Cannabis farm just a 'hobby'

A PROFESSIONAL gardener has faced court after taking up growing cannabis as a “hobby”, Ipswich Magistrates Court heard.

Police searched Peter William Kernke's North Tivoli home on February 16 to discover a total of 49 marijuana plants growing on the property.

Defence lawyer Neil Lawler told the court his client was “working, interestingly enough, as a gardener”.

“He smoked cannabis socially and started growing as a hobby,” Mr Lawler said.

When police searched Kernke's home, they found 69 cannabis seeds, clip seal bags and 27 plants in a bedroom, which were about 10 to 15 centimetres tall – but 18 of these plants were cuttings.

A further 13 plants, about 40 centimetres tall, were found in the backyard and 27 plants were found growing in a hydroponic set-up under the house.

Police also found a small amount of cannabis, a pipe and a set of scales.

Kernke pleaded guilty to possessing drug utensils, possessing anything used in the commission of a drug offence, possessing drugs and producing drugs.

The 25-year-old was fined $1500.

No convictions were recorded.

Mr Lawler said Kernke had no prior criminal history and co-operated with police.

“He realises that was not only unlawful but a stupid thing to do,” he said.

“It seems to me that he's moving ahead with his life.”

Magistrate Donna MacCallum told Kernke she hoped the fright of police arriving to search his home was a “salutary lesson”.

“Perhaps it has been somewhat of a wake-up call for you,” Ms MacCallum said.



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