CANNABIS AS A CURE?: The couple claimed the drug reduced anxiety without extreme side-effects.
CANNABIS AS A CURE?: The couple claimed the drug reduced anxiety without extreme side-effects.

Emu Vale mother of 11 claims trauma lead to 60kg weed habit

AN EMU Vale couple has fronted court after they were found with more than 60kg of marijuana in a farm they claimed they ran to help with treating an anxiety condition.

 Craig Richmond Skinner and Rebecca Skinner pleaded guilty in Warwick District Court yesterday to drug offences.

Prosecutor Alex Vanenn said police searched the couple's property on January 31 where they found 17 marijuana plants growing, with the total weight of the substance totalling to over 66kg.

Mr Vanenn said police also found three hydroponic marijuana grower rooms in the couple's shed.

The Skinners ran the operation from June 2018 until the January 2019, and barrister David Jones said the farm was not for a commercial purpose but as a way to help Rebecca Skinner cope with her anxiety.

Using farm equipment, she turned to marijuana after rejecting tradition antidepressants and enlisted her husband to help her plant the crops.

"He (Craig Skinner) was quite happy to assist in that purpose because otherwise she takes Valium in large doses and he describes his wife as a 'zombie' on the days she is on Valium," Mr Jones said.

The court heard that Rebecca Skinner had been diagnosed with PTSD at 18, stemming from her mother's brutal murder as part of the famous South Australian Truro serial murders, and her time under the care of her abusive father.

The mother of 11 said she did not smoke in front of her children, only using the drug once or twice a week as a way to fall asleep.

In sentencing, Judge Lynch said, given the traumatic circumstances, he was more lenient to the crime than he would otherwise be.

"If it had be a commercial production … the penalties opposed would be significantly different," he said.

Craig Skinner was sentenced to nine months' jail, which was full suspended for 18 months, and a conviction was recorded. Rebecca Skinner was fined $1500 and no conviction was recorded.



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