Grandfather grew 16kg of marijuana for sick wife
HE GREW about 16kg of marijuana in his garage in the space of three months but not for his own use, and not to sell.
John Henry Ford, 46, started growing the drug to help treat his wife's cancer.
The Coolum Beach grandfather, family man, and highly-regarded community member set up an elaborate hydroponic garden in his garage.
Today in Maroochydore District Court he pleaded guilty to producing and possessing dangerous drugs, and possessing things used in connection with producing dangerous drugs.
Judge John Robertson accepted "without question" that Ford began growing the drug in response to his wife's illness.
"You believed the oil from the cannabis plant would be of value to her," he said.
"It was on one occasion ... you purchased a quantity of that for that purpose. It worked.
"It was expensive so you embarked on this process."
Judge Robertson said if police had not intervened early things might got out of hand.
Officers found 4.9kg of loose marijuana leaf and 11.4kg of marijuana plant material as well as a hydroponic system set up with lights, water systems, timers, an air filter, power inverters, electric fans, pots, ventilation tubes, a tent, extension chords and hydroponic chemicals in Ford's Coolum Beach home on June 20 last year.
He grew the drugs between March 19 and June 21.
Crown Prosecutor Greg Cummings said it seemed Ford had set up his garage garden with "good intentions".
"It's a period of production only of three months, there's been quite a substantial financial commitment to it but at the end of the day there's no issue of commerciality," he said.
Ford's wife and mother were in the court room to offer their support.
Defence barrister Geoffrey Barr said Ford's wife's cancer treatment was ongoing, and that she would need further surgery some time within the next three to six months.
Judge Robertson said it would be counter productive to sentence Ford to a term of actual imprisonment.
Instead he handed Ford a nine-month suspended sentence that would hang over his head for 18 months.