A Canadian cram school owner was sentenced to two years in prison, and will not be deported, after a court determined that he had grown for his own use, and was a conscientious and dedicated teacher of English.
Mr Lee, 52, was arrested January 30, 2019, after a police search of a property in Longtan District, Taoyuan City turned up 163 marijuana plants under cultivation, 893 grams of dry cannabis, and related equipment.
The police investigation found that Lee had ordered seeds online in 2018, and had set up a barrel-shaped hydroponic system for growing the plants.
Lee told police that he was growing for his own use, but investigators at the time suspected that he had been trafficking.
“Police have not eliminated the possibility the Lee was distributing cannabis via ‘a circle of foreigners in Taiwan,’ China Times reported at the time of Lee’s arrest.
However, the court determined that Lee, who has resided in Taiwan for more than 10 years, had been growing for his own use. Statements by Lee’s students, parents, and colleagues described Lee as a conscientious teacher who was more interested in the education of his students than making money.
The judgement pointed out that Lee was from Canada, where cannabis is legalized, he only grew for himself, the cannabis plants were small, and there was no evidence that it had been distributed and caused harm to the public.
The court also considered that Lee had been living and working in Taiwan for a long time. His conscientious work and personal qualities contributed to the decision to hand down a light sentence.
Although Lee is a foreigner, and has been handed a fix term in prison, the court considered that Lee has no previous criminal record, and as someone who has operated a cram school for a long time with positive testimonies from parents, students, colleagues, there is no need for deportation after the prison sentence is served.
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