An Australian father who was arrested for growing cannabis he says was for his sick daughters has pleaded not guilty in court today on grounds of medical necessity.
Steve Taylor, from Winmalee, New South Wales, began growing cannabis after researching how juicing the plants might be effective in treating his daughters' Crohn's disease.
Morgan Taylor, 21, and her sister Ariel, 25, have taken medication for their Crohn's disease since they were children, and say they found juicing cannabis offered significant relief, without many of the side effects associated with pharmaceuticals.
Late last year Morgan went public with her use of the plant on her blog. The family home was raided by police only a few weeks later, with police seizing all of the plants.
Morgan's father was charged with cultivation of 107 plants and possession of cannabis.
In a statement released on Friday, Taylor said cannabis had restored the quality of his daughters' lives "to a degree that is hard to describe".
"Although [medicinal cannabis] is supposedly legal in Australia, it is, because of a very deliberate policy on the part of the government, impossible to access for the vast majority of patients," he said.
"Given the situation, I felt I had no choice but to do what I did, and that it was done out of absolute medical necessity. As such, I believe I have protection under the law which allows for such circumstances and that I have therefore committed no crime."
Taylor is represented by solicitor Sally McPherson and will also receive assistance from prominent human rights lawyer Greg Barns.
McPherson has called for magistrates to receive dispensation to allow a stay of proceedings against people like Taylor, pending further changes to the state's medicinal cannabis laws.
Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.
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