News

The weed among the weeds

Vernon Moffatt and lawyer Matt Messenger.
Vernon Moffatt and lawyer Matt Messenger.

A SMALL crops farmer who chewed marijuana seeds like they were pepitas said he did so to help ease his aches and pains.

Vernon Moffatt, 57, was busted by police growing 93 marijuana plants, strategically hidden among weeds at his rural South Kolan property.

In Bundaberg Magistrates Court, police prosecutor Senior Constable Andrew Blunt said police went to Moffatt's property on June 13 where the farmer showed them a small area among tall weeds that the illegal plants were growing.

In his bedroom they found 104g of marijuana leaf and head and 1.3kg of seeds in a bag.

Snr Cnst Blunt said a compartment under a couch held freezer bags, seeds and green leafy material that Moffatt told officers was marijuana.

"He uses them like pumpkin seeds and eats them,” Snr Cnst Blunt said.

He said Moffatt had been jailed some years ago for growing the drug.

Moffatt pleaded guilty to producing dangerous drugs and possession of dangerous drugs.

Lawyer Matt Messenger said the plants ranged from seedlings to one metre tall in what was an unsophisticated production.

"There was no evidence of irrigation or that they were fertilised,” Mr Messenger said.

"It could be that they were scattered about in a hap-hazard way. And half could end up males and not as valued.”

Mr Messenger said Moffatt's wife had been battling cancer and he had been a carer for his parents until their deaths.

"He is a small crops farmer who employs four permanent and three casual workers,” Mr Messenger said.

"He's a fella in his 50s and his body is not in great shape.

"He suffers aches and pains, arthritis. As well as chewing the seeds he extracts and makes a butter.”

However, Magistrate Belinda Merrin said the weeds were intended to conceal the plants and Moffatt was obviously planning ahead, although she accepted it wasn't a commercial set-up but for personal use.

She said Moffatt's explanation was to manage his pain as a result of many years of farm work but he now realised he was not justified in growing such crops. He was fined $1800, a conviction recorded.

Topics:  buncourt bundaberg crime farmer marijuana



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