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While his injury was not disclosed during the trial, it was revealed how Wilson Andrew Howard developed a strain of cannabis plant because he believed modern medicine failed him, according to the New Zealand Herald.
The 31-year-old appeared in Napier District Court after police searched his home in November.
Authorities found a specialised, temperature-controlled growing room in his garage, which was accessed through a moveable bookshelf.
Police seized eight large cannabis plants, multiple seedlings, fertiliser, nutrients, 70gm of dried cannabis and 23 seeds.
The man’s lawyer, Leo Lafferty, told the court that Howard turned to a ‘home remedy’ as it was ‘quite adamant it provided him with the relief he sought’.
Despite medicinal cannabis being legal, the man told Judge Gordon Matenga that it was too 'costly’.
However, Howard also pleaded guilty to selling cannabis after it was discovered he had been distributing it to his friends.
Judge Matenga said there were text exchanges between Howard and his friends that indicated he was ‘clearly selling or offering to sell cannabis in various quantities for cash’.
"Clearly you took great care with what you were doing," Judge Matenga said.
He added: "The problem with that is that cultivation, sale and use of cannabis is illegal. It has been for a long time.”
Howard has been sentenced to home detention for three months and was ordered to undergo an assessment for drug and alcohol counselling.
The 31-year-old also has to complete any counselling suggested by his probation officer.
Despite the 2020 New Zealand referendum failing to pass laws for drug reform, the New Zealand Drug Foundation released a survey that showed that 61 per cent of citizens were in favour of treating drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal one.
Happy #SupportDontPunish Day! @SDPcampaign is an international campaign calling for drug laws based in health and human rights. Our new polling shows that most NZers want the Misuse of Drugs Act replaced with new laws that emphasise health instead of punishment. pic.twitter.com/MctNRV1pCU— NZ Drug Foundation (@nzdrug) June 26, 2022
Following the survey, Green Party spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick issued a statement, calling for the government to overhaul the country’s ‘draconian’ drug legislation.
“Our draconian drug laws have been hacked at for 50 years now, yet the Frankenstein Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 continues to zombie along, causing more and more harm,” she said
“It’s past time to follow the evidence, which most New Zealanders also support.”
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