Jeparit's Bryan McMaster said cannabis cultivation medicinal

A MAGISTRATE has told a Jeparit man who pleaded guilty to growing six cannabis plants in his backyard that growing marijuana was illegal.

Bryan McMaster, 54, appeared in Horsham Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday on one charge of cultivating cannabis. 

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Matt Haughton said officers found six cannabis plants in McMaster’s backyard on March 21 while executing a search warrant. 

He said one of the plants measured 65 centimetres. Others measuring 17cm were found in a small garden pot. 

The warrant was executed about 2.05pm.

Senior Constable Haughton said McMaster co-operated fully with police and made full admissions to growing the plants.

He was taken to Jeparit Police Station where he told officers he was growing the marijuana for personal medicinal use. 

McMaster told magistrate Mark Stratmann he had no intention of selling the plants.

He said he was not aware additional little plants were growing in the pot.

“I use it to make tea,” he said. “I boil the leaves in water.”

McMaster told the court he required the marijuana tea to alleviate pain.

He said he lived with asbestos-related diseases and has had lumps cut from his throat. 

McMaster said he faced more surgery next month.

He told Magistrate Stratmann he had been on disability pension since his diagnosis in 1996 and could not work.

Magistrate Stratmann said regardless of public debate, McMaster’s actions were illegal. “It’s against the law to do what you’ve done,” he said. 

McMaster was fined $450 with conviction. 

He was ordered to pay $79.50 in statutory costs.

Cultivation of cannabis remains an indictable offence under Victorian law.

From early 2017 the Victorian government has legislated to give children with severe epilepsy legal access to medicinal marijuana. 

The Access to Medicinal Cannabis Bill 2015 passed through state parliament in April last year, setting down the framework for Victorian patients to access medicinal cannabis in exceptional circumstances.