Last October, Aldwin Rendardo Gooden stepped off a flight from Kingston, Jamaica in Gatwick Airport in the UK where he lives and was immediately detained for the two boxes containing about 44 pounds of marijuana he was packing in his luggage. Sadly, that's not all that uncommon around the world (even I've been stopped coming back for Jamaica for simply smelling like ganja).
But instead of denying his cargo, Gooden, 44, took ownership of it and said all of the herb was for him. As a Rastafarian, he says he uses it for everything from bathing, putting in his "porridge", mixing with white rum to rub it on his aching body - Gooden is a mechanic by trade. But he also made no apologies for smoking. Lots of smoking. Gooden claims to burn through about six ounces per day.
"In my work I lie on a cold floor during the winter, the garage is really cold and is bad for my joints," Gooden told the court, according to the UK Examiner.
Importantly, he says the cannabis was a gift from a Rasta elder during his October trip back to his native country of Jamaica. While cannabis isn't legal in Jamaica, it's use is entrenched in Jamaican culture and many use the herb for many things other simply getting nice and irie.
Having been to Jamaica, it doesn't sound all that far off - especially the white rum. Jamaican's recommend it for everything from stomach problems to arthritis. Maybe he'd kick his Rasta bredren a few spliffs here and there, but having that much herb for a Jamaican expat for a long-haul stay in the UK doesn't sound completely unreasonable - at least not to us here at Toke of the Town.
Unfortunately the court barrister didn't see things that way and Gooden was sentenced to two years and three months for the ganja. He said Gooden's claims of the pain relief were "inconsistent and unbelievable". Apparently Barrister Peter Susman, has never done a single ounce of research into medical cannabis in his life. His suggestion for Gooden's body troubles: "If he got that pain from lying on a cold garage floor why doesn't he put a blanket underneath himself?"
hendersonchambers.co.uk Peter Susman.
The judge also said he had a hard time believing Gooden brought the free herb with him home because he doesn't want to be paying for it in the UK. Gooden was also convicted of growing marijuana back in 2005, which might be an indicator that his claims of not wanting to pay for it are completely legitimate.