Image via WikipediaHapeta Te Hau Hapeta was too sick to attend court in person and agreed to be sentenced while absent. Judge Jocelyn Munro sentenced Hapeta to three months community detention, which means that he will have to abide by a curfew from the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Munro says she was taking a 'merciful approach' with the sentence.
Found in Hapeta's home were 41 marijuana plants, which were grown with the help of Hapeta's partner 29-year-old Denise Stewart, along with several garbage bags full of marijuana vegetation and a variety of marijuana-growing supplies.
In a statement in his own defense, Hapeta said that he considers marijuana to be a herbal medicine and that he is a traditional herbalist, using cannabis to help treat sick people.
Hapeta is currently awaiting surgery after suffering a series of strokes, but his long-term prognosis is still not clear.