Pensioner grew pot 'to survive'

A South Dunedin pensioner was growing cannabis with a potential sale value of $240,000 because his pension was not enough and he "needed the money to survive", the Dunedin District Court heard yesterday.

Maurice David Didham (72) had 200 four-week-old cannabis plants growing in soil in his bathroom last August.

They were under a light with a reflector and on a heat pad.

With an average yield of $1200 per plant, the potential return from the 200 plants was $240,000, prosecutor Sergeant Tom Scouller said.

In another room at Didham's house, police found 657g of dried cannabis, as well as tinfoil, resealable plastic bags and a set of scales.

Sgt Scouller said a conservative estimate of the likely return from that quantity of dried cannabis was $6900.

Didham told police he was growing the cannabis in three-month cycles so he had a continuous supply.

He needed the money to survive because his pension was not enough.

He admitted cultivating cannabis on August 23 and possessing cannabis for the purpose of sale and was convicted and remanded on bail for sentence on March 21.


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