A medical marijuana activist has had his home detention sentence halved after a hearing in the Court of Appeal.
William McKee last month appealed his conviction and sentencing for four charges of selling cannabis and one charge of cultivating cannabis.
He was originally sentenced to 12 months' home detention.
McKee, 58, was an activist who promoted the medical use of cannabis through a website called GreenCross, which seeks a change in the law to make raw cannabis available for medicinal purposes.
Activity on the site about selling and distributing cannabis prompted a police investigation.
An undercover police officer got in touch with McKee in February 2010, and made several cannabis purchases totalling $305 over four months.
McKee had held firm views on the medicinal benefits of cannabis for years, ever since the high amputation of one leg while he was 20.
Just before his 21st birthday, he was injured in a hit-and-run accident. His leg was crushed and unable to be saved.
Before and after the amputation, he suffered considerable pain, and found self-medicating with cannabis gave him the most effective relief.
He argued the undercover officer had pressured him into selling the cannabis with accounts of severe headaches.
McKee had unsuccessfully tried to get the officer to become a GreenCross cardholder, which would have given the policeman a medical exemption.
The small sales he made, after much "wheedling" from the officer, should have been regarded as entrapment, McKee told the court.
Though this part of the appeal failed, the court said in a judgment released today there was scope for an adjustment to the sentence because of the appellant's "humanitarian" motivations.
Though his motivations could not excuse his actions in law, the fact the cultivation was not a major operation, and commercial gain was not a main driver, the period of home detention was reduced to six months.
- © Fairfax NZ News