Weed decriminalising bill goes to T&T Parliament

Faris Al-Rawi

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – The Trinidad and Tobago government last Monday formally informed Parliament of its intention to introduce legislation allowing for the decriminalisation of marijuana for medicinal and other purposes.

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, in a statement, said the introduction of the legislation forms part of the “most aggressive and profound reformations of the criminal justice system,” and that there would be amendments to the Dangerous Drug Act and the introduction of the Cannabis Control Authority Bill.

Al-Rawi told legislators that the government intended to have the matter debated on the floor and brushed aside a veil suggestion from the opposition that the legislation be sent to a Joint Select Committee of Parliament first.

“Like any good government would, we must listen to the concerns that come out on a fairly complex issue that is the reason why it has taken us and in the AG’s (Attorney General) office in particular, some time to perfect the work product now before us.

“We welcome the new found enthusiasm of those opposite to the reform of law. We will simply get it done,” he said, noting that it is axiomatic that the criminal justice system should focus on serious crime and that all roadblocks to justice should be immediately removed so that judicial and law enforcement time can concentrate where it matters most”.

The Attorney General in his statement outlined most of the measures that the legislation would contain including allowing persons to have up to 30 grammes of marijuana in their possession and that persons in possession of 30 to 60 grammes of the drug will be issued with a fixed penalty by police.

He said once the fine is paid within the stipulated period, the person would not have a criminal record, but failure to do so could result in a fine of up to TT$50 000