Classical music 'helped cannabis flourish'

High culture helped for a high-quality crop

Last updated 13:19 22/01/2014
Cannabis crop

CULTURED CROP: Some of Verdun Stergus Kemp's cannabis operation.

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A Gisborne man played classical music to his cannabis plants to encourage the crop to flourish.

Police uncovered the sophisticated growing operation with the potential to earn $500,000 annually late last year.

Verdun Sturgus Kemp, 21, controlled the lighting, temperature and ventilation to grow 287 cannabis plants in his spare room, the police summary said.

A radio was set up to play classical music to the plants, Detective Sergeant Wayne Beattie said.

Kemp told him the plants responded better to classical music.

He also kept rubbish bins of plant nutrients in the bathroom and measured the acidity of the liquid to make sure it was at its optimum level.

At the Gisborne District Court yesterday Kemp pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis. He was jailed for two years and one month.

Beattie told Fairfax Media it was a "well-orchestrated growing operation".

Kemp anticipated harvesting one ounce off each plant and expected $400 per ounce. He was four weeks off full production which he estimated would harvest $30,000 every three weeks. It cost Kemp $17,000 to kit out the spare room, just a week after he began renting the Gisborne property last July.

Kemp believed he would have made $525,000 a year but was "cagey" about who he would sell his produce to, Beattie said.

He told police he was not going to sell it "gang members, people under 20 and anyone that didn't have a job".

The crop had been destroyed since his arrest.

Beattie told Fairfax Media it was great Kemp's cannabis had been taken out of circulation, but it was not even the tip of the iceberg.

He urged people to tell police about growing operations or leave anonymous information via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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- The Dominion Post

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