Giles Ross, 44, tarnished his unblemished reputation after police caught him with 28 cannabis plants and 160.5g of skunk at his Fareham home after a tip-off on September 26.
Dressed smartly in a suit at Portsmouth Crown Court for his sentencing hearing, Ross admitted producing cannabis with a value up to £23,520 - but only for his own personal use.
Prosecutor Jane Terry said: ‘Police came to his address after an anonymous tip-off that cannabis was growing in his garden.
‘There were 28 plants at various stages of maturity and jars of skunk stored by the defendant.
‘He was arrested and claimed in interview he went to Amsterdam for the first time in 2019 and then started growing cannabis as a hobby.
‘He wanted to improve (the cannabis) and make it stronger but did not want to share it with anyone.’
The court heard Ross had a distinguished career in the army before being discharged in 2008.
After his trip to Amsterdam he turned to drugs to help him deal with a colleague who took his own life in 2018.
Gemma White, defending, said: ‘Mr Ross has never been before the court before and is someone who has led an exemplary life with a successful career in the military.
‘He has taken those skills learnt in the army and put them to good use in civilian life.’
She added: ‘He had very clear views that he did not want to be involved in drug-dealing. It was an unsophisticated operation.’
Judge Roger Hetherington told Ross: ‘You were at a low point in your life after a colleague took their own life. It was a coping mechanism and also for medicinal purposes for nerve pain.
‘You weren’t trying to conceal the drugs and there was a level of unsophistication.’
Ross, of Blankney Close, admitted producing cannabis between June 25 and September 27 and possessing the drug.
Ross was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 100 hours unpaid work and told to cough up £525 costs.
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