A Queensland man has faced court after he was caught violating his parole terms to grow cannabis to treat his nephew’s epilepsy.
The 29-year-old has previously served a prison sentence after he was convicted on charges relating to drugs (including cannabis). He faced Beenleigh Magistrates Court earlier this week after the police searched his Logan Village home on March 7th, 2021.
During their search, police located an undisclosed number of cannabis plants, two likely stolen identification cards and instructions describing how to produce meth. Police charged the Logan Village man for producing cannabis, possessing the meth documents, and possessing stolen ID cards. He later pleaded guilty to the charges.
In court, the man’s defence lawyer explained that his client had grown the cannabis to treat his nephew’s epilepsy. The defence provided the court with a doctor’s note proving the nephew suffers from the condition. He also explained that family members believed the nephew’s seizures decrease in frequency after he uses cannabis.
Although this is anecdotal, it is backed up by research and by Epilepsy Action Australia.
While the Magistrate accepted the 29-year-old’s defence that he wasn’t growing cannabis for himself, she warned that it was “distressing and disturbing” and that the man should “know the risks”.
The idea of normalising growing and using cannabis is concerning because, as someone who has been through the prison system for drug use, you know the risks. I find it very distressing and disturbing you would take that step.
She also questioned why the nephew didn’t obtain medical cannabis for his condition. While the government added one cannabis medication for epilepsy to PBS after the 29-year-old’s arrest, no other medication is publicly subsidised. This means that medical cannabis is simply too expensive for many families – as it costs an average of $382 a month.
The Magistrate recorded a conviction against the man and gave him a 3-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months. The 29-year-old is one of many Australians who illegally grew cannabis for the good of others. He isn’t the first and he won’t be the last.