67-year-old was only growing cannabis for himself.
The crown accepts it is for personal use.
District Court Judge Anthony Rafter was also very lenient with the cannabis gardener. Judge Rafter noted that the man had a “lengthy” criminal history that included several drug offences. His most recent sentence was for the production of cannabis in Cairns, though this was long ago.
Judge Rafter gave the 67-year-old a suspended 12-month prison sentence with a two-year probation order. The cannabis gardener is now free in the Queensland community.