Medical cannabis user's charges dropped after her plight 'struck a chord'

A woman caught growing cannabis for "medicinal purposes" has had her charges dropped after her story "struck a chord" with police officers.

Ann Vernon suffers from chronic pain after she was trampled by horses and received bad back injuries.

As the cost of medical cannabinoids is expensive in New Zealand, Ms Vernon was forced to turn to growing her own. And after police searched her property earlier this year, they found her 'herb' garden.

"Last week I was charged and summons to court for the cultivation of the 33 plants police seized on New Years," she posted to Facebook.

"Well, I told the officer what I thought about that. I must have struck a chord, as he went and spoke again to senior staff."

As a result, police reduced her charge to possession and give her a pre-charge warning. The icing on the cake?

"They also left me some [cannabis during the search]," she alleges.

It's not the first time Ms Vernon has escaped charges. In 2012, she was discharged without conviction due to the mitigating medical evidence.

Police told Newshub every situation is dealt with on a "case by case basis".

"The role of Police is to enforce the law and the Police approach to cannabis has not changed," a spokesperson said.

"Police officers do, however, have discretion on how they deal with a range of matters, including cannabis offences.

"Based on all the information available to police, this matter was deemed suitable for a pre-charge warning."

Ms Vernon says she decided to speak out so others know what can be achieved and advocate for a similar outcome.

"It's cruel to make people choose between suffering and being a criminal," she wrote on Facebook.

"Plenty of officers would rather be doing something else than wasting time and resources on cannabis."

And she has a message to the officers who took pity on her.

"Thank you to the constables and sergeants that made this possible," she says.


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