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No conviction over Cannabis use

A woman who made herself cannabis cookies for pain relief has been discharged without a conviction, partly because she needed to travel to care for ill relatives.

Alexandra Purucker, 60, of Takaka, who was charged with cultivating and possessing cannabis, was discharged without conviction in the Nelson District Court on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Sergeant Graeme Eden said police went to Purucker’s Takaka property on February 6 for an unrelated matter and discovered five plants scattered around her property.

While police searched inside the property they discovered 71 grams of cannabis in her bedroom.

Defence counsel Garry Barkle said Purucker suffered from sciatica and made herself cannabis cookies for pain relief purposes.

If Purucker was convicted, she would not be able to travel to Germany regularly to see her mother and aunt who had dementia-related illnesses, she would not be able to move to Australia and she would never be able to complete the New Zealand citizenship process.

The offending was on the lower end of the spectrum, he said.

Judge Peter Butler said he was satisfied that Purucker only grew the plants for her personal use.

The fact that no irrigation, lighting or special tools were used for growing the plants helped her cause, he said.

Having no other siblings, having the power of attorney and being the regular caregiver of her aunt and mother in Germany was significant, he said.

He decided to exercise his discretion to discharge the woman without a conviction to what could otherwise have had very serious consequences.

He ordered the destruction of the plants.

Article written by Sasha Borissenko for the Nelson Mail in May 2014

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