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A Yellowknife couple has been sentenced to five months for illegally growing and possessing marijuana.

The sentence was handed down in a Yellowknife courtroom this morning, but the judge said Kim and Craig MacNearney don't have to serve their sentence in jail.

The couple will be under house arrest for the first three months of their sentence, and under strict conditions for the remainder.

In addition, they were each ordered to do 100 hours of community service.

Justice Virginia Schuler said she believes the MacNearney's were growing marijuana mainly to treat Kim MacNearney's chronic back pain.

But the judge pointed out that they made a calculated decision to disobey the law.

The MacNearney's were charged in 2009, after child protection workers received an anonymous tip that two young children were being raised in a home where marijuana was being grown.

Their small growing operation was discovered by police accompanying the child protection workers who investigated the tip.