HEADLINES

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO LIKELY TO FOLLOW ST.KITTS-NEVIS ON MARIJUANA

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Trinidad and Tobago is likely to follow the lead of St. Kitts-Nevis in decriminalising the use of marijuana.

Just as with SKN, this is expected to be permitted in specified amounts and for certain identified purposes.

Senior Government Minister Fitzgerald Hinds has confirmed that this could be course to be followed by T&T at the end of its current public consultations.

Mr. Hinds, Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General, said in an interview that should Trinidad and Tobago move to decriminalise the use of marijuana, there six pieces of legislation would have to be amended.

This includes the Dangerous Drugs Act.

Like SKN, there would also be need for introduction of regulations with respect to use of the herb.

T&T may also consider the development of a marijuana cultivation industry, Mr. Hinds indicated.

The minister, who heads a Cabinet Sub-Committee on the marijuana matter, added that a decision may have to be taken on who would engage in cultivation.

“Would it be the big-shots or farmers?” he commented.

In SKN, Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris has stressed that nationals would be given priority in developing a cannabis cultivation industry.

Like SKN, T&T first banned the use of marijuana and other psychotropic drugs in 1925.

He said that “there is a strong case for medicinal use” of marijuana.

Some contributors at the consultations have indicated that they have used marijuana for health purposes.

Mr. Hinds, a Rastafarian, also observed that practitioners of that religious faith use the herb as part of their sacrament.

Marijuana is also utilised by Hinds in worshipping Lord Shiva, he noted.

As with SKN, T&T had set up a multi-disciplinary committee to examine the matter of decriminalising marijuana.

Earlier, a Cabinet Committee had recommended such discussions in the respective territories.

St. Kitts-Nevis is the first Caricom country to move to decriminalise marijuana use for religious, medicinal and recreational purposes.

The Cannabis Bill 2019 was recently laid in the National Assembly.

In T&T, there is an age-old illegal marijuana plantation industry, which has been subjected to attacks from law enforcement agencies.

The industry has been the economic mainstay of certain rural communities.

People convicted for marijuana use are debarred from entering certain professions.

The T&T Government has not yet announced a timetable for introduction of the relevant legislation.

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