Man jailed for planting marijuana

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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Court House Mulinuu.

Court House Mulinuu. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

A man has been sentenced to three years imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to planting 71 marijuana plants.

Ulugia Sala Suivai, 41, of Vaiusu appeared before Supreme Court Justice Vui Clarence Nelson last Friday and was found guilty, with the presiding Judge emphasising that the penalties for drug sellers in Samoa should be severe.

“In particular, those who make a living out of selling and dealing in the narcotic,” he said, before going on to quote the case of Police v Moa [2013] WSSC 24.

“The penalties on those who make a living out of selling drugs will be especially severe because they are at the heart of drug trafficking in this country. To dealers and sellers of marijuana, court says this: find something else to do. There is no profit or happy ending in doing drugs or being involved in the trade.”

According to the police summary of facts, the police executed a search warrant on the defendant’s premises in Vaiusu as he was suspected of growing marijuana. 

“Behind the defendants house they discovered 71 marijuana plants, some up to three feet. A search of inside the house revealed three marijuana cigarettes weighing 1.4 grams securely wrapped in white rolling paper. 

“The police summary says they asked the defendant about the cigarettes and the defendant admitted the cigarettes belonged to him. 

“The defendant was apprehended and charged leading to his court appearance today for sentence on the charges aforementioned.” 

Justice Vui noted that it is clear from the facts that the marijuana being grown by the defendant was not for his personal use, given the quantity of plants confiscated. 

“The court has said on many previous occasions and in many prior case that involving yourself in illegal narcotics such as marijuana is a perilous path. 

“The prevalence and seriousness of drug offending in our community has led Parliament to doubling the penalties in relation to marijuana in the last few years, and the courts routinely send people to prison for being in possession of marijuana. 

On the charge of cultivation of the 71 plants the 41-one-year old was sentenced to three years in prison and for the charge of possession of three cigarettes convicted he’s sentenced to three months and they are to run concurrently. 

 

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