A 28-year-old Sandy Bay resident become one of the first persons to appear before the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on a marijuana possession charge after last Monday’s passage of the medical marijuana legislation in Parliament.
On Monday, Okeano Fergus told the court that he was in the mountains last week when the laws — which provide for the establishment of a marijuana industry and another providing amnesty to qualifying persons for a limited period — were debated and passed.
Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett told the man, who had pleaded guilty to the marijuana possession charge, that he wanted to hear his view on the legislations.
Ferguson said that he did not listen to the debate as he came home from the mountain days after the law was passed on Tuesday.
Fergus, however, told the court he had heard that the plant could be made legal or would continue to remain illegal.
He pleaded guilty to possession of 466 grammes (1 lb) of marijuana about 11:50 p.m. on Sunday.
Fergus was arrested as police conducted stop and search operations in Sandy Bay.
He was the only occupant of PR613, a car, which was stopped while it was travelling in the direction of Orange Hill.
When cautioned, Fergus told police, “Is a piece of weed to sell to give me youth them something.”
The father of children 11 and 7 years old — by different mothers — told the court that he had the drugs because he was trying to provide for his children.
Burnett told the man that, to the best of his knowledge, possession of marijuana is still illegal in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“Until the change comes, [if] you are caught by the police, they will arrest you and bring you to court and the law will have to act,” the magistrate said.
He ordered the man to pay a fine of EC$600 by Jan. 31, 2019 or, in default, spend three months in jail.