TEA LEAVES: Timothy George Phillips was busted with almost 500 marijuana plants.
TEA LEAVES: Timothy George Phillips was busted with almost 500 marijuana plants.

Man says dope tea a miracle weight loss aid

A BUNDABERG man busted for growing a plantation of nearly 500 marijuana plants says drinking the drug as a tea helped him shed 60kg in weight.

In what may be viewed as being somewhat miraculous by people suffering obesity issues, the District Court heard that 55-year-old Timothy George Phillips had dropped weight from 140kg to being just over 80kgs after drinking cannabis tea daily.

Phillips appeared in the dock at his Bundaberg sentencing before Judge Anthony Rafter SC.

He pleaded guilty to possession of the dangerous drug marijuana in excess of 500g (3.83kg) at Welcome Creek on December 2 last year; producing a dangerous drug; using a dangerous drug; and possession of a bong used to smoke a dangerous drug.

Crown prosecutor Christopher Cook said Phillips in 2011 was sentenced to a three-year jail term when convicted of producing methylamphetamine after being found with over 800 pseudoephedrine tablets, and over 1kg of packaged marijuana.

Mr Cook said police found the 494 plants 12 months ago in various stages of growth when searching his rural property. The quality of the drug was not significant.

However, of concern was when police returned to his home in March a further marijuana plant was found near a caravan, Phillips saying officers had missed it and he moved it afterward.

The Crown sought a head sentence of 18 months to two years with Phillips to serve one-third in custody then released on parole.

Defence barrister Peter Richards said Phillips had been a fisherman but "went bush" after a relationship breakdown.

He suffered a heart attack three years ago and instructs he had lost 60kgs weight after using one ounce of marijuana a day. "He drinks it as a tea nightly".

Mr Richards said Phillips made a conscious decision to grow the drug solely so he did not have to deal with dealers.

Judge Anthony Rafter SC said although Phillips sees its use as medicinal, and while he was aware of reports of the medicinal benefits of marijuana, it needed to be done under medical supervision.

He said a report that Phillips suffers from schizophrenia, may be caused by use of cannabis, and despite saying it caused his weight loss the overall (health) benefits would likely be limited.

He said it was not at all uncommon for people who use large amounts of the drug to suffer schizophrenia.

"He was a man of 140kg," said Mr Richards.

"(He uses) to keep his weight off, help his health - not for pain relief - drinking it as a tea."

Judge Rafter said he had never before heard that reason before. He said such a weight loss was a staggering amount.

"It was something he picked up off the internet as a useful way to lose weight," Mr Richards said.

Judge Rafter said when police searched his property marijuana cuttings had also been found hanging from ropes to dry and a bag found in a box held more than a kilogram.

A worn path led to the 494 growing plants that weighed 2.2kg.

Judge Rafter convicted Phillips and sentenced him to 18 months jail and ordered he serve three months with the remainder suspended for two years.

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