A man who police nabbed with marijuana in his vehicle told the lawmen that he had more of the illegal drug at home.
For the assistance that the man, Andrew Richards, of Stubbs, provided to the police, he was reprimanded and discharged for the 293 grammes of the drug that the police found at his home.
The court heard that on Tuesday, Aug. 22, officers of the Rapid Response Unit were on mobile patrol in the Stubbs area when they saw motor vehicle PC700 at the Bon Homme Gap around 11:45 a.m.
The police stopped the vehicle and requested a search and the driver complied.
A search of the driver’s person did not turn up anything illegal.
When the police were about to search the vehicle, the defendant told them, “Officer, me have ah piece ah weed in me knapsack.”
The police found a knapsack in the vehicle, which contained a plastic bag. They cut open the plastic bag and found inside plant-like material resembling that of cannabis
The defendant asked the officers to give him a chance, telling them he is “hustling”.
The police officers asked Richards where he lives and he said Stubbs, adding that he has a piece of weed in his house.
He took the police to his house and handed over to them some marijuana amounting to 293 grammes.
In mitigation, defence counsel Grant Connell said that the defendant is a 38-year-old father of five who pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
He noted that the defendant had no previous conviction, adding that the drug has a value of EC$1,300.
“As you heard, he assisted the police greatly by telling the police what he had in his vehicle and home.”
Connell told the court that his client had suffered an injury some years ago resulting in one of his kidneys being removed.
The lawyer told the court that his client boils and drinks the marijuana and this relieves the pain.
He said it was not Richards’ intention to be disrespectful of the law.
Connell noted that Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar is calling for a debate on the decriminalisation of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
“If a locally grown product could help a Vincentian in pain, for the court to inflict financial pain on him rebuts common sense,” Connell said.
He asked the court to reprimand and discharge his client, telling the court that the marijuana was not cleaned or pressed and is “of good quality and ready to be boiled and consumed”.
He further said a friend of the accused had given the marijuana to him.
“If it saves him going to the hospital, which you know you can go in and not come out–” Connell said.
He further said he believes that by next June the law will have been changed to decriminalise the possession of fewer than 15 grammes of the drug.
Connell told the court that his client has brought EC$600 to court and asked the court to consider that a sufficient amount as his fine.
Magistrate Bertie Pompey said he took into account the defendant’s early guilty plea.
Pompey, a retired deputy police chief, further said he looks forward to the day when small quantities of marijuana will be decriminalised.
For possession of 889 grammes of marijuana, Pompey fined the defendant EC$800 to be paid in one month or four months in prison.