Dave has been growing cannabis since he was 14 years old, when he began using it to treat his ADHD. Known in his part of New Zealand as a “green fairy”– someone who grows and supplies cannabis to patients suffering from pain and disability – he estimates he has supplied more than 1,000 people over the last decade.
With a few hundred plants on the go, the 33-year-old says what was once a hobby has morphed into a full-time occupation, mostly avoiding the attention of police.
“I have been doing it a long time and I have learned how to do it as carefully as possible,” he says.
But with a referendum on recreational use of cannabis looming next year, Dave might not have to be careful for much longer. He is one of several New Zealand growers preparing for a possible yes result by starting to emerge from the shadowy black market to share their expertise.
Last year the government announced an informal “amnesty” for growers to come forward and work with research and development companies. Now a nationwide search is under way for unique strains of the cannabis plant, with many varieties growing in isolation for decades on the fertile North and South Islands.
Read more at theguardian.com