Category Archives:Drug Cultivation

Australia’s First Legal Marijuana Plantation is on Its Way

Christmas Island is best known as home to one of Australia’s many detention centres – but it could soon be the site of Australia’s first medicinal cannabis plantation.

Australian company AusCann announced this week that it is close to an agreement with the Island’s 2000-strong population to plant a ‘trial crop,’ with seeds likely to be sown in late 2016.

The first batch of plants is likely to include five different varieties of cannabis, which have been sourced from Spanish company Phytoplant Research, with which it has established an exclusive partnership.

The move follows a recent Federal Government announcement that certain groups will be granted special permits to grow plants for medicinal and scientific purposes.

The company also announced plans to list on the ASX early next year, after raising $3 million. The funds will be used to continue research and development on the Christmas Island plantation.

AusCann’s managing director Elaine Darby told the media that Christmas Island had been chosen because of its unique environment, which makes it ideal for cannabis growth:

‘We have carefully selected Christmas Island for its isolation, climate and security…In particular, we note that the amount of available daylight hours is critical to triggering cannabis plant flowering. Christmas Island experiences minimal changes to its daylight hours, so it is feasible that we could produce two crops each year.’

According to Ms Darby, their plan has full support from the locals, who will benefit from the employment opportunities and economic value of the venture.

Tasmania is also being eyed off as a potential site for a plantation, with the NSW government entering into a partnership with the State to enable it to grow cannabis for medicinal marijuana trials. The State has previously had great success in growing poppy crops for the production of medical opioids.

On Thursday, NSW Premier Mike Baird and Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the partnership between the two states.

However, the location of any proposed plantations and the size of the crops is yet to be decided.

About AusCann

AusCann states that it ‘seeks to become a licensed producer supplying the global industry and local markets when legislation permits in Australian and other jurisdictions.’

It claims to be Australia’s leading group in the global medicinal cannabis sector.

It is headed by Dr Mal Washer, a former House of Representatives Liberal MP who practised as a doctor before entering politics. He previously chaired the Alcohol and Other Drug Council of Australia, and been a vocal advocate for medicinal cannabis.

The company seeks to capitalise on the benefits of cannabis in treating chronic pain and a range of illnesses, including multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and childhood epilepsy.

Company’s Plans Clinical Trials

AusCann’s initiative will be complemented by several Australian trials, which aim to explore the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. These include a series of trials set to begin in 2016 to determine the effectiveness of using cannabis to treat childhood epilepsy.

Currently, parents of children who suffer from chronic illnesses are forced to break the law to obtain cannabis-based treatments – meaning they could face criminal charges for drug possession, or supplying an illicit drug to a minor.

Earlier this year, Queensland father Adam Koessler was charged with both offences after he gave his daughter Rumer cannabis oil while she was in hospital being treated for a serious form of cancer. He was also prohibited from seeing his daughter, and is now only allowed to see her if a doctor is also in attendance.

Desperate parents such as Adam – together with those who suffer from serious illnesses – hope that the initiatives of companies like AusCann are a positive indication of things to come.

Illegally Obtained Evidence Ruled Admissible in Drug Trial

A person’s home may be their castle, but this doesn’t always mean it’s safe from the prying eyes of the law. While courts will often exclude improperly or illegally obtained evidence, this is not always the case.

Police Officer Finds Drugs after Wandering Outside Search Area

Mark Gallagher and Lynne Maree Burridge lived in neighbouring rural properties in NSW. In March 2012, police obtained a warrant to conduct a firearms audit at Gallagher’s house.

The warrant was in relation to a man named Paul Thompson, who was in the process of selling the house to Gallagher.

But when a police officer arrived, he couldn’t see anyone around the house. He thought he saw movement near a dam, which was about 50 metres away, so he began walking in that direction but in doing so trespassed onto Burridge’s neighbouring property.

When the officer got to the dam, he didn’t see or hear anyone. He then started walking back to the car via a pathway running alongside the dam, when he caught sight of a plastic irrigation pipe and went to investigate. He then came across a caged area on Burridge’s property containing over 150 cannabis plants, along with bags of cannabis leaf and seed.

The officer then returned to his car – but he had already overstepped his lawful authority by trespassing onto Burridge’s property.

As you can imagine, an investigation and drug charges quickly followed. The cannabis plants were on the property of Burridge but Gallagher had allegedly established and maintained the cultivation, so both were facing drug cultivation charges.

The central issue was whether the fact that the police officer trespassed onto Burridge’s property – where the drugs were found – was enough for the evidence of drugs to be excluded from court.

This was vital to the defence of Gallagher and Burridge, because courts can refuse illegally or improperly obtained evidence from the courtroom.

At trial, the Judge excluded the evidence on the basis that the search was unlawful, as the police officer was trespassing when he discovered the cannabis plants.

Without this crucial evidence, it was all over for the prosecution, so they appealed to the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal (NSWCCA).

Unfortunately for Gallagher and Burridge, the NSWCCA did not come to the same conclusion as the trial Judge. The three Justices agreed that the search was illegal, but found that the evidence should have been allowed before the jury anyway.

Admissibility of Improperly Obtained Evidence

Under section 138 of the Evidence Act, illegally or improperly obtained evidence cannot be used in court unless “the desirability of admitting the evidence outweighs the undesirability of admitting evidence that has been obtained in the way in which the evidence was obtained.”

In deciding whether or not to admit evidence, the court must take into account:

  • The probative value of the evidence;
  • The importance of the evidence;
  • The nature of the relevant offence;
  • The gravity of the impropriety or contravention;
  • Whether the impropriety was deliberate or reckless;
  • Whether the impropriety or contravention was deliberate or reckless;
  • Whether any other proceeding has been or is likely to be taken in relation to the impropriety or contravention (such as internal discipline against a police officer); and
  • The difficulty of obtaining the evidence without impropriety or contravention of an Australian law.

The NSWCCA found that the contravention of the police officer was accidental and careless rather than intentional, and that the desirability of admitting the evidence outweighed the undesirability of allowing evidence obtained in that way.

The prosecution’s appeal was allowed on that basis, and Gallagher and Burridge must once again face trial – but, this time, the evidence of the cannabis will be admitted before the jury.

When Will Courts Exclude Illegal Evidence?

The best chance of excluding evidence is if the offence is relatively trivial – for example, drug possession or small drug supply – and the illegality is substantial or deliberate. Part of the rationale of excluding illegally or improperly obtained evidence is to take away any incentive for police to act out of line. Ensuring that this kind of evidence cannot be used is therefore intended to deter police from collecting it improperly or illegally in the first place.

If you are facing drug charges, getting help from experienced lawyers who specialises in drug cases will give you the highest chance of having the charges against you dropped or thrown out of court if you wish to plead not guilty, or achieving the most lenient outcome if you wish to plead guilty.

Cannabis Cultivation: An Opportunity for Battling Aussie Farmers?

It’s a tough time for many Aussie farmers: with lands plagued by drought, tough international competition and ongoing price wars between supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths.

But the possibiityof new enterprise has given some farmers fresh hope.

Last week, the Federal Government announced that it would legalise the cutivation of medicinal cannabis; allowing farmers to sow and harvest the hardy crop to aid Australians suffering from chronic health problems.

The proposed scheme

The proposal would involve amending the Commonwealth Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 to allow for the cultivation of cannabis for scientific and medicinal purposes.

Prospective growers would be required to comply with a licensing scheme to ensure that the product and systems meet legal requirements.

The plan has been likened to a current scheme which allows Tasmanian farmers to grow poppies to produce morphine – an industry which generates around $100 million annually for local farmers.

Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman has welcomed the opportunity, saying: ‘We look forward to working with the Federal Government on opportunities for growing medicinal cannabis in Tasmania.’

Health Minister Susan Ley has also welcomed the proposal, saying that the amendments will help those suffering from dehabilitating health conditions. She believes ‘it is important…that we put in place what we know will support a safe, legal and sustainable supply of a product.’

Those who grow cannabis without a valid licence will still face drug charges: in NSW, drug cultivation carries a range of heavy penalties depending on the amount and type of drug cultivated, and the court that the case is heard in.

Farmers express doubts

But some Tasmanian farmers have expressed reservations about the new venture, saying that those who have grown medicinal cannabis overseas maintained small crops of between three and five hectares, and that there is little financial incentive to grow the plant here.

Chief Executive of the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, Peter Skillern, told the media that ‘growing medicinal cannabis is not going to produce a new agricultural product for Tasmania, or Australian farmers for that matter.’

He feels it is unlikely that medicinal marijuana will be used widely enough to require more than one crop. He says that the opportunities for farmers will be further limited by the fact that government scientists and lab technicians are also allowed to grow the plant.

Mr Skillern’s views appear to be supported by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ recent announcement that his government would begin a ‘cannabis cultivation trial’.

Parents may no longer need to break the law

Mr Andrews previously voiced concerns about parents being forced to break the law to source cannabis medications for their children – many of whom are suffering serious illnesses such as cancer and severe epilepsy, and who have shown remarkable improvement whilst using the drug.

Those concerns followed the publication of a report by the Victorian Law Reform Commission, which put forth a series of recommendations about how the current legal and regulatory hurdles could be overcome.

But while an earlier report considered the potential for state-controlled cultivation, the more recent report explored the potential for farmers to apply for a cannabis-growing licence from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

The need for greater access

While many have welcomed the announcements, others say that more needs to be done to improve access to medicinal cannabis.

Among them is Greens Senator Richard de Natale, who says that the cannabis licensing proposal ‘ignores the most important part of the equation and that is making sure that people who need this drug can get access to it.’

He believes that there is a ‘bottleneck in the approval of medicinal cannabis and this legislation does nothing to address that.’

And some parents are concerned that the announcement is a case of too little, too late.

One Tasmanian mother says that her child may have to wait for years to access a legal form of the cannabis tincture that she currently uses illegally to treat epilepsy.

But others disagree: Tasmanian Health Minister Michael Ferguson says that the matter of cannabis cultivation was the most important missing element in the move towards legalisation for medicinal purposes, and is a giant leap forward.

And the Australian Medical Association has emphasised the need to conduct thorough trials before medicinal cannabis hits the shelves.

Top Cannabis Strains

Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in Australia, with 34.8% of Australians over the age of 14 reporting trying it at least once in their lives.

And with the growing acceptance of both medical and recreational marijuana overseas, drug cultivators are constantly striving to find methods to increase the potency of the drug whilst minimising negative side effects such as paranoia, impaired thinking and fatigue.

Back in the day, stoners had very little choice of strain. Today, users in places where marijuana is legal can take their pick from a diverse range of strains which differ in strength, taste and effect .

The desire to develop the best strain of cannabis has even spawned the Cannabis Cup, an annual marijuana trade show hosted in those of the United States where cannabis is legalised. The Cup is the yearly meeting point for cannabis enthusiasts and growers who gather to discuss, celebrate and showcase the drug. At each Cup, judges award prizes for the best strains of cannabis.

And with the proliferation of online cannabis rating sites such as Leafly and Cannabist, users can now scroll through a wide range of strains online to find one to suit their needs.

We have compiled a list of some of the best cannabis, indica and hybrid strains here from various cannabis rankings around the world. Of course, users may beg to differ!


Indica plants are generally shorter and bushier than sativa plants. Indica buds are best suited to night use, producing a relaxing body high which can aid in the treatment of stress and sleep problems.

1. Granddaddy Purple

Taking out the top spot for indica is this famous strain, aptly named after its berry-grape aroma and deep purple tinge. A cross between the Purple Urkle and Big Bud strains, it has a reported THC content of between 17-23%. It is used predominantly for treating pain, appetite loss and stress, with users experiencing a heavy body high.

2. Northern Lights

One of the most famous cannabis strains on the market, this pure indica bud has a THC percentage of 18%+. It is highly desirable amongst growers as it is easily grown and cloned. Users describe feeling de-stressed, relaxed, euphoric and happy.

3. OG Kush

Though this is an indica-dominant strain, it has sativa-like properties, producing a euphoric high which aids in the treatment of anxiety and stress disorders. With fragrant earthy aromas and a high THC content of between 19-26%, it’s been used as the base for many other spin-off strains such as Tahoe OG and Alpha OG.

4. Blueberry

One of the most popular strains in the US, this predominantly indica strain is so-named because of its distinctive blue-purple hue and fruity aroma. With a THC percentage of 19.5%, it’s certainly not the strongest strain on the market, but it makes the list because of its long-lasting, strong, euphoric high which leaves users feeling immensely relaxed. As an indica strain it is also highly effective for pain and stress relief.


In contrast, sativas are better known for producing an uplifting, energetic high, and are thus better suited for social or daytime use. Plants are generally taller, with thinner leaves.

1. Sour Diesel

Named after its diesel-like aroma, this strain takes out the top spot on numerous cannabis ranking sites, containing a THC content of 19-25%. With energising, uplifting effects, it is a popular choice amongst users wanting to treat stress, pain and depression.

2. Jack Herer

Named after the American cannabis activist Jack Herer, who founded the Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) organisation, this strain has taken out the top spot in numerous Cannabis Cups, winning 11 awards overall. Though it is a hybrid of the Skunk, Haze and Northern Lights strains, it’s recognised as a sativa-dominant variety, producing a strong body and head high. It contains between 15-20% THC and leaves users feeling happy and euphoric.

3. Super Silver Haze

A strain with legendary status amongst cannabis users, Super Silver Haze is technically a sativa-dominant hybrid of three famous strains – Skunk (25%), Northern Lights (25%) and Haze (50%). It took out the top place in its category in three consecutive Cannabis Cups between 1997 and 1999 and is still one of the most highly prized strains around. Users speak of its unique uplifting effects and long-lasting body high, which minimises some of the fatigue issues associated with regular strains of marijuana.

4. AK-47

Developed in the early 1990’s, sativa-dominant AK-47 has won several Cannabis Cups around the world for its mellow, relaxed high. It’s somewhat of a multicultural bud, blending strains from Colombia, Mexico, Thailand and Afghanistan together for a complex aromatic flavour. With an average THC content of 14%, users also report feeling creative, lazy and uplifted.


Hybrids seek to combine the effects of both the sativa and indica strains. While most commercially produced strains are now hybrids which are ‘dominated’ by either a sativa or indica strain, some hybrids contain almost equal percentages of both strains.

1. Bruce Banner #3

Fittingly named after The Incredible Hulk’s alter ego, BB3 has one of the highest known THC percentages at 28.5%. Prized amongst users who report a sudden intense burst of euphoria followed by a mellow, relaxing high, the bud has a strong, earthy yet sweet aroma.

2. Girl Scout Cookies

This famous hybrid blends sativa strain Durban Poison with hybrid strain OG Kush, producing an intense euphoria balanced by a heavy body high. With a THC content of between 17-28%, even regular users report experiencing the strong effects of the strain. It has a sweet aroma complemented by an earthy, pungent texture.

So there you have it folks, some of the top cannabis strains around together with their descriptions.

But a word of warning – cannabis is still illegal in Australia, with users being dragged to court for drug possession and dealers being charged with drug supply, while at the same time cigarette and alcohol companies are free to sell deadly drugs that create far greater problems for society than weed ever has.

RIP Dan Haslam: Champion of Cannabis Legalisation

The man responsible for making NSW Premier Mike Baird rethink his stance on legalising cannabis for medical use has sadly passed away.

At just 25 years of age, Dan Haslam recently lost his five year battle against terminal bowel cancer.

Haslam’s story is a remarkable one. He was raised in a conservative family, with a father on the Police Drug squad. It seemed that he was unlikely to ever support cannabis legalisation.

He was diagnosed with bowel cancer and suffered immense pain as it quickly spread from his bowel to his liver and then to his bones.

He became weak though chemotherapy, and his legal painkillers did little to ease the pain, sometimes leaving him worse than when he didn’t take them.

A fellow cancer sufferer recommended that he take cannabis to ease the pain. Although sceptical at first, Haslam was quickly converted after trying the drug which did wonders to reduce his pain levels.

He said the difference was instant and unbelievable.

Haslam then became a staunch supporter of legalising cannabis for medicinal use, as did his mother who began a campaign to legalise it.

Mike Baird met with Haslam, and this meeting proved to be instrumental in changing the NSW Premier’s views on the use of cannabis medicinally.

Baird admitted that the meeting with Haslam left a deep impression on him, and announced a trial for the medical use of cannabis.

The trial is expected to start enrolling patients in 2016 and is likely to include terminally ill adults, chemotherapy patients and epileptic children.

Baird announced that if the trial is successful, the government will look at importing or cultivating cannabis within Australia.

But what about now?

Baird says that in the meantime, police have discretion about whether or not to charge those caught with small amounts of cannabis.

But this still leaves those in chronic pain who rely on cannabis vulnerable to drug charges.

Last month, NSW Leader of the Opposition Luke Foley proposed changing the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act immediately, so that patients cannot be prosecuted.

Foley believe that the trials are pointless because the medical benefits of marijuana are already obvious. He says that immediate changes to the Act will mean that sufferers will no longer fear prosecution, while at the same time saving $9 million that is currently set-aside for the trials.

However, supporters of the trials point out that they will provide more information about which types of illnesses and people are the most suitable for cannabis treatment.

Psychopharmacology researcher David Allsop, for example, that claims that although many people use cannabis to help with epilepsy, there is no research to back up their claims that it is effective.

He points out that epilepsy, unlike terminal cancer, is not likely to kill a person, meaning that the long-term effects of the drug may outweigh any immediate benefits.

Haslam’s legacy

Although Haslam died just months after the clinical trial was announced, his role in changing the mind of the Premier and so many others about cannabis legalisation will not be forgotten.

As Mike Baird said: “Every footstep we take on medical cannabis will be built on the footsteps he left behind.”

Cannabis Growers at Risk of Violence

The risks of growing cannabis come in many forms, not just being discovered and dragged through the courts.

Cannabis growers are also at risk of theft, blackmail, assault or worse.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, most cannabis is grown hydroponically, not farmed.

Not only police, but people interested in getting their hands on cannabis or money often look for tell-tale signs that cannabis is being grown on a property.

One mother was tragically shot in a bungled burglary in South Australia, when men who broke into her house to get her plants but accidently ended up shooting her.

The court was told that the three masked men only intended to use the gun to frighten the occupants before stealing the cannabis, but their plan went wrong.

The mother of three, Karen Hodgson was ordered back into a bedroom after the men entered her home, but as she did so, Kelly Pearman, the man who was holding a defective gun, accidently discharged it.

Many similar attacks have occurred in South Australia – which is the only Australian state to have decriminalised minor cannabis offences.

In that state, possessing a small amount of cannabis for personal use, or not more than one cannabis plant, means that police have the discretion to deal with the matter by giving you an on the spot fine.

This means that users can avoid going to court or getting a criminal record.

Although cannabis possession is still a criminal offence in NSW, police here can also issue a ‘cannabis caution’ in certain situations, which also means that users stay out of court and are not given a criminal record.

Another cannabis related break-in occurred right here in NSW several years ago.

Burwood Local Court heard that a gang broke into a family home early one morning and dragged the occupants out of bed, demanding to know where their cannabis plants were.

A mother and daughter were then sexually assaulted, while other gang members removed the plants from the cellar of the house.

Meanwhile, the father was hit with a rifle and, while attempting to escape, had his arm sliced to the bone with a machete.

Thieves will often look for signs of drug cultivation before they select their target – such as blacked out windows, the smell of illegal drugs, people bringing in large amounts of chemicals or fertiliser, and large air vents on the house, garage or storage shed.

Other times break-ins are the result of insider knowledge from one of the people engaged in the manufacture or their friends.

And sadly, mistakes can lead to the wrong houses can be targeted.

For obvious reasons, those who are the victims of cannabis theft will often be reluctant to report the matter to police.

As one Adelaide woman found out, police will not hesitate to charge growers with drug manufacturing even after they are the victims of a theft.

That lady reported a break-in to police, who found three cannabis plants while they were investigating the incident.

Police seized the plants and charged the woman with drug cultivation.

The penalties for drug cultivation vary depending on the quantity grown.

For a small number of plants – which is likely to be the case for many backyard growers – there is a two-year maximum prison term or a fine of $2,000.

In a similar incident, a 35-year-old man reported an incident where six men smashed a front window of his home.

Police could not find the culprits, but they did notice six large cannabis plants growing hydroponically and charged him with drug cultivation.

And one Northern Territory woman reported her stolen handbag which she knew contained $100 worth of cannabis. In fact, she even admitted in her statement that she owned the stolen drugs.

And if you were planning to recover your losses under insurance, don’t get your hopes up as insurance companies will obviously not cover you for illegal items.

The message is: be careful, as growing cannabis can have consequences beyond a criminal conviction and potential prison sentence.

What is Drug Cultivation and how can a Specialist Drug Lawyer help me beat a Drug Cultivation Charge?

Just last week, police uncovered a cannabis ‘grow house’ in Forde, a suburb of Canberra.

An apparently careless person left the home’s garage door open, which caused a passer-by to become concerned that the house was not locked.

Police responded to the call and, upon arrival, smelt a wonderfully familiar odour.

They peered inside and saw equipment used in the cultivation of cannabis.

A search warrant was executed and a sophisticated set-up was found, with 30 adult plants growing in one bedroom and another 70 seedlings in another.

A range of horticultural equipment was seized, including grow lights, irrigation systems and air filters.

No arrests have yet been made, as the culprits must have gotten wind that the ‘jig was up’.

Police have appealed to the public for information, but so far no-one has come forward.

If police find those responsible, it is likely that they will be charged with drug cultivation.

In New South Wales, the offence of drug cultivation is contained in section 23 of the Drug Misuse ad Trafficking Act 1985.

The law says that to be found guilty, the prosecution must prove that you cultivated an illegal plant, supplied an illegal plant to another person, or possessed an illegal plant on your own property.

Drug cultivation therefore encompasses a wide range of actions – even where you didn’t own the plant or equipment.

For example, you may be charged with drug cultivation where it is alleged that you watered or fertilised plants, even if they were owned by someone else and on their property.

You can also be charged if you supply the seeds or spores of an illegal plant to another person.

If you are found guilty of drug cultivation, the maximum penalty will depend on the amount and type of plants that you have, as well as the court in which your case is heard.

Penalties range from 10 years imprisonment and/or a $220,000 fine for a small quantity of cannabis (no more than five plants), all the way to life imprisonment and/or a $550,000 fine for a large commercial quantity (1000 or more) of plants other than cannabis, such as magic mushrooms.

If charged under New South Wales law, the persons responsible for the grow operation uncovered in Canberra would be looking at a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and/or a $220,000 fine for growing more than the indictable quantity of cannabis, but less than the commercial quantity.

If they are charged, let’s hope they get themselves a good drug lawyer who has a lot of experience fighting drug cultivation cases!

For serious offences such as drug cultivation, a lawyer who specialises in drug cases can make all the difference to securing a favourable result.

For example, in cases like the one discussed above, an experienced drug lawyer may be able to push to have the charges dropped at an early stage by identifying problems with the prosecution case, such as a lack of evidence that a particular person was actually involved in the cultivation, even though they may have been present at the premises and observed the operation taking place.

Earlier this week, a young woman was found ‘not guilty’ to charges of taking part in a cannabis grow operation, again in Canberra.

The 21 year old was part of a group charged with growing cannabis after police uncovered 98 plants that were being grown in her parents’ house, along with a range of sophisticated hydroponics equipment.

It was alleged that she had cultivated the plants in 2012.

The prosecution alleged that the house was ‘consumed’ by the plantation, and presented evidence from a camera installed by police inside the house which showed the woman present during the height of the operation.

Despite that evidence, her lawyer was able to secure an acquittal by arguing that she had not actively taken part in the cultivation and had only lived at the house intermittently.

This was supported by a lack of DNA evidence or fingerprints on the equipment that was used.

It was argued that she did not hide or help grow the plants, but rather omitted to inform her parents and the police.

The expert defence team at Sydney Drug Lawyers is renowned for their expertise in drug cultivation cases.

One of our cases involved a 36 year old lady who was charged with drug cultivation after her DNA was found on fixtures and fertilising liquid allegedly used to grow hydroponic cannabis inside a Richmond home.

The prosecution also had video surveillance of our client entering the premises on numerous occasions over a 2 month period.

The owner of that house pleaded guilty to the charge and received a lengthy prison sentence.

We, on the other hand, had our client’s charges dropped altogether after successfully arguing that the evidence was not sufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt that she actively participated in the enterprise.

As Sydney’s leading drug lawyers, we are vastly experienced at fighting and winning serious drug cultivation cases, and can help you to understand the allegations against you, as well as your options.

We can identify any weaknesses in the prosecution case and any defences that you may have, such as where you were coerced or threatened into taking part in the enterprise.

If your matter proceeds to court, we guarantee that you will be represented by our highly respected senior lawyers, each of whom have many years of experience fighting and winning drug cases.

You can take a look at our recent cases to see the outstanding results that we achieve for our clients.

We also offer a FREE first conference, so call us now on (02) 9264 5778 to book an appointment to meet with our expert defence team.

Should Marijuana be Legalised for Medicinal Use?

Over 20 states in America have already legalised some form of medicinal use of marijuana.

The question on many Australians minds is, will the same thing happen here?

With public support for the allowance of medicinal marijuana standing at 69%, according to a survey by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, it is clear that the issue has garnered significant public support.

This topic is one that crops up in the public debate regularly.

It is not too surprising that it is a Greens Member of Parliament who is championing the legalisation of marijuana for medical use in the ACT.

However in NSW, Liberal Premier Mike Baird has stated that he too is sympathetic to those suffering chronic pain which can be relieved by the use of cannabis.

But he does harbour concerns about supply and regulation of the drug if it did become legal for medicinal use.

The proposed scheme in the ACT is that personal use of marijuana would be allowed for those who fit into one of three categories:

  1. Those with a terminal illness who have been given just 12 months or less to live
  2. Those who are suffering from a serious illness like HIV or AIDS, cancer, spinal cord injury, and multiple sclerosis
  3. Those who suffer from chronic or debilitating conditions

Under the suggested scheme, subscribers would be issued permits that lasted for 12 months at a time.

Either approved patients or their carers would be allowed to grow cannabis for their own personal use.

Those applying would need approval from the chief health officer.

Whether or not NSW will consider such a policy will depend largely on the government substantially rethinking their stance on drugs.

While the government does not seem to be inclined to change their current position, there are several reasons why perhaps they should.

Currently, Australians who use marijuana medicinally are breaking the law.

Police can either charge them and take them to court or, if the quantity is less than 15 grams, caution them under the ‘cannabis cautioning scheme’.

If taken to court, a person could face a maximum penalty of two years in prison and/or a $2,200 fine.

For cultivation and supply the penalties are even harsher.

If you are caught growing cannabis in NSW the penalties for cultivation, if it is dealt with in the Local court you may face a maximum jail time of two years as well as a fine of $5,500.

If however, your case is dealt with in the District court, a small quantity of five plants or less comes with a maximum 10 years and/or a $220,000 fine.

Legalising cannabis for personal use for those suffering serious medical conditions would remove these illegalities and ensure that those genuinely seeking relief from severe pain or chronic illness would not be criminalised.

On the other side of the argument, there are also concerns that the long-term and short-term effects of using marijuana medicinally have not yet been adequately researched.

Although there was a proposed trial in 2003 under the Carr government, for studying the medical use of cannabis, it never went ahead. Successive governments never progressed with the trial.

While smoking marijuana is harmful, even more so than cigarettes, recent health research has shown alternatives like synthetic cannabinoids are safer and more effective for medical use than marijuana.

However, these synthetic drugs are also illegal. There is currently a trial underway testing a synthetic cannabis product that is absorbed via an oral spray for relieving uncontrolled and persistent pain.

The Cancer Council NSW acknowledges that which marijuana may be useful for relieving pain in some circumstances and have other benefits, smoking the drug can be particularly harmful.

They recommend that the NSW government rethink their position.

They note that synthetic cannabis products, such as those which are absorbed through an oral spray would be preferable.

Although legalising marijuana would no doubt relieve the pain and suffering of chronically ill Australians, and be welcomed by many, it does not seem likely to happen anytime soon.