Two women and two men who grew dagga (mbanje) hydroponically were granted bail in the Camperdown Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
Magistrate ZC Mnguni granted Tamarind de Beer, 34, bail of R2 000, Dawn Dormer, 29, R3 500, Riaan de Beer, 34, R3 500 and David Walker, 33, R2 500.
Their lawyer Ozayr Latiff told the court the charges would not stick because the raid on their premises was done without a warrant and was thus illegal.
Drug raids without a warrant were legal when the drugs were being moved, but in this instance the drugs were grown by a syndicate on three smallholdings and the movement proviso did not apply, he argued.
According to police spokesperson Thulani Zwane the Hilton flying squad, the Pietermaritzburg tactical response unit, Alexandra crime prevention unit and Camperdown SAPS raided the properties together.
The activities had been watched for some time.
About 360 hydroponically grown plants and reaped dagga in various stages of preparation, laptops, hydroponic equipment and R17 000 cash were seized.
Their value was estimated at R1m.
Hydroponic cultivation is done without soil, the plants rooted in water and fed chemically.
The case was adjourned to 5 February.