T&T Gov’t to review marijuana decriminalization

The Trinidad and Tobago government is examining the possibility of decriminalizing marijuana and is reviewing existing legislation as well as planning wide consultation before adopting any position.

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi  told the Trinidad Guardian newspaper Monday that there has been “a full exercise of analyzing the types of crime in our prisons and the pre-trials detention or remand statistics for a range of offences, including possession of narcotics, and particularly possession of cannabis.

“From that perspective there’s certainly a drive to gather statistical information, as the issue of decriminalizing of marijuana isn’t a simple one on the public side.” Al-Rawi told the newspaper that “if one were to argue for decriminalization, the limits to be applied must be considered.”

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Al-Rawi said Government is “obliged to take a very holistic approach to agitating the issue. We have to consider it as it applies across the board, be it in the criminal justice system, in the social factors associated with people detained for narcotic use of a small quantity and the societal message you send to your young, aged or your disadvantaged,” he continued.

“So that kind of exercise is what we’re engaged in and we’ll certainly not shy away from issues but embrace them in a comprehensive, responsible fashion. After full consultation, a policy decision will be taken and the requisite instruction to attenuate—reduce the force of—the laws or draft new laws, will then be taken.”

Al Rawi says the government has started the groundwork to decriminalize marijuana. “Definitely the statistical approach being taken in the consultation on the prison analysis is one of those springboards into that venture, CARICOM leaders have established the CARICOM Cannabis Commission to look into the matter of decriminalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes.”

CARICOM Secretary General Irwin La Rocque has said the objective “ is to conduct an inquiry into the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana use in the Caribbean.”

Jamaica has already decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.


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