Fined for growing dagga

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MASERU — A 64-year-old man from Ha-‘Masana last week told the Maseru Magistrate’s Court that the 160 marijuana plants that police had found in his garden last March were meant to be fodder for his cattle.

He also told the court that he used the marijuana plants for medicinal purposes.

Makabane Makabane said this as he begged for leniency after the court found him guilty of planting dangerous plants without a licence.

“I ask for forgiveness and pray that I be given an option of a fine. This is because I planted this dagga for our cows and we use it for medicinal purposes. I am not employed and depend solely on the milk from my cows,” he said.

He said he was misled by the certificate his wife ‘Maleburu Makabane, 55, had which he said he thought gave her a licence to grow herbs.

“I therefore thought I was allowed to plant dagga,” he said.

“I promise not to repeat this offence. May I request that the fine also not be too heavy in this circumstance.”

Magistrate Mojela Mothebe however slapped Makabane with a one-year jail term but suspended half of the sentence on condition that he does not commit a similar offence within the next 12 months.

Makabane could however avoid going to jail if he pays a M1 000 fine.

The magistrate said in his judgment he had considered that Makabane was a first offender and he had pleaded guilty to the crime.

“The court has considered his personal circumstances and all these factors entitle him to a lenient sentence.

“However we still have to acknowledge that he committed an offence which he has to take responsibility for,” he said.

The case was prosecuted by Peter Matekane.

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