By Rob Kidd from
A man who used every room in a Dunedin apartment – including the roof – to grow nearly $ 500,000 worth of cannabis has been jailed.
Dylan Pattison, 26, appeared in Dunedin District Court yesterday where he was jailed for two years and four months on charges of cultivating Class C drugs.
When police raided Union St East – in the heart of the city’s student area – on July 13 last year, they found 353 plants in various stages of maturity.
Crown Attorney Richard Smith said the growth was hugely significant, which could have fetched around $ 476,550.
Pattison said he initially got involved to cultivate only for his own use, but had “become greedy”.
Judge Michael Crosbie noted that he had never been convicted and was amazed at the amount of cannabis in the house.
“Looks like people could have gotten high just walking past,” he says.
The court heard that Pattison was the first of three to be convicted of the Weed Growing Trade Union.
He started renting the property for $ 400 a week in March of last year and police learned of the illegal activity the following month.
In July, they had obtained interception warrants, which further revealed what was going on between those involved.
“The three defendants regularly discussed what to do at the factories at the address and when the various parts would be ready for harvest,” said a police summary.
Pattison was primarily responsible for the daily maintenance of the plants.
Initially, the four chambers were used for growing cannabis, but things quickly went downhill.
Sophisticated equipment used
Sophisticated equipment was purchased to ensure the success of the harvest, the court heard – grow lights controlled by time switches, ventilation duct systems, carbon filters and oscillating fans were all installed.
Such was the scale of the crop, the men installed a sprinkler system fed from a tank in the roof for seedlings.
Police estimated that nearly $ 15,000 was spent on accessories.
Lawyer Sophia Thorburn pointed out that there was no evidence of significant financial gain for her client.
All the money he earned was used to support his partner and four children, she said.
Pattison reported problems with depression and anxiety, for which he used cannabis to self-medicate. He had gotten to the point where he believed he needed the substance to survive, the court heard.
Judge Crosbie said the accused was more than just a gardener, as has been suggested.
“You were an integral part of this operation, which was sophisticated,” he said.
The judge said the defendant would be a good candidate for the drug addiction unit while behind bars and urged him to make the most of rehabilitation opportunities.
Another union member is expected to be sentenced later this month, while a third is expected to be dealt with in court in March.
– This story first appeared in the Otago Daily Times