Cheaper to go homegrown - cannabis user

AN Ouyen man resorted to growing cannabis in a bedroom of his home because it was cheaper than buying the drug, a court has heard.

Jason Robert Clark yesterday gave sworn evidence 1.36 kilograms of cannabis found at his home was all for personal use yesterday.

The 46-year-old appeared via video link in the Mildura Magistrates’ Court on charges including cultivating cannabis and committing offences while on bail.

Police intended to drop a further charge of trafficking cannabis but Magistrate Gerard Lethbridge said it was up to Clark to prove the drugs found in his home were being produced for personal use.

Prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Matt Pardon said police seized 16 cannabis plants from two grow rooms in Clark’s Fuller Street property and found a total of 1.36kg of dried and separated marijuana throughout the house.

Clark had set up the grow rooms by using plastic sheeting to divide a bedroom.

Defence counsel Peter Delorenzo said police had found no evidence to suggest Clark was growing the drugs for profit.

In his sworn evidence, Clark told the court he had used cannabis for 37 years and had recently been smoking “between 50 and 100 cones a day”.

“I couldn’t afford to obviously buy the cannabis anymore,” he said.

“It was cheaper for me to set up the system and pay the electricity bill.”

Clark said it would have cost him between $6000 and $8000 to buy the amount of cannabis he had grown, while he instead spent $2500 on power for three months.

“There weren’t any chemicals there that were being used – I just used to water them with normal water,” he said.

Clark said some of the dried and separated cannabis police found was not to be smoked and estimated the 450g of smokeable cannabis “would’ve lasted me probably about two months”.

“I had smoked probably about 100 grams of it over two weeks prior to the officers arresting me,” he said.

The court heard police found no evidence of Clark selling cannabis and did not find any money, deal bags or tip sheets in his home, which is located opposite Ouyen P-12 College.

Clark has already served time in custody for the matter and is currently serving a one-month jail sentence for a driving matter.

Mr Lethbridge adjourned Clark’s sentencing until next week, pending an assessment for a community corrections order.

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