One of the medical marijuana companies in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has valued one of its varieties at over EC$22,000 per pound and another in excess of EC$11,000 per pound.
This is according to a charge brought against a 21-year-old resident of Walvaroo, Sion Hill, who pleaded guilty to stealing marijuana and marijuana seeds from Ottley Hall Medicinal Facility.
Antonio Yorke pleaded guilty recently at the Serious Offences Court to a charge that on March 4, 2022, at Ottley Hall, he stole 39.9 grammes of high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis, valued at EC$987.50; 25.9 grammes of Kief cannabis, valued at EC$1,295; and one dime bag containing a quantity of cannabis seeds, valued at EC$100, total value EC$2,382.50, the property of Ottley Hall Medicinal Facility.
This means that the company values a pound of high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis at over $11,000 and Kief cannabis at over EC$22,000 per pound.
The court values cannabis that is grown in the traditional way at EC$700 per pound.
A local cannabis activist told iWitness News Sunday night that cannabis grown illegally in the traditional way sells for between EC$300 and EC$400 per pound, but the price could climb to EC$1,500, depending on supply.
The facts of the case, as presented by prosecutor, Station Sergeant of Police Renrick Cato are that Marie-Helene Tremblay, general manager of Medicinal, knows Yorke very well as he had been working with the company for five months at its drying facility in Ottley Hall.
Sometime before March 4, 2022, she received certain information via email, which she communicated to the security at the facility.
Then, on March 4, 2022, the security guard, Jamal Nimblett, conducted a routine exit search and found a dime back containing cannabis seeds in Yorke’s backpack.
Nimblett notified Tremblay and the police visited the facility and spoke to her and she pointed out Yorke to them.
Yorke admitted to stealing cannabis products from the company and handed over to the police three Ziplock bags containing a quantity of Kief cannabis and cannabis seeds.
The police also executed a search warrant at his home and premises but nothing illegal was found.
In mitigation, Counsel Grant Connell told the court that his client reached form 5 at West St. George Secondary School but did not attain any subjects because his reading is not as strong as it should.
The lawyer said that his client did not waste the court’s time and pleaded guilty.
The lawyer said that Yorke had pinched the cannabis off stalks that were going to be thrown away.
He told the court that both he and the prosecutor were shocked at the value of the cannabis.
“Because my calculation would be in excess of EC$10,000 a kilo,” the lawyer said, adding that the court values cannabis grown in the traditional way at EC$700 per pound.
“This clearly is the new face of ganja,” he said, adding, “I don’t know if the new face of ganja could explain but I have never seen this.
“We are talking about under 60 grammes of cannabis,” the lawyer said.
In his submissions on sentencing, Cato said that he was not an expert in the field, adding, “But the value is an issue.”
Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne said that that was the value attached to the stolen items and that is what the court would work with.
She said the main issue she had with the case was the breach of trust, as Yorke was an employee of the company from which he stole.
After considering the sentencing submissions and the sentencing guidelines, the Chief Magistrate bonded Yorke in the sum of EC$2,500 for 10 months.
If he breaches the bond, he must pay the sum forthwith or spend 10 months in prison.
“The onus rests on you to ensure that you do not come to the court’s attention for this period of time or any time after,” she said.
The court also ordered that the stolen items be returned to the company.