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Drug advocate avoids jail for growing copious amounts of cannabis for ‘research, medicinal’ purpose

Joshua James Waldron told the court he grew cannabis for research and medicinal purposes and never made a profit from his endeavour.

A Queensland man caught growing copious amounts of cannabis in his family home has told a court he wants to be “valued in this country” for his work on the drug.

Joshua James Waldron’s sentencing took a turn on Thursday after the Caboolture man said he didn’t agree with the prosecution’s claim he grew the drug for commercial purposes.

The medicinal marijuana advocate insisted he made no money from his endeavour and instead kept it for “research” and gave it to people who were sick or needed it. “(I) hope one day I’m actually going to be professional and valued in this country for what I do behind cannabis,” he said.

Waldron pleaded guilty to one count each of producing and possessing dangerous drugs.

Brisbane District Court was told police discovered more than 18kg of cannabis in his house when they searched his property in September last year, most of it packaged in boxes.

Waldron told police he grew it for medicinal purposes.

Crown prosecutor Siobhan Harrison said a calendar detailing watering schedules was located and Waldron used “sophisticated” property to grow the drugs.

Waldron was caught with more than 18kg of cannabis, some packaged in boxes, when police searched his house in September last year.

Waldron disputed Ms Harrison’s assertion that he received money from people for the drugs.

“There was no reason for me to take money from people,” he said.

“I received a form of payment in the form of thanks … I never sold (weed), I was too afraid to.”

Representing himself, Waldron said he received nothing in exchange for the drug when supplying medicinal cannabis to “hundreds” of people.

He said some of the cannabis, including small frozen quantities, was kept for research.

Brisbane District Court was told Waldron didn’t receive any profits from his cultivation of the drug but knew what he was doing was illegal.

“I was doing a phenotype-selection process which gets to the end of good genetics, stable plants,” Waldron said.

“It was all different weights and strains, everything was labelled, nothing was intentionally packaged for sale.

“Nothing was the same … everything had a particular use or need.”

He said he knew his actions were illegal.

The court was told some of the packaged drugs weighed differently as they were wet or frozen.

In sentencing Waldron – who was supported by his partner and mother – Judge Jennifer Rosengren blasted him for seemingly thumbing his nose at the law due to prior convictions for similar offences.

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“What’s changed this time? You know it’s a crime, you know you’re doing the wrong thing, and yet here you find yourself back before a court and you want to beg leniency again?” she said.

“You can’t keep doing this and expect courts to say ‘don’t worry about it’ when you’re producing cannabis in quantities such as this.”

Waldron said it became harder for him to say no to sick people and he had an “idea of grandeur” for the law.

The court was told he worked for an alcohol delivery service but would soon start work for a company trying to establish medicinal cannabis centres across Queensland.

Judge Rosengren imposed a fine of $5000, ordering him to pay it within nine months or face jail. Convictions were recorded.

She took into account his family circumstances, including a baby due in Christmas and a custody battle over his previous relationship, and his mental health challenges. Originally published here:

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