BUSTED: A backyard set-up for growing cannabis was described as sophisticated in Proserpine Magistrates Court.
BUSTED: A backyard set-up for growing cannabis was described as sophisticated in Proserpine Magistrates Court. Bill North

Backyard drug set-up takes man to court

A MAN who chose to self-medicate with cannabis grown in his own backyard has been told by a magistrate it is unacceptable to turn to illicit drugs for pain management.

Tony Christopher Meredith, 31, Cannonvale, pleaded guilty in Proserpine Magistrates Court to possessing used drug utensils, possessing anything in commission with a crime, possessing property suspected of being the proceeds of an offence and three counts of possessing a dangerous drug.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Emma Myors told the court Meredith was found in possession of cannabis by police during random roadside breath testing on May 26, in Airlie Beach at 9.05am.

It was then police sighted several plant clippings in Meredith's car.

"He denied the plants were cannabis and said they were Thai basil,” Sgt Myors said.

"He said he grew them from seeds at his home address.”

Meredith was then arrested and taken to the Whitsundays Watch House before a search warrant was executed at his Cannonvale address.

Sgt Myors said during the search, police found several plants, a dehumidifier, 15 small cuttings at varying stages of growth, a calendar marked with details of when planted seeds spouted, and a running vent fan.

Additionally, a total of 10.5 grams of chopped cannabis was found inside Meredith's residence along with a bag of orange crystals identified as DMT (N, N-Dimethyltryptamine).

The court heard Meredith refused to answer any questions, but did say his drug production was for his own personal use.

Sgt Myors said although Meredith didn't have any similar history, the sophisticated set up and his drug dependence, were means for a probation order between 9 to 10 months.

Defence barrister Matthew Heelan told the court Meredith used cannabis to control pain caused from injury sustained in an attack in 2008, while he was still living in New Zealand before migrating to Australia more than eight years ago. 

"He used cannabis instead of prescribed medication - unfortunately he has seen cannabis can be used,” Mr Heelan said.

"At its height, (Meredith) was using seven to eight grams (of cannabis) a week.”

Mr Heelan said Meredith had taken the situation seriously, proving he was clear of cannabis in his system in a recent drug test, and back using his prescribed medication.

Concerned about having convictions recorded, Mr Heelan referred to two previous cases, however Mr Morton was more concerned about finding the appropriate punishment for Meredith's drug producing set up.

"Let's not forget he's growing dope here - he says it's because he got belted in New Zealand,” Mr Morton said.

"He thought he'd save some cash and grow dope - this is not a large scale set up but it isn't your run of the mill.

"I'm still trying to fathom the relevance of the assault back in 2008 and how that validates the use of marijuana.”

Meredith was convicted and fined $1800 with one month to pay and served a default of 10 days imprisonment with all items seized.


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