ARE WE PLAY­ING HARD-TO-GET WITH HEALTH?

Man is con­victed and fined for grow­ing mar­i­juana to treat tongue cancer as it's re­vealed that only 11 doc­tors in Queens­land can pre­scribe the med­i­ca­tion.

NewsMail - - FRONT PAGE - Ross Irby jay.field­ing@news­re­gional­me­dia.com.au

MET­AL­WORK artist David Drews in­tended to self-med­i­cate af­ter un­der­go­ing surg­eries for tongue cancer, but a raid of his ru­ral home thwarted his plans when po­lice found 730 small cannabis plants.

The seedlings were seized, as well as in­sect killer, the District Court at Bund­aberg heard.

Drews, 48, pleaded guilty to un­law­fully pro­duc­ing mar­i­juana (not ex­ceed­ing 1000 plants) at Deep­wa­ter between De­cem­ber 31, 2015, and Oc­to­ber 12, 2016.

He also pleaded guilty to mar­i­juana pos­ses­sion on Oc­to­ber 11 last year, un­law­ful pos­ses­sion of a weapon – shot­gun and ex­plo­sives (am­mu­ni­tion), and pos­sess­ing items used to com­mit drug of­fences (a water pump and fer­tiliser).

Judge Wil­liam Ever­son noted that even Drews’ in­sect killer was con­fis­cated and asked, be­cause of the shot­gun, if com­mer­cial­ity was be­ing al­leged.

He also asked if the weapon had a se­rial num­ber, or had that dis­ap­peared.

Crown pros­e­cu­tor Clare Kelly said no com­mer­cial­ity was al­leged, Drews telling po­lice he found the shot­gun and used it to kill snakes.

“He made full ad­mis­sions that he was grow­ing plants be­cause he’d been di­ag­nosed with tongue cancer.

“His in­tent was to make

❝grow­ing

He was plants be­cause he’d been di­ag­nosed with tongue cancer.

— Pros­e­cu­tor Clare Kelly

cannabis oil and in­ject it as treat­ment,” she said.

Ms Kelly said there was no ev­i­dence Drews was a drug user and no bongs or water pipes were found.

De­fence bar­ris­ter Si­mone Bain, in­structed by lawyer Lavonda Maloy, said Drews was di­ag­nosed with tongue cancer in May last year and had un­der­gone three surg­eries to re­move the cancer and had skin grafts, at­tend­ing a Bris­bane hospi­tal.

Ms Bain said there had been natur­opath and med­i­cal re­ports on THC cannabis oils, and where teas may be made to as­sist in the re­cov­ery from cancer.

Po­lice had found a magazine ar­ti­cle at Drews home on the abil­ity of the oils to de­stroy cancer cells.

Ms Bain said the 730 plants found were still

seedlings and Drews oth­er­wise had led a rel­a­tively blame­less life.

Judge Ever­son said Drews was not a young man and a con­vic­tion was un­likely to im­pact on his em­ploy­ment.

He said while there were a lot of plants found in a clear­ing at the prop­erty and a so­phis­ti­cated wa­ter­ing sys­tem, the plants were tiny, with 80% no more than 3cm.

Judge Ever­son ac­cepted it was not a com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion.

“You prop­a­gated the crop to ob­tain medic­i­nal cannabis to treat your­self,” he said.

“Although med­i­cal mar­i­juana is be­com­ing avail­able legally, it is very im­por­tant that this is con­trolled and de­ter­rence is war­ranted in of­fend­ing of this type.”

Drews was fined $1000.

FINED: Cancer suf­ferer David Drews and lawyer Lavonda Maloy out­side court.

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