Family pooled cash to help pained mum buy pot
A FAMILY whose wife and mother suffers health problems "pooled" their money to buy regular deals of marijuana to help her pain.
Bundaberg Magistrates Court heard former commercial fisherman Richard Goulding bought a pound of marijuana every six weeks for $2600 from a seller in Childers.
But magistrate Belinda Merrin was also told by police the marijuana was being consumed by Goulding's two eldest sons.
Goulding, who says he doesn't use marijuana, although he had tried it, admitted that he sells to a mate to help cover the costs.
The family hope their mother will be approved for use of medicinal cannabis when Queensland legislation allows.
Goulding, 47, of Burnett Heads, pleaded guilty to possession of dangerous drugs schedule 2 drug quantity of or exceeding schedule 3 on July 6; supplying drugs; and having drug utensils (scales and water pipe) used in a drug offence.
Prosecutor, Senior Constable Grant Klaassen said when police went to his house Goulding took officers to a garden shed where a drug utensil was, and to laundry where 600 grams of cannabis leaf was stored.
"He says he has several family and friends at the house and all pool their money together. He drives to Childers every six weeks and buys a pound of cannabis for $2600," Snr Cnst Klaassen said.
"He says he doesn't sell it to family but buys in bulk. He sells one ounce of cannabis every two weeks to a friend.
"He's been doing this, buying a pound every six weeks for four years now."
Snr Cnst Klaassen said the charges were serious but Goulding had no prior drug convictions.
Defence lawyer John Dodd said that in some ways the matter was "quite sad".
"He thought he had to break the law to help his wife. She is in a lot of pain and marijuana can help it," Mr Dodd said.
"He did sell to a friend to help finance his wife's treatment."
Mr Dodd said Goulding's wife was on the list for approval for the medical marijuana process but must first be approved by a doctor then referred to a neurologist to give approval. However, the treatment would likely cost $3000 a month.
He said the personal references before the magistrate speak very highly of Goulding.
"He did do something wrong but it's really hard to know how far a person can go to help a partner," Mr Dodd said.
However, Ms Merrin said Goulding (in facts before the court) made admissions to police of on-selling to a friend for four years before his wife was diagnosed in 2016.
Mr Dodd said Goulding did not recall saying that and there may have been a misunderstanding.
Ms Merrin said he also told police that a number of family and friends at the house contributed the $2600.
"Does that involve his teenage sons," she enquired.
"Yes. The 21-year-old and the 19-year-old," he said.
"Everyone is chipping in to help."
Mr Dodd said Goulding had been a commercial fisherman who had suffered a heart attack and is now his wife's fulltime carer and on a carer's pension so money was tight.
He had sold his fishing vessel and been also living off the proceeds and had to do a lot of modifications to their house.
Ms Merrin took into account it was his first criminal offence, saying he had significantly co-operated with police and made admissions.
"I've been told you were motivated by your wife's significant serious medical condition and did access cannabis to assist her," Ms Merrin said.
"References say you are very hard working man and very committed to your family and wife.
"And had to deal with significant issues, both your wife and your own ill health. Medicinal cannabis is very different to what you have been accessing."
She fined Goulding $1000 and did not record a conviction.