Balingup horticulturalist avoids jail after cannabis “experimenting”
A Balingup horticulturalist who was found growing more than 50 cannabis plants on a fruit orchard he was managing has avoided jail.
Bunbury District Court was told David Carn Giumelli, 37, was “experimenting” after researching how to grow cannabis on the internet and was using the drug personally or sharing it with mates, but not selling it.
In what was described as “slightly ironic”, Giumelli’s lawyer argued the reason he had so many plants was due to his lack of success in growing “viable material”.
Giumelli was sentenced on Monday when he pleaded guilty to cultivating and possessing cannabis with intent to supply the drug to another.
The court was told, police searched the Balingup farm he was working at on September 19 2018 and discovered 39 small cannabis plants, 10 mature plants and five seedlings.
Police also found more than 316g of loose cannabis material in the shed and a further 30.2g of cannabis material in the house.
Defence lawyer Twistie Venning said Giumelli had been a social user of cannabis since his late teens and although he had periods of abstinence he resorted to daily use last year after a relationship breakdown.
Mr Venning said Giumelli’s use “escalated” and he was spending up to $400 a week as he used more than 28g.
He said after finding it difficult to source or fund his habit, Giumelli decided to try to grow his own but he intended to “produce no more than six ounces”.
“Had he have been able to actually grow the cannabis plants to a point where he could get flowering to occur and buds to develop then he would not have had 54 plants – he wouldn’t have had 10 mature plants,” Mr Venning said.
“It is slightly ironic that he is a trained horticulturalist, but actually failed to obtain usable material from the cultivation of the cannabis.”
Judge Laurence Levy said he was “minded” to accept the vast majority of cannabis was not “what is termed by cannabis users as usable”.
Judge Levy said while cannabis was not a harmless drug, there was strong mitigating factors in Giumelli’s case including his “true remorse” and his commitment towards rehabilitation.
Giumelli was sentenced to 12 months jail suspended for 12 months, subject to supervision and program requirements.
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