BARELY three months after he was let off the hook by the Courts on charges of drug trafficking, 81-year-old Tie Mwape has petitioned the State to legalise the possession of Marijuana whose weight should be less than 0.3 percent of Delta 9 THC.
The herb-loving grandpa wants the Constitutional Court to order that the possession of cannabis whose grade or value is of 0.3 percent is legal, as it does not fall within the prohibited grades under the Narcotic and psychotropic substances Act as read together with the Third Schedule.
Last year the grandpa was charged with trafficking in 68 grammes of marijuana but was freed by Lusaka chief resident magistrate Davies Chibwili because the Drug Enforcement Comission did not prove that the drugs were more than the tetrahydrocannabinol molecule on marijuana.
The 81-year-old had attracted the sympathy of the rastafarian community led by Miko Zulu who admonished the DEC for arresting ‘drug lords’ like the grandpa and having them convicted without scientifically proving the psychoactive substance in the drugs.
Immediately he escaped the dragnet social media was flooded with pictures depicting
Mwape waburn one down, in celebration of his release.
Mwape who was once convicted for trafficking psychotropic substances argued in his petition filed before the Constitutional Court, that his second arrest and prosecution for drug trafficking was in violation of Section 2 of the repealed Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
He said according to Section 2 of the Act the marijuana which is a product of cannabis sativa was supposed to contain more than 0.3 percent of Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
He said his first arrest, prosecution and conviction was unconstitutional as the DEC failed to subject the marijuana to lab tests in order to determine whether it contained more than 0.3 percent of Delta 9 THC contrary to sections 2 and 16 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic substances Act as read together with the Third Schedule of the ACt.
Mwape said the same applied to his second arrest and prosecution as the DEC only subjected the drugs to the food and drug laboratory at UTH, to prove that it was marijuana and weighed it on a scale without testing whether the percentage was more than the one stipulated in the Narcotics Act before he could be punished.
He stated that the State and it’s agents in contravened provisions of Article 18(8) of the Constitution which protects him from being convicted of a criminal offence unless it is defined and the penalty is prescribed in a written law.
“The actions and omissions by DEC officers contravened provisions of article 11(a) and 13(1) of the Constitution which guarantees the petitioner’s right to liberty and all arrest , prosecutions and convictions done at the instigation of the DEC and its officers were illegal were the drugs were not subjected to the tests,” Mwape stated.
He is seeking an order that his arrest, prosecution and conviction without establishing the content of Delta 9 THC in the substance allegedly in his possession was unconstitutional, illegal and void.
The grandpa wants the Constitutional Court to declare that his arrest, prosecution and conviction under cause no.CRMP/008/ 22 was unconstitutional, illegal and void.
He wants it to pronounce that all arrests and convictions of persons without adhering to the provisions of sections 2,15(1)(2) and 16 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic substances Act as read together with the Third Schedule are illegal and void.
Grandpa Mwape wants the Court to compel the State to compensate him for his unlawful arrest, detention and prosecution.
By Mwaka Ndawa
Kalemba April 27, 2023.