Explanation doesn't stop $650 fine

UNLIKE Switzerland, marijuana "sniffer bags" were illegal in Queensland, Swiss national Erich Kohler found out to his financial detriment yesterday.

Toowoomba Magistrates Court heard a police search of Kohler's Crows Nest residence on November 16 had found 13 marijuana plants ranging in size from 10cm to 25cm. They were growing in the vegetable garden.

Kohler, 51, told police he didn't smoke the drug but used the leaf in "sniffer bags" which he placed under his pillow at night for pain relief for an eye problem, police prosecutor Sergeant Alison McKee told the court.

Solicitor Sarah Gordon, for Kohler, said her client had instructed he had acquired seeds for the plants in Brisbane, believing them to be hemp, and was unaware it was illegal to grow such plants, having arrived in Australia just four years ago.

Kohler, who pleaded guilty to producing a dangerous drug, had a glass eye and used the sniffer bags to ease pain he experienced around the eye, she said.

He had since been prescribed pain relief medication which he now used, Ms Gordon said.

Noting he had no criminal history at all, Magistrate Damian Carroll fined Kohler $650 but ordered the conviction not be recorded.



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