Cannabis growing venture went up in flames

March 17, 2014 | By More

Police logo-05An Oxford man is sorry and embarrassed about the public humiliation that his cannabis growing efforts have brought for himself and his family.

“He lives in a small town. News travels like wildfire,” said defence counsel Andrew McCormick at the sentencing for Gerard James Forsyth, a 39-year-old meat worker who had admitted cultivating cannabis at his home.

“For the foreseeable future, he will be the man who tried to grow cannabis at his home, burnt down his shed and drew the attention of the police and fire brigade,” Mr McCormick told Christchurch District Court Judge Christopher Somerville.

Forsyth set up a cannabis growing operation that was seen as sophisticated, with an irrigation system and grow lamps. One of those grow lamps overheated, causing a fire and leading to him being discovered and prosecuted.

Mr McCormick said Forsyth had a recreational cannabis habit. He had seen growing some of the plants as a way of helping his family out of financial difficulties. But after setting up the growing system, he had no idea how he was going to make money out of it. He thought he might be able to sell the cannabis to his associates, and the venture would grow from there.

Judge Somerville said Forsyth had 68 cannabis plants in pots with the irrigation system, 384 seedlings, and 12 adult plants.

He said: “I suspect you have been growing your own cannabis, learned the techniques and when financial pressure came on you decided to grow as many as you could and sell it.

“Fortunately for you, you had a fire and were discovered in a relatively early stage.”

There was no evidence of any arrangements to supply anyone with the cannabis.

Because Forsyth was in the position of looking after his two young children and his ill wife, home detention was not appropriate.

He imposed 200 hours of community work, and six months’ supervision with special conditions to help him deal with financial pressures.

“You have got to cope without turning to crime,” said the judge.

Category: Focus

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