A Melbourne man has been slapped with a short prison sentence after he grew cannabis to “make ends meet” during COVID-19.
Victorian police arrested the man after they carried out a raid on his Diggers Rest home on July 1st, 2021. Police located 30 cannabis plants on the property – 17 of which they found inside the house and 13 of which they found in two tents outside. Police also seized a range of prohibited weapons and 832 grams of dried cannabis in three ziplock bags. The dried cannabis is worth roughly $12,480.
Police charged the Digger’s Rest man with cultivating and trafficking cannabis and possession of the weapons (which included an unregistered firearm, taser, ballistic knife, capsicum spray, and expandable batons). They also dismantled his hydroponics operation.
The man appeared in Sunshine Magistrate’s Court on Friday (September 3rd) for sentencing. In court, his defence lawyer Karen Chibert explained that the man lost his full-time job in December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He started cultivating cannabis to replace his lost income as he felt he had no other options.
He was suffering from an ongoing depressive episode and turned to criminal behaviour to make ends meet.
Though police described his cannabis operation as “sophisticated”, the Digger’s Rest man had no criminal record. Considering this (and his PTSD from a prior home invasion), the magistrate sentenced him to 60 days in jail with a 15-month community corrections order. The cannabis he grew will be destroyed – though it’s a tiny fraction of the cannabis in Victoria right now.