A marijuana mogul who owns a raft of properties in New Zealand and promotes himself as the face of Australia's medical cannabis industry has been linked to a series of violent and homophobic social media posts directed towards a journalist.
Ross Smith, who has been growing cannabis since he was 16, calls himself the "Wolf of Weed Street" because of his lavish lifestyle which includes 10 properties in New Zealand and three Bentleys.
But the Australian today reported on comments posted on Smith's Facebook page on July 17 which threatened one of their business reporters, Paul Garvey, with a vicious attack from his german shepherd, Bronson.
The Australian reported Garvey had been researching a story for the newspaper about Smith's contentious comments about rival cannabis industry executives. He told Garvey he had a "potential solution for you", recalling how his dog once attacked a man "who walked too close to me".
"My dog is very protective and just took him out," the post said. "It was truly a pleasure to watch this dickhead getting ripped into by Bronson's fangs."
The next day, the attacks veered into homophobia, the Australian reported. "PG I know you spend your days watching gay porn, as you are clearly not busy enough for real journalism … I can arrange for a strap-on penis to be delivered to you as well mate. Just let me know what colour you're (sic) boyfriend's eyes are and I will match it for you buddy!"
On August 8, a post on Smith's Facebook account quoted the biblical verse Ezekiel 25:17, recited in the film Pulp Fiction by Samuel L. Jackson's hitman character before he executes someone. "I am coming for you, motherf..ker!" the post read.
Smith emailed the Australian last week to warn against defaming his character. "Do you think that you have better standing in the community than Four Corners? We think not," he wrote.
"Every cannabis guy with the exception of a select minority like me ran a mile from the Four Corners investigation because they had something to hide. Not me. I guess you haters can't stand the fact I am making tens of millions tax free here in NZ. I drive three Bentleys and … I have a new $6.5m beach house at Mount Maunganui beach nearing completion."
In April he appeared in the ABC's Four Corners investigation and said medical marijuana would be the "Trojan Horse" for the legalisation of recreational cannabis.
It's not the first time Smith has found himself in hot water over Facebook posts.
He was forced to resign from the board of MMJ PhytoTech in 2015 after being accused of making a death threat to a critic of the deal.
On that occasion he claimed his Facebook account had been hacked.