A man from Bendigo has told a court that he “couldn’t live without his medicine” after he was fined for using cannabis to help with his mental health.
The Victorian was arrested after police raided his Epsom home on the 22nd of March, 2021. At the scene, police located 34 grams of dried cannabis hidden in the man’s bedroom. In Victoria, the cannabis would be worth roughly $510.
The man was reportedly abusive towards arresting officers but later explained to them that he was self-medicating with cannabis. Police charged him with cannabis possession, which he pleaded guilty to when he faced Bendigo Magistrates Court on Thursday the 1st of July.
In court, the man explained that he suffered from insomnia, nightmares, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He backed up his diagnosis with a letter from his psychologist, which recommended that he continue to use cannabis to help him with his mental health conditions.
He went on to explain that people who self-medicate with cannabis are treated poorly in Australia, stating that “I’m determined to move overseas because in this country I feel like a criminal.”
Finally, the Epsom man told the court that he believed cannabis was decriminalised in Victoria and that police couldn’t prosecute people caught with less than 50 grams of cannabis. Magistrate Susan Wakeling rebuked this claim, however, as the man has already faced court for cannabis possession charges this year.
As much as you might hope for and wish for this … if you choose to smoke cannabis you choose to break the law.
Magistrate Wakeling also told the court that the Epsom man didn’t have a legal prescription for medical cannabis. Ultimately, she fined the man $250 for possessing cannabis.