Trinidad’s President Paula Mae-Weekes has signed the island’s Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act which makes it legal to possess certain amounts of marijuana; the law will take effect on Monday.
Trinidad media reported that from Monday, adults can have in their possession up to 30 grammes of marijuana and also grow four plants in their home. However, smoking marijuana in public places and while operating a vehicle is prohibited.
The Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi noted that the application of the law requires the discernment of the individual.
“From what I understand, as is, you can reap the 30 grammes off the plant but leave the rest. If you reap more than you can smoke, then you are opening up yourself for arrests,” the Attorney General said.
According to the Attorney General the Act was implemented to prevent the arrest of persons for small amounts of marijuana.
It was noted that 87 adults and 14 children in the prison system will benefit directly from the decriminalisation of the drug.
The Act does not interfere with the law against trafficking where small amounts within a school zone, is deemed trafficking. While an adult is allowed the 30 grammes of marijuana if caught within 500 metres of a school they can be punished with as little as a $50,000 fine on summary conviction and to as much as $150,000 or 35 years to life in prison on indictment.
Between 2015 and 2018 10, 638 persons between the ages of 15 and 39 were charged for cannabis-related offences.
Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said his officers began a national education campaign on Saturday.
The Commissioner highlighted that all the laws pertaining to what can and can’t be done will be conveyed to the public and advised that the National Security Ministry be contacted for further information.
Further, the Senate will debate the Cannabis Control Bill (to regulate the business of cannabis) in February.
If the bill is passed, it will allow companies to grow and sell marijuana for commercial gain.
(Source: Trinidad and Tobago News Day)