Man grew ganja in Little Cayman

Police and Customs officers found 39 ganja plants ranging in size from three to 20 inches at a Little Cayman premises last year.

After analysis of the plants and the quantities of green vegetable matter, charges were brought against Cameron James Mackie, 47, a Canadian national living in Little Cayman since 1999.

During the sitting of Summary Court in Cayman Brac on 22 May, Mackie pleaded guilty to producing a controlled drug at his residence. He also admitted possessing and consuming ganja.

Magistrate Grace Donalds heard the facts from Senior Crown Counsel Trevor Ward and mitigation from Defence Attorney John Furniss. She then imposed fines and costs totalling $7,060 and ordered the drugs and growing equipment forfeited to the Crown.

Mr. Ward said two police officers and a Customs officer went to the home after receiving information that the occupant was suspected of having ganja. Mackie was the only person living at the premises.

When he opened the door the officers smelled what they believed to be ganja smoke. Mackie was cooperative and took two plastic bags of green vegetable matter from his freezer. A glass jar in the fridge also contained green vegetable matter, as did a pill bottle. Mackie told the officers the vegetable matter was ganja and it was all his.

He then informed the officers he had some ganja in an upstairs closet and in a downstairs grow-room.

In the closet officers found 20 individually potted plants, three inches tall, in a wooden box with a clear plastic lid. The box was under a fluorescent light. In the same room were two 20-inch plants. Mackie said the larger plants were the mother plants and the smaller ones were cuttings he had just taken from the mother plants.

Mackie then took officers to a room under the house that was lined with aluminium sheets and had a climate control system and lighting inside. From this room officers recovered 13 12-inch plants individually potted and four other plants.

Asked about these plants, Mackie said they had been taken from the two mother plants and were at the next stage of the process.

He said all of the ganja came from the two main plants and was for his own consumption. He estimated he smoked about one ounce per month.

The court was shown photographs taken by the officers of the plants and equipment, including a thermometer and humidity gauge.

Mr. Ward submitted certificates of analysis. The green vegetable matter found in various containers weighed approximately 2.9 ounces.

The plants — including roots and stems and still being wet — weighed just over half a pound. After drying and processing that quantity would have yielded 2.7 ounces, Mr. Ward advised.

Officers in the case reported they had no evidence to support a charge of supplying ganja.

Mr. Furniss said the total quantity was consistent with personal consumption. He submitted medical reports from 1999 showing that Mackie has a degenerative disc in his spine. Since he works as a chef he has to stand a lot and this at times became quite painful. Mackie had used the ganja as medication for pain, he said.

The magistrate imposed a fine of $3,250 for cultivating ganja and $750 for consumption. She ordered Mackie to pay prosecution costs of $3,060.

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