A Haven man risked losing his business and 'blowing everything away' by growing cannabis plants at his property, a magistrate warned.
Benjamin Finn, 41, pleaded guilty to cultivating narcotic plants at the Horsham Magistrates' Court.
Police searched Finn's property early on the morning of April 30 this year.
Finn wasn't home at the time and told police he was on his way to Geelong for work, and arranged to visit the police station on his return.
They found a "black tin of green vegetable matter" inside a wardrobe, before moving their attention to a tin shed on the property.
"Inside the shed, they located three black tents inside a wardrobe," police prosecutor Senior Constable Rebekah Caccaviello said.
"Inside the first tent, there were two cannabis plants. In the second tent, there were eight cannabis plants, and in the third tent, they located eight cannabis plants."
The court heard there were also nine immature cannabis plants in the wardrobe.
"It wasn't a sophisticated set-up. However, there were lights and irrigation," Mrs Caccaviello said.
The court heard police never weighed the plants, but counted 36 at the property.
Mrs Caccaviello noted such an amount went above the limit for personal use.
"There were scales, and plastic bags found, however, there was no tick book or any signs of trafficking," she said.
Magistrate Simon Zebrowski was shown photographs of the plants in question.
"It would appear looking at these photographs there were no plants ready to cultivate," he said.
Defence lawyer Belinda Francis spoke of Finn as a father who worked hard to make the best of a difficult childhood.
"He had a very difficult upbringing, and it is quite noteworthy he worked up to become a good father to his sons," she said. "By 13, he had saved $13,000 and bought himself a property.
"These charges have frightened the bejeezus out of him."
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The court heard Finn had started a successful firewood business, and would often be the only employee servicing south-west Victoria.
Ms Francis said her client wasn't a big smoker and had since undertaken substance counselling to make sure he abstained from cannabis.
"His rehab is underway, and he has been efficiently deterred by the court proceedings," she said.
The magistrate warned the man his cannabis use threw his business and life into jeopardy.
"You've worked really hard to get yourself in this position, and you have people looking up to you. You'd hate to blow it all away by doing something stupid," Mr Zebrowski said.
"Everything could come crashing down when you get pulled over for a drug test. Cannabis stays in your system for two weeks."
"It's really irresponsible for a lot of reasons, especially for a selfish reason because you've got a business."
Finn was convicted and fined $2000.
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