Cannabis accused joined Liberals to lobby

Kaitlyn Offer

A Melbourne couple on trial for growing cannabis joined the Liberal Party when John Howard was PM "to get in the face of the politicians" over legalising medicinal marijuana.

Elizabeth and Matthew Pallett have pleaded not guilty in the County Court to cultivating a narcotic plant, after police seized 15.5 kilograms of cannabis from their Carrum Downs home in 2015.

The couple - who are representing themselves - gave evidence on Monday afternoon, telling the jury that in their efforts to get medicinal cannabis legalised, they had joined the Liberal Party to lobby for change.

"I joined the Liberal Party when John Howard was prime minister," Elizabeth Pallett said under cross examination.

"We became very involved with political movements, we've become very political throughout this."

Her husband said they joined the Liberals "to get in the face of the politicians".

The Palletts told the jury - and a crowded public gallery full of supporters - they discovered medicinal cannabis to relieve their own pain and did not intend at first to provide it to others.

Both said they could not say no when people, including mothers with terminally-ill children, came to them seeking cannabis pain relief.

The couple also admitted to growing cannabis found at their property, knowing it was illegal.

"I don't think compassion is a crime, I think that's what society should be doing," Matthew Pallett said.

The Palletts told the court cannabis should not be considered illegal for medicinal purposes.

The trial continues with defence witnesses on Tuesday.