Magistrate: Hydroponic set-up ‘smells’ of commerciality

A Rockhampton magistrate felt a man’s $1000 hydroponic marijuana set-up had some “smell” of commerciality.

Steven Patrick McMullen, 41, pleaded guilty on May 12 in Rockhampton Magistrates Court to one count of producing a dangerous drug, possessing a dangerous drug and possessing items used in the commissioning of a drug crime.

Police prosecutor Zoe Melksham said police executed a search warrant at a Rockhampton address at 1.30pm on March 17 while McMullen was at work.

She said McMullen told police he had marijuana plants in the backyard near the pool.

Ms Melksham said police located three one-metre tall marijuana plants in the yard and two 3cm tall seedling plants in the bar area.

Police also found a hydroponic grow tank, lights, solar panel inverter, buckets, fertilisers, electrical cords, timers and an exhaust fan.

Police also located 51g of marijuana in a cryovac bag, plus a set of scales inside a stubby cooler.

Ms Melksham said McMullen told police he started growing plants 13 weeks’ prior and it had cost him $1000 for the hydroponic set-up.

The court heard McMullen, a father of three with two in his care, had an extensive history of amphetamine and alcohol abuse but had engaged with Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs Services.

Magistrate Cameron Press said McMullen had “quite a set-up or venture” he was “going to embark on” and it had “some smell” of commerciality.

He said he did not know why a person would need scales for smoking marijuana.

“All this indicates to me is that you have a severe problem with marijuana,” Mr Press said.

He placed McMullen on a 15-month probation order with convictions recorded.




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