Black market ‘medical’ cannabis has ‘unintended effects’
SELLING cannabis and saying it's "medicinal" does not make it so.
This was the message a magistrate made clear to a Eureka man when he was sentenced for drug supply and possession before Byron Bay Local Court this week.
Andrew Richards, 55, from Eureka, had pleaded guilty to supplying cannabis oil, possessing cannabis in various forms and magic mushrooms and dealing with the proceeds of crime after police executed a search warrant at his home in July.
The court heard police found cannabis leaf, resin and oil at the home.
They found capsules containing cannabis oil in numbered, resealable bags.
According to court documents, he told police at the time he was "not a criminal" but supplied the drug for "medicinal purposes".
Defence solicitor John Weller said Richards had seen his mental health improve "once he stopped what he thought was the healing drug".
Magistrate Karen Stafford said members of the community must not simply decide to be medical cannabis dispensaries.
"(For you) to supply them on a medical basis, it is still criminal behaviour," she said.
Ms Stafford noted a recent Private Members Bill before NSW parliament calling for the legalisation of cannabis and related products.
"That has been rejected by the current government," she said.
"You're not the only person in this area who's taken it upon themselves to become some sort of de facto supplier of medical cannabis."
She said there was "no medical background or expert overview" to what Richards was doing.
"Once you have been off drugs your mental health has improved," Ms Stafford said.
"Where people in the community take it upon themselves to become these unqualified suppliers it really can have an effect on people to whom they're supplying that wasn't intended.
"There has to be a strong message to people in particular in this area: they must stop supplying 'medical' cannabis (or face) that unintended effect on the community which is a real risk."
Richards received a nine month intensive corrections order.
$3750 police found at his home was forfeited.