An Adelaide woman who admitted to drug offences after supplying medicinal cannabis to help people suffering from chronic pain and other ailments has avoided a conviction.
Jenny Hallam asked not to be jailed or have a conviction recorded for her offending, fearing it would impede her overseas work as an advocate for the remedy.
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The 47 year old was sentenced in the District Court on Thursday, where she was handed a good behaviour bond and had no conviction recorded.
Hallam cried following the conviction, hugging her advocates.
Before facing court, she took to Facebook on Wednesday to once again thank her supporters.
“In 24 hours it should be over. This is it, almost done. Thanks for the love,” she said.
During sentencing submissions in October, her counsel, Greg Barns, said Hallam had lost $20,000 supplying cannabis as a treatment for chronic pain, epilepsy and “a range of other serious ailments”.
“This is a case where you have an individual who is meeting … a demand which seems to have arisen in the Australian community,” he said.
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“A conviction in this particular case is not warranted and we certainly say that a term of imprisonment, suspended or otherwise, would again, in this particular case, not be warranted.”
Mr Barns said the NSW-based Australian Cannabis University had offered Hallam a job advocating the importance of using organic cannabis in production, but a criminal conviction would impede overseas travel for work.
Hallam’s home at Hillier, in Adelaide’s north, was raided by police in January 2017, but she was not charged with drug offences until three months later.
She had intended to take the case to trial, arguing she acted out of medical necessity in the supply of cannabis oil to those who needed the drug to relieve pain, though in February this year she pleaded guilty to the charges.
‘Not qualified’ to manufacture
Prosecutor Nick Wong said Hallam’s offending was serious enough to warrant jail time but he was not opposed to a suspended sentence.
“The fact remains that she’s not qualified to manufacture medical cannabis and her homemade product lacks any quality control,” he said.
Access to medicinal cannabis has been legal in South Australia for some time but it can be prescribed by doctors only under certain circumstances.
Proponents say, for some people, getting hold of suitable products remains difficult.