Cannabis was more than just for own use
A JUDGE rejected the Crown Prosecution Service's case that a cannabis crop was being cultivated for commercial purposes and gave the grower a community order.
Daniel Saunders' 12 cuttings amounted to a "clearly commercial" enterprise, Bristol Crown Court was told.
But Saunders told Judge Martin Picton he was growing for himself and may have sold to a small number of close friends.
Saunders, 31, of Filton Avenue, Horfield, pleaded guilty to producing the Class B drug.
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He was ordered to do 240 hours of unpaid work and pay £250 costs.
Judge Picton told him: "Growing cannabis is a criminal offence. Growing it and sharing it with your mates is a more serious offence."
Robert Reid, prosecuting, told the court: "This was production of cannabis, a small enterprise but clearly commercial.
"There were admissions it was for a money-making purpose."
At this point Sarah Iles, defending, clarified her client had grown a small amount of cannabis for his personal use and may have supplied a small group of friends socially. The judge determined the two sides' difference in a special hearing, by asking Saunders to give evidence.
Saunders told the judge: "My intention was to grow it for personal use and sell to five or six friends. They are very close friends. I've known them for years. I had not sold any and I was drying it at the time.
"I had no intention of selling it on the streets."
Mr Reid asked Saunders why he had digital scales with traces of cannabis, and Saunders told him he had checked cannabis he had previously bought.
Mr Reid said the cannabis found could have been worth several thousands of pounds, far exceeding personal consumption.
Saunders told him: "Those figures are way over the top."
Judge Picton found Saunders was growing cannabis for himself with a view to sell some to close fellow-users.