The decision by Government to begin the process of decriminalising marijuana has been getting more support from organisations not prominently vocal on many issues.
Among them, a lesser-known political party called the Green Party of TT, whose political leader Dr Everold Hosein described the decision as “a nice move, and longtime overdue”.
“We probably should have done this at the time of Independence. Rum was legal back then. And rum has done more damage to us than any other drug,” Hosein said in a media statement issued yesterday.
He added: “The decriminalising process, however, seems a bit constipated. There is nothing proposed on the small-scale farming of marijuana. So one wonders if the sale of marijuana is legal? And where is that stock of ganja going to come from—from illegal farming of ganja in the hills? And we don’t have a law that limits the number of bottles of rum in our homes. So why limit the amount of ganja we can have in our possession for personal use?”
He said that although the measures announced by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi are small steps, there is room for expansion.
“We can always fix and expand on the laws. But now let’s move on to some more serious stuff. Can we have the same passionate discussion about ganja transferred to a discussion of the poor quality of education provided to our young children in T&T?
“Can we have as passionate a discussion about the big fat WORM (Waster of Money and Resources) that we are about to swallow with the upcoming silliness of the Local Elections?”
The new measures have not been received well by all, including marijuana activist Nazma Muller.
Optimistic after Thursday’s announcement by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, cannabis activist Nazma Muller sat in the Parliament gallery as the AG laid two pieces of legislation in Parliament, the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill and the Cannabis Control Bill, which will pave the way for the decriminalisation of marijuana.
Speaking after the legislation was laid in the Parliament on Friday, Muller said: “People will, of course be very glad, because we’ve been repressed so long. The regime has been so punitive, so prohibitionist, that just this little glimmer of no arrest, it seems to be something to celebrate,” but she was far from convinced that the bills were progressive enough to foster the development of a cannabis industry in this country.”
She added: “What the Attorney General has in fact done is shackled us. He is saying, on one hand, he is freeing up the jails, he is freeing up the police service but at the same time with these clauses, he is putting restraints still on production.”
She felt that based on what had been developed in foreign territories, the initial offering from the Attorney General seemed lacking.
The AG has said that any decision to legalise marijuana, would cripple the economy.