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.
A dope smoker sacked from his job while a "heavy user" is taking legal action on behalf of all cannabis users.
Zach Costley, 25, is taking civil action against his former employer, Nelson's Waimea Nurseries.
The Employment Relations Authority ruled his sacking was unjustified, but that he was not entitled to compensation because he smoked during work hours.
Costley, who failed a drug test while employed at the nurseries, denies that, and says he's "definitely" seeking a landmark legal decision.
"If you're under the influence in a job where you could affect someone's safety, I don't agree with drug-use. But out of work . . . it's not like if I smoked one night and woke up the next morning I'd still be stoned."
Employers are increasingly testing their workers for drugs - and nearly one person in 10 is being busted on the job.
The New Zealand Drug Detection Agency (NZDDA) say they performed 29,315 on-site drug tests in 2010 - over double the 13,179 tests they did in 2009.
In many cases those tests were money well spent for employers, with 9 per cent of all tests coming back positive.
The bird was trying to fly into a jail in the north-eastern city of Bucaramanga with marijuana and cocaine paste strapped to its back, but did not make it.
Police believe the 45g (1.6oz) drug package was too heavy for it.
The bird is now being cared for by the local ecological police unit, officers said.
"We found the bird about a block away from the prison trying to fly over with a package, but due to the excess weight it could not accomplish its mission," said Bucaramanga police commander Jose Angel Mendoza.
"This is a new case of criminal ingenuity."
The pigeon is thought to have been trained by inmates or their accomplices.
Police said carrier pigeons had been used in the past to smuggle mobile phone Sim cards into the jail.
Fans attending the Big Day Out concert on Friday at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium have been warned to stay away from a dangerous new party drug, say paramedics.
Not a lot was known about 2C-P but it was a mix of ecstasy and other drugs and had surfaced at a couple of Auckland concerts in the last two or three months, St John event regional events manager Charlotte Guscott said.
"It sounds like a bit of a charmer."
People would have to be stupid to put such an unknown and potentially dangerous mixture into their bodies, she said.
Symptoms could include headaches, vomiting, hallucinations and a lousy feeling.
"I hate to stereotype them, but people who tend to take drugs like that don't necessarily just stay with pills. They have a few beers and might have some pot as well so it ends up as a bit of a concoction of all sorts," she said.
The sun, heat, exhaustion, alcohol and drugs, all mixed together, "can make things a lot worse for a patient".
However, drug abuse at the concert was not as big as some people thought and last year only 25 of the 1500 people treated by paramedics were treated for drug abuse.
ORTLAND, Tenn. – A father in Portland was arrested after police said he let his child play with marijuana. Officers found photos of the incident on his phone.
Officers responded to the home of 30-year-old Christopher Bradley in Portland for a domestic dispute after his estranged wife called them. Police said she is the one who found the pictures on Bradley’s cell phone
During the investigation, several photos where found on Bradley’s phone of his 2-year-old son standing at a table packaging marijuana.
Photos showed the child placing marijuana into a jar. The pictures also showed rolling paper and a lighter on the table.
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Young people believe the drug methamphetamine, or P, is for "losers" but see little difference between cannabis, ecstasy, tobacco and alcohol, according a survey.
The UMR Research work on a small group - about 20 young people aged between 12 and 17 - was carried out for anti-P group the Stellar Trust, and aimed to gain an understanding of young people's attitudes to the drug and identify initiatives that would be most effective in deterring its use amongst NZ youth.
It showed media stories about the links to horror crime and health damage were putting young people off the drug, Stellar chief executive Mike Williams said.
The survey found party pills had gone out of favour since they became illegal, while ecstasy was seen mostly as a party drug used by older teens.
Heroin, cocaine and P were viewed as the most serious drugs and were the least used.
Key deterrents to trying P were addictive behaviour, its impact on appearance, the negative profile of users and it was viewed as a heavy duty drug.
The teens also knew it could change personality; make you angry, steal, destroy families and a user's appearance.
Many of the teens were relaxed about drug use and not affected by the death of 16-year-old King's College student James Webster after he had knocked back a bottle of vodka. His death was seen as a chance to crack down on teens.
About half had tried marijuana, which was "hardly viewed as illegal" and was widely available and prevalent in schools.
A union representing hundreds of Dunedin City Council workers is concerned about covert surveillance and search powers proposed in a new drugs policy for council staff.
Amalgamated Workers' Union New Zealand (Southern) assistant secretary Peter Costello, of Dunedin, said he planned to discuss the proposed policy with council union delegates next week.
He had yet to hear from members about the draft policy, but was concerned it allowed the use of covert electronic surveillance to detect drug or alcohol misuse by council employees.
It was the first time he had struck plans to allow covert surveillance as part of an employer's drug policy, and the mention of the method was a concern.
"To my knowledge, I don't believe we've got any covert cameras or anything like that [inside other workplaces]. But because they're covert, you wouldn't possibly know."
He would also have concerns about searches of private property.
Mr Costello's comments came after it was confirmed council staff were being asked by senior managers to consider a new policy on alcohol and other drugs.
A Dunedin city councillor says his colleagues should also volunteer to be drug-tested, but Mayor Dave Cull warns sobriety is no guarantee of good decision-making.
Cr Colin Weatherall said he would not support compelling councillors to be tested for illicit substances, but believed they should be allowed to volunteer.
"If it's good for the goose then it's good for the gander. Across the organisation it should be available for anyone who wants to participate."
Cr Weatherall was responding to the council's draft alcohol-and-other-drugs policy, sent to the organisation's staff for consultation, which outlined policies for random and targeted drug testing of council staff, covert surveillance and searches.
The proposal has drawn criticism from the union representing hundreds of council workers.
Amalgamated Workers' Union New Zealand (Southern) assistant secretary Peter Costello, of Dunedin, said he planned to discuss the issue with council union delegates next week.
Cr Weatherall said most councillors could "have their day" on alcohol, but he would queue for a drugs test and sail through with flying colours.
Random testing and the use of covert electronic surveillance could be among powers to be used by the Dunedin City Council to root out drug abuse by its staff.
Council staff are being asked to consider a proposed new alcohol-and-other-drug policy, which details procedures for random and targeted testing for inappropriate use of illicit substances.
The list of substances to be tested for include alcohol - over the legal drink-drive limit - as well as cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis and other illegal drugs.
A copy of the draft policy was released to the Otago Daily Times last week by council community life general manager Graeme Hall, who said the policy aimed to ensure key staff were "right on top of their game".
He was not aware of "significant" drug or alcohol problems among the council's 687 full-time equivalent staff, but the draft policy matched those of other major employers.
The council had an obligation to provide a safe workplace, already had general guidelines on prohibiting inappropriate alcohol and drug use and a programme in place to help staff with issues.
However, the new policy pulled the guidelines into one cohesive document, provided more specific instructions and spelt out in greater detail the council's power when it came to search and surveillance, Mr Hall said.
The draft allowed random testing for council staff working in safety-sensitive areas, such as those operating heavy machinery, and those responsible for public safety, such as lifeguards at Moana Pool.