A 47-year-old man who said he had been growing 17 cannabis plants around his property to help treat his spina bifida and irritable bowel syndrome was given a 12-month suspended sentence in the Greymouth District Court yesterday.

An annual police aerial search for drugs on January 23 spotted cannabis plants being grown around Paul James Bentley's property. A police search of the property found plants varying in height from 1m to 1.5m tall.

Lawyer Marcus Zintl said Bentley had used the drug to help treat his irritable bowel syndrome and spina bifida; he had been given medication for both conditions, but he suffered adverse effects to both drugs.

However, Bentley knew it was wrong to use the drug for the pain of both conditions. He had also lost his job as a result of the offending.


- Greymouth Star