A 78-year-old man in Larnaca, Cyprus was arrested for cannabis possession after someone narced on him for growing two pot plants in his backyard.
Upon receiving the tip, members of the Cyprus Police’s anti-narcotics service obtained a search warrant for the property on the east coast of the country.
The subsequent property search at about 4:45 p.m. on Oct. 11 revealed two plastic bags of cannabis leaves and branches weighing 1.5 kilograms and 100 grams of hemp in the man’s residence and two potted pot plants, measuring 150 and 80 centimetres tall, in his yard, according to a police statement. A police-distributed photo also shows a third, far smaller plant.
The man was arrested “for the obvious offences of illegal possession and illegal possession of drugs for the purpose of supply to other persons.” The police investigation is continuing.
Recreational cannabis is illegal and medicinal marijuana is strictly governed.
In 2017, the government announced some later-stage cancer patients could “apply to the Health Ministry in order to receive cannabis oil,” per Canna Connection. Although a person or business can apply for a medical marijuana licence, the substance “is strictly controlled by the Ministry of Health,” according to Tornaritis Law Firm.
As for recreational weed, all activities — including selling, possessing, growing and buying — are forbidden, Canna Connection reports.
Cyprus classifies drugs as A, B (which includes cannabis) or C according to their level of harm, notes country-specific information from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. While possession for personal use is regarded as a serious criminal offence, punishable by up to eight years for a class B substance, “first-time offenders aged under 25 are not given sentences of more than 1 year,” the centre reports.
That break would not apply to the 78-year-old accused. Additionally, Cyprus introduced quantity thresholds for personal use in 2003, beyond which it could be assumed a person intended to sell the substance. “The limits include three or more cannabis plants, 30 grams or more of cannabis or its products and 10 grams or more of prepared cocaine or opium (or its derivatives),” it adds.
How courts are viewing cannabis, however, may be changing, at least in some respects.
Earlier this month, the country’s appeal court suspended a three-year prison sentence for a man found with 47 cannabis plants, calling the term excessive, according to Cyprus Mail.
Although the number of plants was substantial — and well above the three plants figure associated with the perceived intent to sell — the court pointed out they were for research, the man pleaded guilty and he co-operated fully.
But just months earlier in July, a man’s bid to reduce one of the largest cannabis sentences ever handed down in Cyprus failed. He was sentenced to eight years after being found guilty of transporting 996.8 grams of weed and about $1,200.
The 78-year-old man is hardly the first septuagenarian to be nabbed for cannabis-related offences.
This past September, two senior citizens from Caledon, Ont. were among those charged in connection with the discovery of an illegal grow-op and a multimillion-dollar butane oil lab.
In June, a 71-year-old man from Topeka, Kansas was charged with several drug offences after police raided his home and found cannabis, crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia.
And in 2021, police patrolling the Pacific Highway along Australia’s central east coast were somewhat surprised after stopping a driver for a random breath test at about 2:15 a.m. and finding out that the 76-year-old man was hauling 36 kilograms of illegal weed. Full Story