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May 2005
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Painter gets life for .02 grams of shabu

That’s right,

THE Quezon City Regional Trial Court [Thursday] sentenced to life imprisonment a painter for selling a 0.02 gram of shabu to a cop two years ago.

OK, I admit my first reaction was that it sounded excessive, but I had no clue what shabu was, and was thrown by the bizarre measure of .02 grams, so I needed to do a little research.
I quickly discarded the Japanese delicacy shabu-shabu — it seemed unlikely that even in the Philippines someone would get life for selling .02 grams of thinly sliced beef cooked in boiling water.
So I checked the Vaults of Erowid, where shabu shabu was listed as slang for meth. OK, that makes more sense. But life in prison? Just how much is .02 grams?
Well, .02 grams is 20 milligrams. Your basic ibuprofen tablet has 200 milligrams of active ingredient, so we’re not talking truckloads here. Again, Erowid comes in handy and tells me that 20 milligrams is one standard dose or maybe a couple of light doses of meth.
Life in prison.
Painter Salvador Sanchez, who lived in a squatter’s shanty (clearly not making huge profits from either his painting or drug dealing), claimed that he was framed by the cop.
Here was the judge’s official reason for dismissing the defense:

“The accused looks every inch a drug user and his bearing and demeanor in court — head bowed, eyes sad and dreamy and the like — do not convince,”

Ah, yes, “sad and dreamy and the like” — sounds more like the description of an artist than a tweaker.

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