Lusaka magistrate Nsunge Chanda has reprimanded 11 juveniles for smoking weed, warning that cannabis could destroy their lives before they grew older.

And magistrate Chanda has ordered the juvenile offenders to undergo a diversion program at the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) for counseling and rehabilitation for three months.

But Magistrate Chanda has sentenced a 20 year-old grade 12 pupil who was jointly charged with the juveniles, to three months imprisonment with hard labour.

In this matter, the 11 juvenile offenders aged 14 to 17 and 20 year-old Lukas Daka, all from Lusaka’s George Compound, were facing two counts of trafficking and unlawful usage of Marijuana.

The 12, who all pleaded guilty, had taken turns explaining to the Court how marijuana, among other things; gave them appetite, strength to lift weights and carry out house chores quickly, skills to play good football and controlling their tempers etc.

The matter came up, Tuesday, for facts and sentencing.

Facts in this matter were that on January 16, this year, DEC officers received information that a male person was dealing in suspected drugs in George Compound.

Officers proceeded to the said place where the accused were found in an unfinished building, smoking cannabis.

The accused were then picked and the suspected drugs were seized.

When magistrate Chanda asked whether the facts were correct, the accused responded in the affirmative.

In mitigation, the juvenile offenders asked for forgiveness saying they had learnt a lesson and would never smoke cannabis again.

The juvenile offenders added that they wanted to continue with their education.

Before magistrate Chanda could sentence the accused, she reprimanded the juvenile offenders for smoking cannabis saying weed was bad.

“Cannabis are not good substances. If the parliamentarians have made a law that ‘trafficking in cannabis is not bailable’ then you have to know that it’s a serious offence. Drugs are not good because they will destroy your life. Unless you choose that you want to be mad. Because when you smoke these drugs as young as you are, by the time you grow up you won’t be in a normal state. This is the last time you should step here. Control yourselves, it’s for your own good,” scolded Chanda.