Australia: Cultivate Cannabis Case Study

Dribbin & Brown Criminal Lawyers

Cultivate CannabisCharges:

  1. Section 72B of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act, cultivate a narcotic plant, namely cannabis.
  2. Section 73 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act, possess a drug of dependence, namely cannabis.

Court Location: Melbourne Magistrates Court

Cultivate Cannabis Facts:

The charges arose from an inspection of the client’s rental by the real estate agent. Whilst inspecting the premises some drug paraphernalia and plants were found.

Police then executed a search warrant and located a total of 45 cannabis plants weighing in excess of 5kg, 19 leafy stems of cannabis weighing almost 30gms, and some loose and liquid cannabis weighing just over 1.5kgs. This made a total weight of over 6.5kgs of cannabis located throughout the house.

Our client was the only occupant of the premises and was a young person in their early twenties with no prior criminal history.

Our client had left home at an early age as there were issues in the family home. Our client had supported themselves and lived independently ever since, but what it meant was that when the injury occurred they were not in a financial position to be able to afford the surgery, nor take the time off work for the recovery period after.

Essentially, this left them in the positon where they had lived with a significant knee injury for over four years. Unfortunately, the pain medication prescribed to our client had significant side effects that made it impossible for them to work as they could not drive a forklift under the influence of them. Therefore, our client began to use cannabis to treat the pain.

However, our client again was not financially able to continue to purchase the cannabis, nor did they want to deal with the type of people who sell it. Thus, our client decided to try and grow their own supply for the foreseeable future.

There was no real level of sophistication with the setup it was essentially just a bunch of pot-plants around the house and outside.

Our client was cooperative with police and made full admissions to police in relation to growing his own supply of cannabis as they were using it to manage their chronic pain from a knee injury in their teen years.

Cultivate Cannabis Result:

The matter was extensively discussed with the prosecution and the informant in relation to the possibility of diversion.

The prosecution had great reluctance to recommend diversion given there was over 6.5kgs of cannabis found. There would be a significant difference for growing the plants to sell vs simply growing them for personal use.

Extensive medical documents regarding the long-standing injury and the range of treatments tried ever since were relied upon to establish that our client had no commercial interest in growing the plants and that they were solely for personal use to treat the chronic pain.

Furthermore, evidence of our client’s new address, with their brother, and the counselling that they had undertook since the incident were also provided to the prosecution in support of our case.

After lengthy discussions, the prosecution finally agreed to recommend diversion and the matter went before a Magistrate.

Again, the Magistrate had concerns about the suitability of the matter for diversion, given the quantum of cannabis found at the premises. However, after detailed submissions around our client’s background and current circumstances, in particular the fact that they were on the waitlist for the surgery and engaged in treatment for the drug use, the Magistrate agreed to give our client the opportunity of diversion.

The value of the diversion for such a young person was of immense value. Rather than having a criminal record that would last a lifetime, these charges would be marked discharged upon the completion of the diversion program and our client’s record would remain clean. The importance of this for future job opportunities and travel plans is immeasurable.

It was an amazing outcome to successfully get diversion for such a large quantity of cannabis. The result was born of extensive preparation, tenacity and getting the right material to evidence our position early in the case, a theme that flows through all good Court outcomes.

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