A horticulture student who believes cannabis should be legalised has avoided jail for having a fully operational grow-tent at his home where he was cultivating over €8,000 worth of cannabis.
Ciaran O’Donovan of 27 Wycherly Terrace, College Road, Cork, pleaded guilty to being in possession of the cannabis for his own use and cultivating the drug.
Judge Olann Kelleher said that the probation report on the accused was very favourable towards him.
However, the judge said to the accused, “You have one thing wrong. You have a view cannabis should be legalised.”
The judge said the defendant’s view on this issue did not matter but what did matter is that he had to recognise what the law is on it. And as it is the judge said he had to take it as a serious matter.
He imposed a six-month sentence but suspended it on condition that the accused would have no more convictions for two years. He also ordered him to do 100 hours of community service. He had two previous convictions for having cannabis for his own use.
Imposing the community service and the suspended sentence, the judge said, “It is up to yourself now.”
Garda Eoin Harrington executed a search warrant at the defendant’s home shortly before 9 pm on February 23 2021. Garda Harrington was accompanied by the garda dog unit at the time.
Sergeant John Kelleher said, “A fully operational grow-tent with eleven mature cannabis plants valued at €8,800 were located in Ciaran O’Donovan’s bedroom along with €150 worth of harvested cannabis herb.
The 37-year-old was not in any way involved in the sale or supply of the drug, defence solicitor, Frank Buttimer said at Cork District Court.
"There is no question but that he would benefit from a probation report,” Mr Buttimer said.
In terms of the valuation of the drug at over €8,000, the solicitor said this was a state valuation of cannabis plants that was arguably much greater than the value that a defendant would place on the drug.
Mr Buttimer said the accused was working part time and studying horticulture – “whatever the coincidence with horticulture in this case,” the solicitor added.