Marijuana activist Nazma Muller says her next order of business will be to lobby for all prisons to be shut down.
A traumatised Muller told Newsday on Saturday morning that her experience in prison, apart from significant damage done to her mental health, was inhumane and demoralising. She was released from the women’s remand prison in Golden Grove, Arouca on Friday afternoon after her bail of $300,000 was paid. She was arrested on September 9 for being in possession of more than 400 grammes of marijuana during a police exercise.
Muller explained the conditions were deplorable and after speaking with inmates, found the justice system to be flawed and fuelling a dysfunctional society.
She said, “I was held like a dog in a kennel. I was in a cell that was ten feet by ten feet, quarantined and sleeping on a mattress on the ground and using a pail to urinate.
“I am going to fight for every single prison to be shut down in this country. There was a woman in there who had a miscarriage, and she was not taken for medical attention. This place was designed to destroy us mentally.”
Muller added that there must be prison reform and Government must find ways to open dialogue for this.
She said, “We cannot keep putting people in prison, it is costing the country too much. We need to invest money to prevent crime.
"Most of the women I spoke with were victims of unfortunate circumstances that led them to sell drugs or enter prostitution. Their stories are sad. They have been faced with trauma, neglect, abuse, sexual abuse at young ages. The State has failed. People do not become criminals just like that.
“We are destroying the children of inmates.
"There are people in there eight years waiting for a trial. We can easily give everyone electronic monitoring anklets.”
Muller said she has lost a lot of family and friends because of this arrest and her work as a marijuana activist, but will not stop fighting for marijuana to be legalised.
“I am not in communication with my relatives because of this issue and the stigmatisation of marijuana.
"I was trying to make medicine. This was for medical and spiritual purposes that I had everything in my possession.
“I am going to fight this in the High Court. My bail was far too exorbitant. There were inmates in there for ammunition possession and armed robbery with low bail amounts.
“People are suffering and selling drugs or entering prostitution because they have no jobs and covid19 is making it worse. This is why I have been championing the legalisation of ganja so that people can earn revenues to provide for their families. Isn’t it better to sell marijuana than cocaine?” Muller added.
Over the past weeks, activist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh and others started a GoFundMe account to raise the needed money for Muller's bail after her arrest.
Northern Division police said they acted on information which led them to Muller’s home at Second Street East, Trincity, where marijuana plants, nurseries, and 435 grammes of dried and cured marijuana were allegedly found.
On December 2019, amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act made it legal for people to have no more than 30 grammes of marijuana, but anyone caught with more than 100 grammes can be charged with trafficking and could be fined up to $3 million if convicted.