Attorney Grant Connell has called on Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne to ask the relevant authorities to review the drug laws and value of marijuana.
Connell made the call in separate mitigation pleas on behalf of his clients Levan Matthews and Arno Charles, both of Petit Bordel, during a sitting of the Serious Offences Court on Monday.
Matthews had pleaded guilty to possession of 422 grams of marijuana with intent to supply, while Charles admitted to having 372 grams of the illegal herb with intent to supply.
Connell said that, as this country celebrates 40 years of Independence, the average marijuana man continues to suffer, and Renewal at 40 does not include any significant change to the laws in relation to marijuana.
Connell said that the value of $900 per pound for marijuana, given to the Court by Head of the Narcotics Unit, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Foster Scott, is not correct and is misleading.
He has repeatedly stated that persons directly involved in the marijuana business, including head of the Cannabis Revival Committee (CRC), Junior ‘Spirit’ Cottle, has placed the value at $200 to $300 per pound.
Connell stressed that the Court needs to use the correct value of the herb, as there is a direct nexus between value and sentence.
The lawyer pointed out that the existing sentences for marijuana possession are too harsh and unconsconciable, stressing that the last significant increase in sentence at the Magistrate’s Court was in 2008, from three years to seven years, and the fine was moved from $100,000 to $500,000.
Connell said that the marijuana with which his clients were charged, amounted to less than a pound, valuing less than $250, and they were held in custody at the Central Police Station for four days before being taken to Court because they were denied station bail.
Matthews was fined $450, while Charles was ordered to pay the Court $330. (TheVin)