A Wollongong magistrate has not been swayed by fresh calls to legalise medical marijuana, convicting a man suffering Crohn's disease for growing medicinal pot in his yard.
Magistrate Susan McGowan used John Craig Hall's case to reaffirm that cannabis remained illegal in NSW, despite a renewed push for the drug to be legalised for medical purposes.
"I don't get to make the law up, I can't just fold whenever I feel like it ... ," she said.
"The fact is, cannabis is still illegal in this state, whether we like it or not."
Hall, 52, was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 1979 and has long suffered chronic pain and arthritis, despite taking anti-inflammatory medication.
He turned to cannabis after reading several articles about its medicinal effect, using the drug to help him sleep.
On May 6, police arrived at Hall's Helensburgh home after receiving a tip-off that he was cultivating pot in his yard.
Hall admitted to growing cannabis, leading officers to his back shed, which revealed a purpose-built growing area, complete with a water system and lights.
Police found 16 cannabis plants, along with some loose cannabis head, worth an estimated $22,000 when fully grown.
In Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday, Hall pleaded guilty to possessing drugs and cultivating cannabis.
The court was told Hall was on a disability pension, having been declared unfit to continue working as a truck driver, and had undergone two major surgeries for his condition.
Hall's doctors were aware of his cannabis use.
Ms McGowan accepted Hall's circumstances but said the drug was still illegal.
"You had 16 plants ... the community expects a conviction for this type of offence," she said.
Hall was placed on a six-month good behaviour bond.
The issue of medical marijuana reignited in May when the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association came out in support, noting the drug could benefit patients suffering chronic pain.
Premier Mike Baird has said he would give any bill calling for the drug's decriminalisation for dying patients "careful consideration".