Drug Offender With Backache Spared Jail

Associated Press

A judge suspended a nine-month prison term for a 90-year-old man who has been jailed 17 times in the past 73 years for smoking marijuana, The Herald newspaper reported Saturday.

The defendant, Nhau Matazo, was accused of possessing 500 grams (a little more than a pound) of marijuana, known here as mbanje.

"You see, I do not smoke cigarettes and I don't drink. So I smoke mbanje," Matazo told Judge Wilson Sandura on Friday. He said he smokes the drug to ease his constant backache.

Sandura said he decided not to send Matazo to prison because of his age, but warned him to stop using the drug, suggesting that he seek hospital treatment for his backache.

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