‘World of difference’: Backyard weed is not medicine
A NORTHERN NSW woman has been released without a conviction after growing cannabis in her backyard.
Federal woman Andrea Jones, 49, pleaded guilty to a single charge of possessing a prohibited plant when she faced Byron Bay Local Court on Monday.
Police attended Ms Jones' home on the evening of May 28 this year.
They had no warrant, but Ms Jones allowed them onto the property and they found 12 plants, each about a metre high.
Defence solicitor Simon Priestley told the court Ms Jones used cannabis for pain relief and, since being charged, had obtained a prescription through a Byron Bay doctor to access cannabis oil legally.
With hopes of working in the medicinal cannabis field, she had also obtained a certificate from the online-based Cannabis Training University.
Magistrate Michael Dakin expressed some doubts about the argument of using homegrown cannabis as medicine.
"Without wishing to sound sarcastic … the stuff people grow in their backyard is not the stuff that's prescribed," Mr Dakin said.
"The THC is reduced so the psychoactive component is not in the medicinal cannabis so I don't agree it's the same substance.
"Unless you can point me to some science … that's my firm held view.
"I'm not saying there may not be some medicinal benefit (but) there's a world of difference."
Mr Priestley said the legal variety was costing in the realm of $700 every six weeks.
But he said his client had good prospects of not reoffending.
"People don't grow their own poppy-based painkillers and they're not allowed to do that either," he said.
"She understands that … and knows that she can't do it again."
Mr Priestley asked for Ms Jones to be spared a conviction.
Mr Dakin acknowledged Ms Jones was "otherwise a person of good character" who is "well thought of by those who've known her for many years".
But he expressed concern that such offences remain "prevalent in this area".
He placed her on an 18-month bond and did not record a conviction.