Thursday 24 September, 2020

10 things proposed in weed legislation

Government is working towards decriminalising marijuana in Trinidad and Tobago.

On Friday, Attorney General Faris Al Rawi introduced two bills in the Parliament: the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2019 and the Cannabis Control Bill, 2019.

The legislation has not yet been passed.

As such, it is still illegal to have the drug in your possession.

Here are 10 things proposed in the bills:

1) A person can lawfully grow no more than four cannabis male plants at his residence and without a license.

2) A person found in possession of 30 grammes of cannabis or less will no longer be arrested for possession.

3) If a person is found in possession of more than 30 grammes, but not more than 60 grammes of cannabis, a police officer can issue a ticket for a fixed penalty. If a person cannot pay the fixed penalty, he/she will be subject to a maximum fine of $50,000. If a person cannot pay the fine, he/she will be sentenced in the first instance to 30 hours of community service.

4) Smoking or using cannabis or cannabis resin is strictly prohibited in public spaces.

5) The Amendment Bill also criminalises acts involving children. For example, a person who possesses cannabis, even within the allowable limits, will be prosecuted for having the substance on a school bus or at school premises. He/she will be liable on summary conviction to a fine of $250,000 and to imprisonment of 5 years.

6) The Bill proposes to prohibit persons, who while under the influence of cannabis, does anything which constitutes negligence professional malpractice or professional misconduct.

7) A similar prohibition applies to any person who operates, navigates or is in control of any motor vehicle, aircraft or ship while under the influence of cannabis. In both instances, the conduct attracts a summary conviction to a fine of $250,000 and to imprisonment for 5 years.

8) Persons with charges before the court for the new upper limit of 60 grammes of cannabis and 10 grammes of cannabis resin may apply to be discharged and that the criminal records of persons with convictions for the possession of the substance will be expunged and they will also be able to apply for pardon under Section 8 of the Constitution.

9) Under the Cannabis Control Bill, the Trinidad and Tobago Cannabis Authority will be established to administer a licensing and registration regime to legitimise, establish accountability and transparency for the use of cannabis by persons and bodies engaged in religious sacramental, medicinal and commercial activities.

10) Parents or guardians may be criminally liable if they fail to obtain a written certificate from a child’s medical practitioner certifying that the child requires medicinal cannabis to remedy his ailment. Similarly, persons who accompany children to places of worship or similar environments may face the court if they cause or permit that child to use cannabis at a place of worship, sacramental dispensary or at an exempt event. The penalty is a fine of $250,000 and to imprisonment for a term of five years.

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