A 15-year-old boy of Lusaka’s George Compound yesterday told the Magistrates’ Court that smoking marijuana helps him control his temper, while others said that it helped them carry out house chores quickly and forget about their late loved ones.

This is the matter in which 11 juveniles and a 20 year-old grade 12 pupil identified as Lukas Daka, all from Lusaka’s George Compound, are facing two counts of trafficking and unlawful use of psychotropic substances.

The 12, who all pleaded guilty, took turns explaining to the Court how marijuana, gives them appetite, strength to lift weights and carry out house chores quickly, skills to play good football and to avoid making noise in class, among other things.

It is alleged in the first count that on January 16 this year, the accused jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown, trafficked in 305.7 grams of marijuana without lawful authority.

In the second count, it is alleged that on the same day, the accused jointly and whilst acting together did use 1.2 grams of marijuana without lawful authority.

And when the matter came up for plea before magistrate Chanda, Tuesday, the 12 accused admitted the charges, saying they used to smoke in an unfinished building in George Compound.

Asked why they were smoking the cannabis despite knowing that it was unlawful, the juveniles and an adult, took turns explaining how the drug helped them solve their personal problems.

The first accused, a 16 year-old Grade nine pupil, who started smoking in 2014, said marijuana gave him appetite.

“I was doing it for appetite so that I can eat. I started smoking in 2014,” he said.

Accused number two, a 14 year-old Grade six pupil told the court that he used to stress too much after his father passed on so he decided to start smoking last year to stop having too many thoughts about him.

“I used to stress too much after my father died. [But] when I smoke I never used to think too much. I started smoking last year,” he said.

Another 15 year-old grade nine pupil said, “I was found with the drugs in an unfinished building. Yes I know it’s an offence to smoke [marijuana]. [But] it helps me to forget some things. Like the death of my father [though] I have never even seen him.”

And another 15 year-old Grade nine pupil said smoking marijuana helped him to control his temper and to remain quiet when someone provoked him.

A 16-year-old Grade nine pupil said marijuana helped him carry out house chores quickly.

“I become fast when doing chores in the house,” he said.

Asked who taught him how to smoke cannabis, the juvenile said he started on his own.

Another 16-year-old Grade nine pupil also reiterated that the cannabis helped him to do house chores quickly.

“I’m the one who helps my mother with work because she doesn’t have a girl child. I help her fetch water, take her food to the market, because when I smoke I become so fast,” he said.

When magistrate Chanda asked him if he wanted his mother to stop giving him chores so that he doesn’t smoke, the juvenile said no.

Further, a 14-year-old Grade seven pupil admitted that smoking marijuana made him feel good.

“I feel good when I smoke. If my friends are talking bad about me, I will just ignore them,” he said.

Meanwhile, a 16-year-old grade nine pupil said smoking marijuana helped him to play good football, while another one added that when he smoked, he would be quiet in class.

“I bought the marijuana from Chibolya just there in town at K5. When I smoke, I don’t make noise in class, because I don’t want to be part of the noise makers,” he said.

A 17-year-old juvenile said when he smoked, he could draw perfectly as he was an artist.

And 20-year-old Lukas Daka said he smoked because of group influence.

He said he felt good after smoking as he would be able to lift weights in the gym.

After hearing their testimonies, magistrate Nsunge Chanda entered a plea of guilty, noting that the offence of trafficking in cannabis was a serious one.

She urged the accused to reflect on their lives saying their behaviour was intolerant.

“Your parents are here instead of doing something sensible. Which is very unfair to your parents. The one who is 20 years-old, you are influencing the young ones. The 20 year-old one, I won’t even spare you. This is intolerant, what kind of society are we going to have. We have children who don’t even have parents but they study. So while in prison you should start reflecting,” said magistrate Chanda.

The matter comes up on February 5, for facts and social welfare report.