Shemika Rose, a mother of four doing part-time studies in business, said hard times made her get into dealing marijuana, to make ends meet.
This week she pleaded guilty to possession and possession with intent to transfer over one pound of the drug.
Magistrate Ngaio Emanuel Edwards fined her $12,000 for the second charge of intent to transfer, while she was reprimanded and discharged on the possession allegation.
The Jennings woman had to pay $1,000 of the fine immediately, which she did, to avoid going to jail for a year.
She has to pay the balance by December 31 this year or she would still find herself behind bars for a year if she fails to meet the court’s order.
The woman said she has to feed four children whose father is not contributing to their maintenance so things have been rough for her.
The woman was caught with the drug at her Jennings home when police went there with a search warrant on February 8. The marijuana was already packaged into 401 small Ziploc bags, ready for sale.
Last year, parliament amended the Misuse of Drugs Act, decriminalising the possession of certain quantities of marijuana.
The change made it “lawful” to cultivate up to four cannabis plants per household and expunges marijuana convictions involving a quantity of 15 grams or less, going back from March 5, 2018 which was when the law took effect.
The amendment stopped short of legalisation, however, as it does not remove legal penalties for the sale of cannabis.