The courts have shown sympathy to a drug-growing West Coast man who suffers seizures.

James Sparrow, 41, from Cobden was sentenced in Greymouth District Court on Tuesday on charges of cultivating and possessing cannabis.

Sparrow suffers violent seizures, which doctors have been unable to treat with medication.

On March 15, Sparrow was found in a “distressed state” in Cobden about 9am, police prosecutor Steven Greer said.

Police took Sparrow home, then went back to check on him at lunchtime. When he did not answer knocks on the door, police became concerned for his well-being and entered the property through an unlocked door.

Sparrow was unconscious on the floor of his bedroom and was taken to hospital by ambulance.

Police noticed an “overwhelming” smell of cannabis in the room, Greer said.

A search found two small growing rooms with 18 potted cannabis plants growing under artificial lights. Police also found 54 grams of dried cannabis head and 24g of dried cannabis leaf.

Lawyer Richard Bodle said Sparrow grew his own cannabis so he did not have to associate with drug dealers.

Although Sparrow had been resistant to other treatments, he was on a new medication.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel,” Bodle said.

“Police are very much aware of the situation and are to some extent sympathetic.”

Judge Stephen O’Driscoll said there was no indication Sparrow was growing cannabis for anyone other than himself. He acknowledged doctors had tried many medications to manage Sparrow’s seizures.

He sentenced Sparrow to 100 hours of community work.

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In yet another example of how ridiculously outdated our current drug laws are, a man growing his own medicine is arrested and charged with cultivation, even though it’s the only medicine that works for his seizures.

How can any judge give someone a criminal record for an act which harms no one. Judges are meant to stick up for human rights, not take them away. This man will now have to buy his medicine from an unknown dealer, with a potentially less effective medicinal strain of a cannabis.

Are we as a society really going to stand by and watch our fellow men and women continue to be charged for victimless crimes, just because our policy makers are too ignorant to look at the evidence?

With scientists leading the charge, it’s time we started to make some real noise in New Zealand to move towards legalisation just as it has been successfully implemented in Colorado, Washington and Alaska.

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One Response

  1. Trevor Mills

    These things will never change through our policy/law makers, while they think the present system works, when it doesn’t.
    What they need to do is look at the systems in place in Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Amsterdam. Only then, can we move forward on such an issue.

    Reply

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