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'This is a serious situation', magistrate tells man who grew cannabis for pain relief

A man who was growing cannabis to help deal with pain from an injury was close to finding himself deep in 'serious criminality', a magistrate said.

Michael Poltorasky, 47, pleaded guilty at the Ballarat Magistrates' Court on Tuesday to cultivating and possessing cannabis. Police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Clint Prebble said police executed a search warrant at his Scarsdale home on April 24, 2020.

He said Poltorasky was cooperative with police and showed them where cannabis was located around the property. The court heard police found eight small cannabis plants in a room in the back shed and another three plants in another room.

"This is a serious situation you got yourself into." Magistrate Ron Saines

There were more plants in a hothouse, cannabis drying in a shed at the front of the property and a number of bags and bins containing dried cannabis found.

Leading Senior Constable Prebble said two samurai swords were found in the bedroom.

The court heard Poltarasky told police he grew cannabis for medical reasons and was in the process of getting exemptions from a doctor.

Defence lawyer David Tamanika said Poltorasky suffered a workplace injury to his arm in 2018 while working as an industrial spray painter.

He said a doctor's report provided to the court revealed the injury was serious, he had not been able to work since and the use of his arm was significantly impacted.d created financial difficulty and mental health issues, as well as impacting his ability to engage in hobbies and do work around the house.

He said Poltorasky had started growing cannabis as an alternative to prescription pain medication and the low value cannabis produced showed he was not proficient in the science behind growing it.

Mr Tamanika said Poltorasky and his partner of four years had now separated and he had moved out of the Scarsdale house.

He said his client instructed he had the samurai swords for display in his bedroom. Magistrate Ron Saines said there was insufficient evidence to show Poltorasky was cultivating for the purpose of trafficking and he accepted he was growing it for personal use.

In his sentencing remarks, Mr Saines said Poltorasky was a 'long way' from going about accessing cannabis in a lawful manner.

"I would be very surprised if both your doctors didn't make it very clear your cannabis use is a serious detriment and makes treatment in respect to psychological challenges more difficult and complicated," he said.

Mr Saines said he accepted Poltorasky did not have any intention to sell the cannabis but the financial temptation could mean people found themselves in 'serious criminality'.

"This is a serious situation you got yourself into," he said.

"There is evidence to show you put time and thought into this.... There is evidence of high quality and high value cannabis there."

Poltorasky was convicted and fined a total of $1500.

"Those fines are representative of only a small proportion of the value of the cultivation," Mr Saines said.

"The amounts have been reduced because I accept your financial pressures, early plea and cooperation with police from the start."

If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city. Originally published here: https://www.thecourier.com.au/story/6986630/this-is-a-serious-situation-magistrate-tells-man-who-grew-cannabis-for-pain-relief/

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