Marijuana legalization may have relaxed stigmas and shifted attitudes about the sweet leaf, but when it comes to cannabis on campus, American schools have still been known to lay down the law for even minor offenses. In Zambia, however, one judge is making sure that punishment fits the crime.
According to the BBC, a 21-year-old college student named Chikwanda Chisendele was in court this week after cops in the city of Kitwe busted the Copperbelt University freshman for selling cannabis-infused cakes to his classmates. Instead of kicking Chisendele out of school or sending him to lock up, though, a local judge decided to give him a big more homework by sentencing the student to write a 50-page essay about the dangers of drugs.
In addition to the lengthy essay, the judge told Chisendele that he must compose apology letters to his parents, the university, and the Zambian Drug Enforcement Commission (DEF). If that isn’t enough to dissuade the dorm room dealer, Chisendele was also given a two-year suspended sentence, meaning he will go straight to jail if he has any near-future run ins with the law.
Cannabis is entirely illegal in Zambia, and possession of the drug is punishable by fine or prison time, depending on quantity. After Chisendele’s arrest, the DEF sent a letter to local colleges warning that they "be alert in view of the trend of cakes and scones laced with cannabis being trafficked among students.”
And if you’re reading this, Chikwanda, holler if you need any writing tips — we got you.
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