By Zondiwe Mbewe
The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has sentenced a 28-year-old man of Chipata Overspill to six months’ simple imprisonment for trafficking and unlawful use of marijuana.
This was after the accused, John Frazer Mwamba, informed the court that he didn’t see anything wrong in smoking marijuana as it was for medicinal purposes, adding that if he can’t be handled in Zambia, it was best to send him to a country like Jamaica where he can be allowed to smoke.
In this matter, Mwamba was facing two counts of trafficking and unlawful use of marijuana.
It was alleged in the first count that on December 8, this year in Lusaka, Mwamba did traffic in psychotropic substances namely, 1.1 grammes of marijuana, a herbal product of cannabis sativa without lawful authority.
In the second count, it was alleged that on the same day, Mwamba did use 0.9 grammes of marijuana without lawful authority.
Mwamba was allegedly taken to the police by his mother after he became unruly, threatening his members of the family that he will beat them.
And when the matter came up for plea before Magistrate K Sakwanda, he admitted the charges.
Facts of the matter are that on December 8, DEC officers received information that there was an accused person in custody at North Gate Police Post who was found dealing in suspected drugs.
DEC officers then proceeded to the said place where Mwamba was handed over with the said exhibits and he admitted ownership.
The suspected drugs were taken to UTH Food and Drug control Laboratory where the Public Analyst identified and confirmed the drugs to be marijuana.
The accused gave a free and voluntary reply admitting the charge and was formally charged and arrested for the subject offence.
Asked by the court whether the facts where correct, Mwamba replied in the affirmative.
He, however, added that much as he had pleaded guilty, he did not see anything wrong in smoking the drugs because he was using them as medicine.
When the court interjected, asking him whether he was aware that it was an offence to smoke marijuana, Mwamba said, “If you can’t handle me here, it’s better you send me to a region where I’m allowed to smoke, a country like Jamaica. When I smoke, I manage to find my way home. If I don’t smoke, I have stomach pains,” Mwamba said.
In her ruling, Magistrate Sakwanda noted that she gave Mwamba an opportunity to mitigate, but he had nothing to say.
She added that although she had put into consideration the fact that the accused was the first offender, what he did was wrong and he was not remorseful.
Magistrate Sakwanda, therefore, sentenced him to six months imprisonment.
“You have not shown any remorse for your actions. Whatever type of medication you use, you need a prescription from the doctors. The drugs you used as medication are not allowed in Zambia. Just to show that what you did was wrong and to deter you from committing the same offence; I sentence you to six months simple imprisonment in count one and four weeks simple imprisonment in count two. The sentences are to run concurrently,” ruled Magistrate Sakwanda.