Medical Research ?

I read that a man who was arrested for growing 247 cannabis plants in NZ, avoided jail by claiming he was ‘Medical Researcher’. Here is some items from the Press release:

‘A drug “researcher” whose suburban growing operation could have produced $109,000 of cannabis a year has, unusually, avoided a jail term.’

‘(name removed), 32, claimed he was researching how to grow legal cannabis to get a job in the Australian industry, but now accepted what he did was “deeply illegal”.’

‘Police found the plants growing in four tents with automated lights and fans. They found bags of dried cannabis head.’ (ready for sale ?)

‘But sentencing Christchurch District Court Judge (name removed) accepted there was no sign it was a commercial set-up – there were no scales or lists of customers that are often found in commercial drug busts – and granted (the defendant), a father of two young children, a five-month community detention sentence in place of a jail term.’

‘Judge (removed) said (the defendant) had wanted to develop skills as a cannabis grower, and to develop new strains of cannabis, to get work with the medical marijuana industry in Australia.’

‘The Judge imposed the maximum 400 hours of community work, which she estimated would take (the defendant) two years to complete.’

‘Judge (removed) acknowledged a community-based sentence was unusual for a drug charge of this type.’

‘She said she had to consider a prison term, but reduced the term for his previous good character, his remorse, the lack of commerciality and his immediate guilty plea to the charge of cultivating cannabis. (the defendant) and his family were not living at the address.’

** The big question is.. Has this now set a precedent for all Cannabis growers, to claim a similar defense & avoid jail in future ?

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