Malta : In Jail for growing eight cannabis plants

A 45-year-old man who cultivated eight cannabis plants at home has been jailed for three years and fined €3,000.

Louis Lia, from Cospicua, was found guilty of cultivating the cannabis plants and to the possession of cannabis in circumstances denoting it was not for his personal use.

Magistrate Marseann Farrugia heard how the Drug Squad police raided his residence in June 2007 where they found the plants growing in the back yard. Since the residence is close to a football club, he was given an aggravating charge of drug trafficking within 100 metres from a place frequented by minors.

Mr Lia told the court that he was a heavy cannabis user and smoked around seven joints a day. He argued that he was growing the plants for his personal use but experts told the court that a cannabis user smoked an average of three or four joints a day.

The court heard how the plants had a diameter of between 30 and 40 centimetres each. The total amount of cannabis when excluding the roots and stalks weighed 28.63 grams, enough to produce almost 150 joints. The magistrate said she was convinced that Mr Lia was not growing all those plants for his personal use.

In her considerations on punishment, the magistrate noted that Mr Lia had five convictions on his criminal record, one of which was over the simple possession of cannabis resin.

She therefore jailed him for three years and fined him €3,000. She also ordered him to pay €871 in court expenses.

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