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Moray businessman (40) fined £10k for “staggeringly ill-advised” cannabis-growing venture

By Ali Morrison

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A BUSINESSMAN who said he grew cannabis in outbuildings at a Moray farmhouse to combat health problems has been fined £10,350.

Craig Mckinnon appeared for sentence at Inverness Sheriff Court before Sheriff Gary Aitken who had called for a background report last month before dealing with the 40-year-old.

The accused tried to flee during an appearance at Inverness Sheriff Court.
The accused tried to flee during an appearance at Inverness Sheriff Court.

The father-of-two previously admitted producing a controlled drug at Easter Greens Farmhouse in Lossiemouth on May 27, 2022.

The court heard that police - who were acting on a tip-off - raided the property and found tents that housed cannabis plants at various stages of maturity.

In total, there were 48 with a potential to realise anything between £11,400 and £46,170.

Apart from the drugs, officers also found a package of cannabis seeds and a grow tent addressed to Craig Mckinnon at the address.

His solicitor, Stephen Carty told Sheriff Aitken: "He has had ill health for a number of years and he took cannabis to deal with the pain.

“He looked online to see how to grow cannabis. Prior to his ill health he ran two businesses with an income of £100,000 a year.

“But his health has improved and he has put in place plans to restart his own business again in the next few weeks.

"It is his position that this was not a commercial operation but it is conceded 48 plants is excessive.

“He can pay a substantial fine or do unpaid work as an alternative to a prison sentence."

Sheriff Aitken told Mckinnon he had doubts that this amount of cannabis was for Mckinnon's own use.

He added: "If there was a shred of evidence of a commercial operation, you would be going to jail for years.

“This was a staggeringly ill-advised venture. Pain relief should be dealt with by a GP not through some bright idea gained from the internet."

Mckinnon was ordered to pay the fine at £400 a month and all the plants and equipment were forfeited.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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