A Rotorua mother with young children has been jailed for a year after selling $20 worth of cannabis to an undercover police officer.
Katarina Wiringi, 34, was sentenced in Rotorua District Court this week after earlier pleading guilty to one charge of selling a Class C controlled drug, namely cannabis.
Wiringi was arrested as part of a police special operation targeting suspected tinny houses (where cannabis is sold) in Rotorua.
Judge Chris McGuire said according to the police summary of facts, two officers went to a house on Ford Rd on September 15 where they saw people coming and going.
One then went to the house where she purchased a tinny for $20, as another female waited behind her.
"It was one sale but what the summary describes is a full-on tinny house operation," the judge told Wiringi.
Judge McGuire noted she had 17 previous convictions for dealing drugs including methamphetamine, LSD and cannabis, although it had been 10 years since her last conviction.
He said she had spent time in jail, where she learned skills and got a job upon release.
"But 10 years later you have lapsed into old bad habits," he said.
The judge referred to a comment by Wiringi in the pre-sentence report where she claimed she was not responsible for what people did when she supplied drugs to them.
Addressing Wiringi, he spoke passionately about the dangers of cannabis.
"Before I came into court this morning, I had the sad duty to have a man remanded in a secure mental hospital in a drug-induced psychosis," the judge said.
"He now has a diagnosis of schizophrenia because of early enjoyment of drugs, including cannabis."
He spoke about surveys that proved a range of adverse effects of cannabis, particularly on those who started using at a young age.
"You, having a tinny house, are part of that. you have no idea where the cannabis ends up," the judge said. "It could be with children and it often does in this community."
Judge McGuire told Wiringi she should know better, given the rehabilitation programmes she had been through in jail.
"You have got young children. It's about time you were a role model, not a drug dealer," he said. "It frustrates the hell out of me to separate a mother from her children but that's what I have got to do now so maybe the message starts to get out it's not okay to do this."