A Wagga magistrate has handed down a bold non-conviction to a man caught growing 12 cannabis plants for his terminally ill father.
Medical marijuana advocates have thrown their support behind the verdict but insist there is still a long way to go for struggling families fighting for amnesty.
Narrandera herbalist Rach Cregan said the case was a “show of compassion” which could have the power to set a desperately needed precedent.
A grieving son, the accused stood in Wagga Local Court after making full admissions to police, pleading guilty to one count of cultivating a prohibited plant.
Solicitor Rod Kennedy, who represented the young Riverina man, said his client’s father had now passed away.
“It’s a matter where there was no suggestion of monetary gain and no suggestion he was doing it for any purpose other then what he told police,” Mr Kennedy said.
“Police didn’t have a warrant but he allowed them on the premises anyway.”
The facts tendered to the court state the man made a full admission to growing the plants for the sole purpose of making cannabis for his very ill father, who was battling multiple cancers.
“The accused was able to inform police how to make the oil and stated he never intended on administering the cannabis himself or on giving it to anyone,” the facts state.
Police prosecutor Priscilla Jones said she didn’t wish to be heard as Magistrate Michael Crompton told the court he intended to sentence the man to a good behaviour bond without conviction.
“It is a very difficult one – I think I am in the courts hands,” Ms Jones said.
Ms Cregan said despite the courts empathy toward the case, those using cannabis for medical purposes shouldn’t need to argue for compassion.
“We are not criminals and we’re not going to lie but we shouldn’t have to go underground,” she said.
“It’s good that the court is finally showing a bit of empathy but it’s still not far enough.”
Ms Cregan said sick residents finding relief from cannabis were still holding out for a long-awaited decriminalisation.
“It seems to be based on judges personal opinions but we need something regulated,” she said.
Cannabis campaigner Lucy Haslam, whose late son started using the illegal drug in his fight against cancer, said it was an important step in what remained a sad indictment.
“It’s pretty sad that we still have a situation where someone can be charged after dealing with the burden of their father being sick in the first place,” she said.
The story No conviction for Riverina medical cannabis grower in Wagga court first appeared on The Daily Advertiser (Suzuka2).