The man said he wanted to use the plants to make cannabis oil.
The man said he wanted to use the plants to make cannabis oil. Nathan Denette

Southern Downs man grew 116kg of marijuana for ‘own use’

AN APPLETHORPE man said a high yield of marijuana plants found in his backyard were for making cannabis oil.

In the Stanthorpe District Court on Friday Paul James Wright Senden pleaded guilty to growing 30 marijuana plants on his property, but contested the sentence on the grounds they were for personal use.

In March 2015, a police helicopter team was searching for marijuana cultivations in the Stanthorpe area.

The helicopter, equipped with infra-red sensors, located two marijuana plants on Mr Senden's Ellwood Rd property. Police searched the property and found three plots of tall-standing marijuana plants, and counted 30 in total, weighing 116kg.

Crown Prosecutor Shauna Rankine described the plants as "trees", some of them standing more than two metres tall. The largest plants required a saw to remove their roots.

Mr Senden took to the witness stand, telling the court he planned to use the plants to make cannabis oil.

The prosecution disagreed.

"There was an enormous amount of cannabis there, too much for one person," Mrs Rankine told Mr Senden.

He replied that it was a reasonable amount given the oil-making process.

"Not for the purpose of using it in an oil," he said.

"I wasn't expecting 116kg.

"I had in my head I could produce 30 to 40 bottles of the oil, and that might last a year."

Mr Senden told the court the oil-making process would refine the plants down to 3% of the plants' weight.

"I wasn't sure what the eventual yield would be," he said.

Mr Senden's lawyer Levis Menolotto told the court his client had experience in making tea tree, lavender and eucalyptus oils.

"He'd done this process before and we have photographic evidence," Mr Menolotto said.

Mr Senden went on to tell the court he had experienced severe back pain and anxiety for most of his life.

Mr Senden's sentence was adjourned to Brisbane District Court Friday, August 5.


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