It took a Greymouth District Court jury less than an hour to convict a Westport man who had enough cannabis to roll 187,000 joints, of possession of cannabis for supply.
Mark Wayne Davis was charged with having 2.5kg of dried cannabis for supply, after a police search of his property on December 17, 2013, found, alongside the dried cannabis, 27 cannabis plants in a shed, along with 1028 cannabis seedlings in a garage.
The Crown said the 2.5kg would make up to 7500 cannabis cigarettes, and the seedlings up to 187,000.
The search also uncovered $14,000 in cash, a dehydrator and a number of plastic bags.
Davis had previously pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis and possession of equipment for growing the drug.
Summing up yesterday after two days of evidence, Crown prosecutor Anselm Williams said Davis, who had not had a job between 2008 and the end of 2013, when police searched his property, suddenly found employment at the start of 2014.
Mr Williams said this was because the cannabis Davis was growing, alongside all the things he used to grow it, and the cash, had been seized by police.
Davis then had to go and get a job as his income was no longer there.
Earlier in the trial, Mr Williams had said analysis of Davis's finances had shown he had a total income of $38,833 - less than $600 a month - over the course of seven years . However, alongside the $14,000 in cash, in November 2013 Davis bought a new four-wheel drive vehicle, costing about $40,000, for which he provided a $9000 deposit.
The large quantity of cannabis found, the cash, fertiliser, and the undeclared income were consistent with the sale of cannabis by Davis, Mr Williams said.
Davis's lawyer Doug Taffs urged the jury to question whether Davis was was telling the truth about possessing the cannabis for personal use.
Mr Taffs said there had been evidence showing Davis's wife, who had suffered a deep personal loss in 2008, had got "deeply" into cannabis, as a way to deal with her grief, and had been smoking up to 10 cannabis cigarettes a day.
Mr Taffs also urged the jury to consider whether the large number of cannabis seedlings found by police were actually the sign of a "common sense approach" to growing, such as you might take when cultivating tomatoes or spuds, to have more seedlings than you needed, knowing that some might fall victim to predation, police seizure, or the vagaries of the weather.
Davis was remanded on bail to be sentenced on July 9.
- Greymouth Star