Two farmers who claimed they planted marijuana because ‘things hard’, were today given nine months to come up with $20,000 each after the pair confessed to four drug charges.
Ken O’Neal Maynard, 41, of Diamond Valley, St Philip and Carson McClaren Osborne, 51, of Casuarina Street, Ruby Park, St Philip were fined by Magistrate Christopher Birch in the District ‘C’ Magistrates Court.
Prosecuting the case, Sergeant Azel Skeete explained that Osbourne’s brother rents three acres of land at Golden Grove, St Philip. A year ago, Osbourne leased one acre from his sibling who planted okras in his section.
Meanwhile, the brother who is the tenant, employed Maynard to work with him on the land.
Last December, Osbourne cleared part of his acre, planted some cannabis seeds and told Maynard about it. Maynard also cleared a nearby section of his employer’s field and did likewise.
The men pleaded guilty to possession, intent to supply, trafficking and cultivating 11 pounds of marijuana on February 11. The 862 plants which were confiscated by police ranged from eight inches to three feet tall.
Addressing the court, Osborne and Maynard said they planted the weed because they could not find work.
An unimpressed Magistrate Birch queried why Osbourne had not emulated his brother who, according to the facts, had planted okras, lettuce, Chinese cabbage and spinach.
“You all had an acre of land to work and you all chose to plant the only crop that would get you in trouble?” he asked.
Each man was fined $15,000 payable in nine months for possession of the cannabis, with an alternative of two years in prison. They must also pay $5,000 each with a similar time frame for cultivation, or face a nine-month concurrent sentence.
The men were convicted, reprimanded and discharged on the intent to supply charge and reprimanded and discharged on the last count of trafficking.