At last week’s meeting at Trinidad and Tobago’s House of Representatives, a bill was proposed which could trigger Cannabis decriminalisation in the country. The Dangerous Drugs Amendment Bill and Cannabis Control Bill would aim to reduce prosecution for possession.
Introduced by Attorney General Faris Al Rawi, the new bill proposes multiple changes to current Cannabis legislation in the country. Namely, possession of Cannabis up to the amount of 30g, and 5g of Cannabis resin would not be prosecuted. Amounts exceeding 60g or 10g of resin would be punishable by a $739 fine. As a result, fines of this kind would replace arrest and incarceration of Cannabis possession.
The Cannabis decriminalisation bill would also allow the beginning of a semi-legal Cannabis sector across the country’s islands. It would allow the government to grant licenses for cultivation, processing, and distribution of Cannabis. These processes would be overseen by a newly introduced national Cannabis Authority.
According to Attorney General Al Rawi, the Cannabis Control Bill could save the country $100million in prosecution costs. It is currently estimated that the country spends $2,217.25 to $2,956.34 per person per month on the incarceration of individuals for Cannabis-related offenses. Between 2010 and 2018, there were 3,429 such cases.
Despite support for the bill across the country, it has also drawn some criticism and calls for changes. This is due to the bill’s stance on citizen Cannabis cultivation. Under the Cannabis Control Bill, citizens would be permitted to grow up to four Cannabis plants per home. However, the legislation would only allow for the cultivation of male Cannabis plants.
Male and Female Cannabis Plants
Male Cannabis plants are known to produce no THC, the psychoactive element that gets users ‘high’ when smoked or consumed. It is the female plant which produces this compound.
Critics of the bill have called for this section to be amended, and in some cases for outright Cannabis legalisation in Trinidad and Tobago. Nevertheless, the bill is expected to pass a vote in the House of Representatives, which is held by a majority by the People’s National Movement party.