Outspoken marijuana activist Nazma Muller has been fined $6,000 after pleading guilty to marijuana possession and cultivation charges.
Muller was fined by Magistrate Brambhanan Dubay after pleading guilty to both offences during a virtual hearing, yesterday.
Presenting a mitigation plea on Muller’s behalf, her attorney Daniel Khan noted that his client pleaded guilty at a preliminary stage and did not waste the court’s time in conducting a trial.
Khan noted that when marijuana was decriminalised under the Dangerous Drug Amendment Act in late 2019 there was a shift in the moral view of marijuana.
He claimed that the country was currently in a period of flux, as Parliament is still in the process of considering additional legislation to regulate the commercial cultivation and distribution of marijuana.
“Sometime in the future, my client may be allowed to have 400 grammes of marijuana and more than four plants and seedlings granted that she satisfies certain regulations,” Khan said, as he noted that his client’s breach of the law was not for financial gain as she consumes marijuana for her religious beliefs.
He also claimed that she broke the law as an act of civil disobedience as she felt it is oppressive.
Responding to Khan’s call for leniency, police prosecutor Sgt Joseph asked the court to strictly apply the law as Muller was aware of what is permitted under it.
“She knows what you can have and what you cannot have, and we cannot have people break the law because they think it is oppressive. A citizen must obey the law,” Joseph said.
Dubay eventually upheld Joseph’s submission.
“Mr Khan even though I agree with you jurisprudentially, as the Police Prosecutor Mr Joseph rightly stated, I have to apply the law. And the law says under 30 you are good and over 30 you are in problems. The 435 grammes, which your client pleaded guilty to is substantially over 30 grammes,” Dubay said.
Dubay fined Muller $3,000 for the marijuana possession charge and the same sum for cultivation. She was given six months in which to pay the fines.
Muller, a former journalist, was arrested last September after police executed a search warrant on her home and found a large quantity of marijuana and more than the four plants she is allowed to cultivate under the legislation.
Muller was granted $300,000 bail with a $15,000 cash alternative but she was forced to spend several months on remand at the Women’s Prison in Arouca before a group of well-wishers led by environmentalist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh was able to raise donations to secure her release.