Magistrate: 'Find another drug'

GRAFTON Local Court magistrate Kim Pogson instructed a defendant he had just convicted on three cannabis possession charges to “find another drug of addiction and make it a legal one”.

Mr Pogson was hearing the case of Ray Pascoe, 58, of Grafton, who faced charges of cultivating a prohibited plant, possessing a prohibited drug and possessing a prohibited plant.

Pascoe told the court he was a heavy cannabis user who “smoked an ounce a week”.

This explained the 26 plants police found growing in his home and the extensive lighting and ventilation system he had installed in his house to cultivate the plants.

However, Mr Pogson was sceptical of the accused man’s claims his crop was for personal use, but in the absence of any other evidence had to take them at face value.

“You have to ask why so many plants if it was just for personal use,” he said.

Police said when they responded to a tip-off from a person who suspected Pascoe was growing drugs in his house, they could smell a “strong odour” of the drug as they waited outside.

The accused was not at home at the time, but as police waited, he returned and was told police intended to search his house.

The police reported he was compliant and helpful with the search, taking them into a bedroom where there were also racks where cannabis leaf and seed heads were drying.

In a small room they found 10 plants 75cm high under three large indoor lights.

The room also had a special ventilation system to disperse the smell of the cannabis plants.

He took police to a cupboard in another room where they found another 16 plants around 35cm high, also equipped with a ventilation system.

They also found a resealable plastic bag containing six grams of cannabis leaf.

As police searched his home Pascoe claimed he was a heavy cannabis user and told them repeatedly the cannabis was only for personal use.

Mr Pogson fined Pascoe $500 for cultivation of a prohibited plant and $300 each for the possession of a prohibited drug and possession of a prohibited plant charges.

He ordered the drugs to be destroyed.

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