Man appears in Armidale Local Court for growing seven large cannabis plants

A HORTICULTURALIST who grew seven cannabis plants at his mother’s home has been convicted.

James Worthing, 36, pleaded guilty to cultivating a prohibited plant and breaching two bonds in Armidale Local Court on Monday.

Commending Worthing on a “professional job”, Magistrate Michael Holmes said he wished he would put his talents to better use – growing flowers.

“I must say they’re very healthy looking plants,” Magistrate Holmes said.

After reports Worthing was growing cannabis hydroponically, Armidale police went to his house on July 20.

Approaching the front door, police noticed a strong smell of cannabis, and an electric fan blowing air through the open door.

Inside they found seven large cannabis plants in potting mixture under 10 down lights.

Legal Minds defence solicitor Elisabeth Stahlut said Worthing was using the drug to self-medicate for bipolar disorder and multiple sclerosis.

“It has to be conceded this was a serious operation,” Ms Stahlut said.

A doctor’s report indicated Worthing had progressive MS, with legions on the brain that could affect his decision-making.

“He’s still struggling to find a treatment regime that doesn’t produce unacceptable side affects,” Ms Stahlut said.

Magistrate Michael Holmes questioned whether Worthing had a medical degree, and said in his experience drug use only exacerbates mental illness.

“You have mental health issues followed with drugs, drugs is like throwing petrol onto a fire,” Magistrate Holmes said.

For growing cannabis plants, Worthing was placed on a good behaviour bond for two years.

No action was taken on the breach of bonds and no financial penalty was imposed.

“I’m giving you a chance today, the conditions are to help you not to punish you but you’ve got to do something about it,” Magistrate Michael Holmes said.