Woman, 80, admits sale of marijuana

An 80-year-old woman caught with a half pound of marijuana, digital scales and a wad of cash pleaded guilty Wednesday.

Judge Michael N. Annis wasn't amused to see Elizabeth Wilsey in Richmond County Superior Court.

"This is like sentencing my mother," he said, scolding her. "This is not funny."

On Sept. 17, narcotics agents searching Ms. Wilsey's south Augusta home found dozens of plastic bags of marijuana, said Assistant District Attorney John Markwalter.

Ms. Wilsey admitted selling marijuana, Mr. Markwalter said. She led officers to the marijuana, scales and $3,825.

Defense attorney Tanya Jeffords told the judge that Ms. Wilsey had suffered headaches for years without getting relief from prescription medication. About a year ago, someone suggested she try marijuana, Ms. Jeffords said. It worked without the side effects of prescription drugs, and the selling evolved gradually, Ms. Jeffords said. The widow's only income is from Social Security and a small pension.

Judge Annis said he could sympathize with someone using marijuana for medical reasons, but there was no excuse for dealing it. Ms. Wilsey apologized and promised never to enter a courtroom again.

Judge Annis sentenced Ms. Wilsey to five years' probation for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. In lieu of a fine, he ordered her to perform 230 hours of community service.

It wasn't her age that saved Ms. Wilsey from a prison cell, Judge Annis said. He said he would treat her like any small-time dealer without a criminal past.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.